Hello everyone and welcome to the 9th edition of our school blog. 19/05/21
This week's topic is about the Student Council’s achievements this academic year.
Even though the academic year was full of restrictions, the Student Council’s determination prevailed! Even during online classes nothing could stop us by having meetings every Monday with Ms. O’Driscoll, our Student Liaison Teacher on Google Meets. We even had a special guest every week...Mr Flanagan who took time out of his busy schedule to listen and to inform us about what was happening regarding the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert etc..During the lockdown we raised our concerns on a few topics such as the book timetable, the class length, managing homework and other concerns you voiced. Also during the Lockdown period we joined the ISSU (Irish Second–Level Students' Union). The ISSU is the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union, raising concerns at a national level with the Department of Education and the government. Our representatives attended a convention on the constitution of the ISSU and there will be a further meeting on the 31st of May. Our school will have 4 representatives.
This year also we conducted a poll on the choice of a new t-shirt for the PE department. The t-shirt next year will be white if anyone is wondering. In early December 2020 we had student council training in the library, we learned a lot about conducting meetings, reaching compromises and negociating: all great life skills! Our members attended the Comhairle na nOg meeting in November. Comhairle na nÓg are child and youth councils in the 31 local authorities of the country, which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies. This is very important as we are the future. I got a fellow student council member, Jack Fitzgerlad from TY to give an account of Comhairle na n-óg
Hello, my name is Jack Fitzgerald and last October, I was invited to the virtual Comhairle na nÓg AGM. It was a great experience to talk about and listen to local issues concerning young people in Limerick. The AGM was opened first with the Mayor of Limerick; Micheal Collins, who welcomed everyone. There were a number of guest speakers who attended too, in particular one that stood out for me was Dr. Jennifer McMahon of the University of Limerick, who discussed their new study called Co-Space, with the aim of tracking young people's mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was very interesting to see the different variables affecting individuals, with the top three being, the young person's education, their friends and their screen time.
During the AGM, we also discussed with each other about the possibility of introducing Jigsaw Virtual Hubs, in response to young people's mental health during the pandemic and the possible lack of resources for them. We assisted with the design ideas as well as their locations across limerick.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience where by I got an excellent opportunity for mine and other’s voice to be heard, as well as getting an insight into Comhairle na nÓg.
So there are some of the many ways that we ensured that you, the Students of Castletroy College, had your voice heard in our school, in youth assemblies regionally and nationally this year.
Thank you for reading and see you next week.
Hello everyone and welcome to the 8th edition of our school blog. 30/04/21
Good morning or good afternoon or good evening depending on what time you're reading this. Welcome to this week's edition of the blog. This week is going to be about online school and just school life in general during Covid.
From January to March of this year we had to suffer through online school. In my opinion online school is a legal form of torture! It was like forcing someone to do something they hate in the place they love. Well at times it was hard to get the motivation to do the work while you could be watching something like the Office (The American version) at the same time. In my opinion I don't think that online school was a great experience as it felt like time was barely moving and it felt like the classes were going on forever and ever but in its defence I kinda prefer the one-hour classes rather than the typical 40 minutes in school. Having said all of that, I think we should thank Mr.Shortt and the team of teachers who helped us to keep learning during these dark ages. Thanks too to all our teachers for keeping the light of education burning brightly for us.
Actual school from September to December and from March to this current day was so much better. The school year flew by so quickly it is hard to believe. This academic year can be divided into 3 parts, the I just came back from a 6 month “2 week holiday part”, the Oh my god it’s happening again part aka staying at home and the we’re back to kinda the good old days part. Covid has made the school a whole new different place. I prefer the new entrance system for the different years, it seems like a cleaner process as you don’t have 1000 people going through the same 2 entrances at the front of the school. Breaks/ Lunch have a whole new different aesthetic to it. No lockers make the breaks seem longer and I prefer it that way and I feel more refreshed for the classes coming ahead. The book timetable is a lifesaver, before September I thought everyone would need to carry a suitcase full of books being like a 1st year all over again with a bag that looks like you’d use for a hike to MT Everest. The staggered lunch breaks are alright but the annoying thing is that classes are distracted half of the time due to the noise outside. The bright side of it is that it's not as crowded as it used to be. The one way system is a nice addition but it can be a pain in the neck as you have to walk around the school to arrive at your destination.
