Monday, 28 November 2016

Photography Workshop

Over the past few weeks, some of the fourth years took part in a two-day photography workshop with Tim Durham. He shared his tips and tricks for taking photographs, we learned amazing skills and saw a real insight into the world of photography.
On the first morning we learnt how to view pictures differently and what makes a picture. After some quizzes of what the pictures were of, we talked about taking photos and he gave us a quote “The camera looks both ways” which tells us that a photo that one takes tells us as much about the photo itself as it does the person taking it.
We then walked around Balbriggan in groups taking photographs, which taught us that the place that the photo is taken in doesn’t make the photo amazing but the subject of the photo. During our time taking photos in balbriggan we had some specific tasks to carry out such as 10 Black and White pictures, 5 Reflections some perspective and colour as well.

We spent Tuesday then looking at more photographs and then examining our own what we all liked and what we could have done to make it better. The photos we ended up taking were of amazing quality and looked great. Needless to say we all extremely enjoyed the two days with Tim and we thank him for coming to our school for the past few weeks, as it was all really worth it.

TY Forensics Workshop

When the fourth years heard the words “Forensics Workshop”, I don't think any of us were exactly leaping with excitement. We all expected a day-long science lesson. In truth,  most of us only wanted to know how many classes we would miss because of it. We were, without doubt, mistaken. Not one of us knew that Scientific Sue would turn our school into an episode of  ‘CSI’ and let us decode secret messages, test blood samples, take part in a powder analysis experiment and take our fingerprints.

From the moment we walked into the hall and put on our high-fashion plastic aprons, we were itching to get started. We got into teams of four with our friends and got to work as soon as we knew where to start. There was so much fancy equipment laid out for us- I think it's safe to say we all felt extremely professional. We got to use magnifying glasses, special fingerprinting brushes (how often do you get to dust for fingerprints with squirrel hair?!) and a huge array of different chemicals and blood samples.

Once we had cracked the codes, found whose blood matched the blood at the crime scene, identified the unknown powder and compared our fingerprints, we thought the fun had finished. Once again; we were wrong. Not only did Scientific Sue demonstrate different indicators changing colour and a few chemical reactions- she also scared the life out of every audience member by setting a balloon ablaze in the middle of the school hall.

At the end of the day, after we had cleared up the hall, we were all devastated to see Scientific Sue depart.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

TY Fundraising Committtee: Face Painting

Slowly but surely “Facepaint Friday” posters began to creep up around the school, and all of us in Loreto got more and more excited for our latest out-of-the-ordinary school event. I’m sure we’re all well used to the crazy events that unfold at our school by now, (can we all just take a moment to appreciate ‘Funky Shoe Day’?) but this is one thing that we weren’t expecting. On Friday 14th October, TY members of the Fundraising Committee put on blue T-shirts and set off on a mission to paint students and teachers faces in aid of the Clown Doctors.

Who are the Clown Doctors, you ask? Well, the Clown Doctors are an organisation who have been working in Our Lady’s hospital in Crumlin. They’re professional entertainers who have a love for putting a smile on people's faces. They work to make it easier for children and their families to adapt to hospital life, dressed up as clowns. Basically, their main goal is to make sick children laugh and to lighten the mood around the hospital and they do a really good job of it.

When Ms.Ryan shared her idea with the Fundraising Committee, we all loved it. What could be better than turning your schoolmates (and teachers) into festival-goers for the day, all while raising money for a great cause? There was a huge rush of excitement as we opened brand new face paints, paintbrushes, sponges and gemstone stickers in the sewing room and got to work on our 2nd Year test dummies, who were kind enough to “volunteer” to let us practice on them (thanks Ms.Ryan!) Once we got our practice runs in, (and our mistakes out of the way) the face painters were ready for the big day.

It didn't hit us face painters what we were in for until Friday morning before school, when a flock of first years entered the hall. We sat, gobsmacked by the sheer size of our queues, and wasted no time in getting to work. We continued to face paint throughout the day, during classes, at break and during both lunchtimes. We eventually got used to having herds of people waiting on us and developed our speed-painting skills along the way. In short, the day was a huge success and everyone wanted to get involved (thanks guys!)

By the end of the day, we managed to raise €650 in aid of The Clown Doctors, and to create a more joyful atmosphere around our school. After all, who could be in a bad mood walking around on a Friday with flowers painted on their face or with multi-coloured dots above their eyebrows? I, for one, certainly couldn't. When we all left school, a smile wasn't the only thing on our faces- we had a great start to our weekends. I think it’s safe to say that we are all hoping ‘Facepaint Friday’ will make a re-appearance next year, with even more glitter and gemstones than before.

TY Road Safety Talk

On the 10th of October, David Barren, a Garda Traffic Officer from the Road Safety Authority came in as a guest speaker for all the transition year students. To our surprise, it was no ordinary road safety talk. The presentation was compelling and engaging and we feel like everyone benefited from the experience.

His first sentence immediately engaged us and he held our concentration for the duration of the talk: “Three of you will die in an accident on the road.” He made it clear, from the beginning, the importance of road safety, particularly for people our age. He warned us that teenage girls, like ourselves, are three times more likely to die as a passenger in a vehicle. On the other hand, young male drivers (YMD) are eight times more likely to die as the driver in a vehicle. This is probably because they have still not matured, they are naive, over-confident and feel the need to impress.
We were astonished by the graphic video clips as it shows us how easy it is to lose concentration for just a second and how oblivious people are to the dangers of these situations. We also became alarmed when he showed us the impact of speeding cars and the likelihood of survival. For example, the likelihood of someone surviving the impact of a car driving at 60kph is 15%. Whereas if you reduce it to 50kph, the likelihood of survival rises to 55%. If you further reduce the speed to 30kph, the likelihood of survival is 95%. We were all amazed by how 10kph slower can be the difference between life and death.

We benefited from the talk by learning to be conscious of many things when getting into a car, such as who is the driver, have they consumed alcohol, have they got a valid licence and are they someone you can trust? However, if you are the driver; don’t do anything you will regret. Make sure you have not consumed alcohol and that you’re completely concentrated and not going to fall asleep. Also, most importantly, make sure that you are wearing your seatbelt; properly.

Overall, we feel that every student and member of staff that attended the talk, benefited greatly and are thankful that David Barren came in to speak to us about the aspects of road safety.

TY Debate: Trump V Hillary

Last week, three of the transition year classes had an opportunity to attend a debate planned, written and rehearsed by the TY ‘Politics’ class. The debate was about the presidential election in the United States of America and there were two groups. One, had to support Hillary Clinton and one had to support Donald Trump. The debate was very intense to watch but also very interesting as it showed that the students really did know a lot about the person they were backing up. After the speeches were spoken the TY audience got to ask the two groups questions. The students really enjoyed the debate and said they really hope there will more debates in the upcoming year.

Homework Club

Every Tuesday and Thursday, TY students volunteer to help out first year students with their homework. We meet our first years at 4:15 (unless they are one of the eager ones who show up at 4 on the dot) and we usually discuss their day, talk about what they have been up to, or answer one of their many questions. Then they get going with their homework, which they seem to really get a lot of! We try to help them when they get stuck, even though half of the time we don't know the answer either. Of course the highlight for everyone involved is at 4:50 when the biscuits make an appearance and are snapped up because we all know the supply of chocolate ones are limited... Other than the biscuits, the hour is enjoyable, it’s refreshing to be around the first years since they find everything hilarious, and it is fun to be a mentor. We have a lot of experience and useful advice for them which hopefully they'll benefit from.