So as a Council, we met with Mr. Flanagan and Ms. O’Driscoll to reflect on our learning and experiences of school life online every Monday to give a voice to all of you, the students in our school. Things we liked and would like to keep going into the future:
. Fewer assemblies.
. Going outside at breaktime. The umbrellas and benches are great!
. Book timetable.
. Hour long classes.
. Less announcements over the PA system.
. More fresh air, better and healthier ventilation with open windows.
. Being in charge of the online blog with Mr. Shortt’s help.
Instead of lockers ,we would like cloakrooms for our coats and we would like even more outdoor seating/ courtyards with nice planting and surrounds like in Ms.Hanley’s garden.
That is it for today, hopefully ye have enjoyed it and see ye next week.
Hello everyone and welcome to the 7th edition of our school blog. 23/04/21
Good morning/afternoon/evening everybody. I hope you’re enjoying your day and welcome to this week's edition of the blog. Today's topic won’t be about school, but instead it’ll be about the best city in the world, Limerick and will hopefully make Forbes think twice before referring to Limerick as “Stab city” in a piece of very poor journalistic research. As it is Earth week, we thought we would reflect on our city’s eco credentials.
Limerick city has a few stunning urban walks such as the 3 Bridges Walk. The walk is quite short with a distance of 3.6km and ,as the name suggests, it consists of a trail through three of its most remarkable bridges including Sarsfield Bridge, a five span limestone bridge built in the 19th century. On the way around you also get to see some of Limerick’s landmarks, King John’s castle and the Treaty Stone. During the pandemic, citizens of Limerick have found comfort ,company and coffee on this path by the Shannon.Some also cycle on the new cycle paths along the Shannon Bridge.The question is why are there still cars allowed to clog up the river path?
There are plans for a semi- pedestrianisation of Limerick streets such as O’Connell street, with plans for bus/ bike lanes and a levelled street with wide pedestrian paths. During the pandemic, there had been talk of pedestrianising Limerick streets such as Catherine street, however this was only closed off on weekends. This was very popular for outdoor cafe life on the street.
Some Irish cities think they can compete with Limerick with its enviable Georgian quarter by having better urban space and more scenic walks for example Cork. 17 streets are set to be pedestrianised in the “ Real capital”. Yes, 17!, It obviously had an overwhelming positive reaction following a series of public consultations. Pedestrian streets and cycle lanes have in my opinion lead to a better experience in cities like for example when I went to Copenhagen in December 2019, I was fascinated by the wide pedestrian paths and the fact it has fantastic cycling infrastructure.It is constantly vying with Amsterdam to have the best cycling infrastructure according to a tour guide during my trip. The city also has a public outdoor swimming pool named Islands Brygge Harbour Bath, it's only open to swimmers when the water is clean enough. Believe it or not, Corbally had an outdoor swimming pool back in the day but it had to be closed due to poor quality of water . There have been talks and a petition to reopen it. In the meantime, you can enjoy the river kayakers on the Curraghgower Falls or take a kayak out with NevSail Watersports.
Limerick has a Citizens’ Assembly and having a voice will hopefully lead to change like more recycling bins, an outdoor cafe culture, more bee friendly areas and wildflower corridors, more bicycle lanes,trees, a ban on weed killer, more outdoor concerts courtesy of our wonderful Brass bands, river swimming( like Stockholm, Hamburg and Copenhagen), chess and board game tables in the parks, use of the Potato market for people not cars, an extension of the wonderful Milk Market, more public transport and electric charge points, and many pedestrianised streets like Cork, etc. Let’s be brave, city leaders!
I would like to thank classes Bríd4 ( thanks particularly to Jodie) and Fionn 4 for helping out with this week’s blog in their English class.It would’ve been impossible without your help! Students also praised our fellow students in Green Schools and our caretakers for their great work around the school to keep our environment green. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and see you next week.Mind our city and our planet!
Hello everyone and welcome to the 6th edition of our school blog. 16/04/21
I hope ye all had a good Easter. Today’s topic will be about Easter eggs since Easter just happened and we are all so smitten with them that we felt they deserved a review, even a poll on how we rate our eggs!
So at our last Student Council meeting we decided to have a little fun. Having spent the term working with you on your views on learning on line and relaying these to Mr. Flanagan, we took a break to discuss more light-hearted issues! Our representatives surveyed themselves on the brand of chocolate eggs they love the most. There was a wide variety of eggs to choose from, Cadbury’s Creme eggs, Oreo, Mam, Smarties, Lindt d’Or and Malteasers were among the eggs selected. The results were as follows:
Oreo got 14 votes. A clear winner!!
Malteaser got 12 votes
Smarties, Lindt d’or and Cadbury creme got 11 votes each.
Most participants claimed that this was the “hardest survey they ever took part in” and I myself agree with that statement. There were tears shed and bitter words exchanged! We almost came to blows on texture, flavour,spherical accuracy and the bling appeal of the wrapping.
Time for my review of a chocolate egg... From the list I only got to have a Malteser egg during the hols so it’s getting reviewing privilege. I’m gonna consider 3 factors: Price, the taste( of course!) and the packaging
The price: The egg costs around €5, so I assume that’s good value for money: 10/10.
The chocolate: There’s no need to explain. It’s chocolate. Chocolate has such a great taste, it’s delicate and sweet and makes snack time so much better. Also the chocolate bars are just as good and are quality evening snacks. 10/10. Chocolate lifts your mood and was a divine food to the tribal peoples of South America. Try to opt for Fair Trade chocolate next time!
The packaging: Not sure about the eco credentials of Maltesers! Next time I will opt for planet friendly packaging but I would rate it as 10/10
Verdict 10/10. 1 word to describe it is amazing! For me, it’s Maltesers all the way!
What is your fave egg? Let us know at the Student Council.
Thank you for reading this blog and see you next week.
Hello everybody and welcome to the 5th edition of the school blog 19/03/21
My name is Filip Piotrowski and for this week's blog the topic will be about the return to school
I find this topic reasonable as the 5th years are back this week, and since I’m a 5th year that makes it even better. If I had to describe the experience in one word, it would be “eerie”, it honestly feels weird being in a school that’s only running at ⅓ capacity. It’s kinda like Heathrow during covid, with the place being run at 99.7% capacity being reduced to very little within a fortnight. But it obviously means less space in the corridors during classes making it better and the weather has been nice this week so we spent our breaks outdoors :). The weirdest thing by far has to be the very large tv’s in some of the rooms. They’re so big that it feels weird to look at them. The way to school is literally so different. It’s like they’ve built an expressway cutting down travelling time. The roads are so empty that it feels so weird going to school sometimes. But the best thing by far is the quietness throughout the day, it’s like being in the middle of nowhere relaxing to the sound of silence.
Thank you for reading this week's blog.
Hello everybody and welcome to the 4th edition of the school blog 12/03/21
My name is Filip Piotrowski and for this week's blog I decided to interview some of the student council members.
Before I get started I'd like to announce that we have joined the ISSU, the national representative body for Schools student councils and we can’t wait for the road that’s ahead of us.
I asked some of the student council members a series of pretty simple questions. There were four questions with the theme being lockdown and six students were interviewed ranging from 3rd year to 6th year.
If there was one thing you would’ve done before the first lockdown happened, what would you have done and why ?
Did you acquire new skills during lockdown and if so how helpful are they ?
Is there something that you miss most ?
What is the first thing you would love to do after lockdown is finished ?
Lockdown was something unexpected and I can’t believe that this is getting published on the same day as when the Taoiseach at the time said that schools are closing for two weeks. We all know how that ended.
Some of the responses to the first question were:
“A trip to Penney’s to purchase more socks would not have gone amiss. Or to the barber. Home haircuts in the first lockdown really were not it”
“I would have definitely have spent more time with my friends. I think I missed out on a few opportunities for trips and lazy weekends with them because I was so focused on studying for exams. The whole shake-up of the pandemic really changed our views on what's actually a constant in life.”
“Have one last good look at the people, teachers and Castletroy because I really miss not going to school. It’s good at home but I realised that I would love to be in school so much more even if it means waking up early.”
In conclusion, students interviewed regretted what they had not done more of in their lives before the first lockdown. From making sure that they looked good to spending valuable time with their friends.
We have all obviously been bored during the third lockdowns and some have acquired new skills that are valuable. Some of the responses to the 2nd question were:
“Yes. I received my provisional driving license during the first lockdown and I learned how to drive (within the five kilometre restrictions of course). I taught myself new cooking techniques and learned how to adapt recipes to my own dietary needs. Very practical skills. Not mentioning my parents started paying for Netflix.”
“Personally I was so worked up about missing the next few months of school and missing out on important content, I ended up studying harder and concentrating. I also organised all my notes e.g handouts sheets and any content I missed out during the year”
“Well, I haven't quite acquired new skills during the lockdown as I was pretty unmotivated throughout the time but I have picked up a new hobby recently, the guitar. Right now I'm learning the basics but it is pretty enjoyable so far.”
In conclusion, students interviewed tried something different. From learning how to drive or learning how to play a guitar from scratch to even improving their study methods. Nothing can beat Netflix, it was a great time killer, maybe also Disney+ when it first came out.
Lockdown has made us appreciate the small things in life because we now know that one day it can all disappear and we can end up having to spend the majority of our time indoors. Some of the the responses to question 3 were:
“Is there something I kind of missed the most, pretty contrary to popular belief. Yes, my favourite drink called Tymbark. As you can see my favourite flavour from this drink series is the watermelon as I like the taste of it and the nice colour it has. I would for all intents and purposes also essentially loved to for the most part have a box of it so l could for all intents and purposes enjoy my lockdown drinking it every particularly single day as I would specifically find it quite amazing if I literally was to, sort of further showing how specifically is there something I literally missed the most in a sort of major way. While we are on the subject of Tymbark, it can mostly be really found in any basically Polish shop you basically go to and actually are is definitely cheap so you should specifically try one if you haven't yet for all intents and purposes good sir, which literally is quite significant.”
“I really miss hanging out with my friends. I used to go out with them basically every weekend but I don’t do that anymore. I just go on walks to stay fit and not become too lazy after sitting in front of a screen all day long.”
“There's a few things I miss, but I haven't had too bad a run of it. I managed to get to most of the events which I'd planned on travelling to this summer in an online format instead. I haven't yet had a proper chance to meet up with the people I met at them so I'd love an opportunity to do that..”
We can see that people do miss everything, even a 60c drink in a watermelon flavour from the local Polish shop. Lockdown made us appreciate the precious time we have.
We all have our dreams about our future and the lockdowns made us think about what we have to do when this hell on earth is finally over. Some of the responses to the last question were:
“Travel! Anywhere really. I’d love to save up and spend a few months exploring Europe and all it’s gems: Prague, Bratislava, Rome, Carcassonne, Copenhagen. An Irish passport can go a long way. I’d also love to go to a concert. Any music, any artist. I just miss the atmosphere of that collective experience everyone has. Sharing the music and enjoying the happy vibe. I think it’s an experience we could all do with at the moment”
“I have mentioned this a lot, but surely, I would like to hang around with my friends properly, I haven't been able to stay in touch with many people so it would be nice to reconnect and maybe go on a trip somewhere together and enjoy ourselves, putting this lockdown behind us”
“Celebrate my birthday all over again and have a party to talk again after a really long time! We were and are on Lockdown for months.”
We can see that lockdown has made us want to enjoy life when lockdown is over. Travelling is something that is on everyone's bucket list, watching travel blogs makes everyone jealous. We all miss our friends and looking at them on a virtual screen sometimes gives me a feeling that they don’t exist. Lockdowns made us appreciate how good birthday parties are, celebrating birthdays in lockdown was still something unique.
Well, this was a very long blog and see you till next time.
Hello everybody and welcome to the 3rd edition of the school blog 05/03/21.
My name is Filip Piotrowski and today’s topic will be about fitness because it is more important than ever to stay healthy.
Lock down feels like quarantine, especially the first lock down. It was a turning point in many people’s lives as it gave most people pretty much plenty of time to exercise and try out new things. For me it was a great opportunity to improve my mental and physical health and try out new things.
The first thing I did was download a fitness app. Like many people would do I followed anything that it instructed me to do. Of course it was quite demanding and difficult at first but over time I felt better. Before the first lock down I ran usually on weekends because I didn’t have enough time after school and I’m not a fan of running in the dark because maybe a koala might jump off a tree and attack me. Lock down gave me the opportunity to run more and it gave me a new appreciation for running.
School wise before the first lockdown I played Ultimate Frisbee. It was fun but sadly since March 13th I haven’t touched a frisbee :( . Now during the 3rd edition of quarantine, it’s pretty much the same but the main difference being that I walk more. Online classes are tough and after a full day of them my eyes feel tired of looking at a screen so I go on a walk.
For PE we’re doing a step challenge with an app called Pacer. It’s like strava but can record steps, Since I’m a competitive person I wanted to get first place and the teacher said that there’ll be a prize for the top 3. Everyday I’d go on a walk and hopefully end up top 3 or preferably 1st. After much effort I had to settle for 4th place. As an Arsenal fan I felt happy because Arsenal would usually finish fourth under old manager Arsene Wenger.
Next week members of the student council will get interviewed to give a wider perspective of how lock down is going.
Hello everybody and welcome to the 2nd edition of the school blog. 26/02/21
My name is Filip Piotrowski and today's topic will be the return of schools(September 2020). This topic felt reasonable as the 6th years are returning on Monday next followed by the 5th years on the 15th and the rest on the 12th. (All going according to plan)
August 2020 had a weird vibe/ feeling as that month usually marks the end of the Summer break. It was especially weird as we were coming to the end of a “2 week break” that somehow lasted 6 months. At that stage people were skeptical of returning to school but Norma Foley, we all know her at this stage, made sure that a full school return will happen.
Did she keep to that promise? Yes she did and by September we were back to the place we obviously love. It was kinda weird putting on that greenish uniform after 6 months. It's kinda like the first night at a hotel abroad. You got so used to your bed at home but now you have to sleep at a bed in a different place. I was kinda nervous for the first day as I had gotten so used to having a free schedule but now I was having to move every 40-80 minutes.
The masks of course were a new addition to this school year and possibly would become the norm. At first I found them quite irritating but overtime you get used to them. Social distancing was most likely the hardest thing. You just got so used to socialising with other people that staying apart seemed like an alien concept. I think that the school management did an excellent job with ensuring that students and staff were safe.
For next week's edition I hope to interview a few student council members and find out how they spent their time in lockdown. I would also like to thank the student council for giving me an opportunity to undertake this.
Hello and welcome to this online blog.12/02/21
My name is Filip Piotrowski and I’m a 5th year student. I undertook this online blog because it is something new and it seemed interesting. For today's blog I would like to compare the first lockdown to the third/ current lockdown.
The first lockdown was something new, it’s something that we had never experienced before. The first lockdown couldn’t have started at a better time, Friday March 13th. The first few days were very tough of course, trying to get used to this new lifestyle of staying at home and avoiding contact with others. It seemed weird and kinda like a plot in the movies. Online classes were an alien concept for me and it seemed weird at the time to spend time learning things on a computer at home. I was so accustomed to the traditional way that it seemed weird .
Luckily I was in TY at the time and didn’t have to worry a lot about catching up with school work or studying. I decided to spend my time improving at subjects such as Spanish during the first lockdown. I decided that improving my linguistic skills is essential for the future. My tactic was simple ,watching shows, listening to music, reading articles and changing the language for apps that I use most to Spanish. I feel that during that time my skills level rose exponentially and I feel proud of this.
The most important thing for most people during the lockdown was to exercise and it’s pros outweigh the cons. Before lockdown I used to run 5km every Saturday morning with parkrun but since they were cancelled I have had to run solo. It felt so weird as there was no motivation and the energy lacked at times. Stay at home exercises were fantastic as I had no time for them before. The thing I missed most was going out with friends. Lockdown made me realise how time is precious and will eventually end. It made me realise that things you love most could be changed all of a sudden.
The third lockdown on the other hand was like a season no one asked for. It happened shortly after one of the best times of the year,Christmas. Online classes have replace traditional classes. In my opinion I find traditional classes better because there is more interaction. Online classes lack that something which makes learning great.
Mental health has become the most important thing for me. Usually after class I read. I recently read the Harry Potter series which I’d totally recommend. I’d usually do exercise in the form of a run/walk. I find them great as they relax me.
Thank you for reading this relatively short blog and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading the following ones.
See ye after the mid term