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Latest News Christmas 2014

posted Dec 17, 2014, 2:34 PM by Brendan McHugh


Shoebox Appeal

Sincere thanks to all students and staff who participated so generously in this year's 'shoebox appeal'. Together we filled 90 shoeboxes full of delights for worthy recipients. The shoebox appeal is run by 'Team Hope'  who are currently delivering the shoeboxes to street children, orphans, poor families, victims of war and children in hospital in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Africa. Contributing to charities and worthwhile causes is something we try to promote and foster here in Sacred Heart School so, once again, a big thank you to all who got involved.


Art News 

With Ms Olivia Mc Hale

Art Competition Success

Congratulations to Saoirse O’Neill [2nd year] had a self portrait painting in the Fresh Visionaries Exhibition, [which ended on the 6th of December] in Ormston House Gallery, in Limerick.

Congratulations also to Aoife Roache [2nd year] was a prize winner in the 14 – 17 year category of the Credit Union Poster Competition.


Christmas Tree Project

The 2B CSPE class ran a Christmas Competition for first year students. They asked the students to design and make Christmas tree decorations from re-cycled materials only. The students came up with a wide range of imaginative and unique decorations which adorn the tree currently in the first year area of the school.


SHS Numeracy Strategy 2014/15

 In order to promote and enhance a productive school environment that fosters developing numeracy skills, we are currently in the process of putting together a whole school approach in line The National Strategy to improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020 that will allow us to embrace this new challenge.

 The strategy aims to develop mathematical understanding and skills to solve problems and meet the demands of day-to-day living in complex social settings. To have this ability, a young person needs to be able to think and communicate quantitatively, to make sense of data, to have a spatial awareness, to understand patterns and sequences, and to recognise situations where mathematical reasoning can be applied to solve problems.

Initiatives to date include participation in Maths Week, Transition year students created ‘Maths Eyes Posters’ which challenged students to see the mathematics lying hidden in the world around us.   An increased large number of TY and fifth year students participated in the 28th Irish Olympiad and the top students were invited to attend Mathematical enrichment classes in NUI Galway from January.  First year students are taking part in a weekly maths puzzle, aimed at developing their problem solving skills.

All students will be encouraged to adopt an Estimate Calculate Check (ECC) strategy in the coming term when attempting school work.  This will encourage students to estimate what they think the answer might be using logic, and then use their mathematical skills to calculate before checking the solution is correct and parents are encouraged to help develop this skill at home.

SHS Literacy Strategy Update

   The School is currently in its third year of the National Literacy Development Plan. To date, literacy objectives have been to improve standards in punctuation, promote oral literacy skills, and disciplinary literacy.

             This year, apart from embedding the above objectives of the last two years,  the Literacy plan is focusing on listening skills and vocabulary development.

                  The programme is implemented across the whole school curriculum. Each subject department has undertaken these literacy objectives, so it task of developing literacy skills is not just left to the responsibility of English teachers.

                  Students' standards of various literacy skills are measured early on in 1st year and assessed again in May. The graphs below show that the school has been successful in reaching its literacy targets and we are committed to continue improving this.

Christmas Sports Report


U16 and U19 basketball teams have been playing their league matches over the past couple of weeks. First and second year basketball will start after the mid-term break.



The full contact rugby team has been training over the last number of weeks. They played in a blitz competition in Tuam where the U15's won three matches and lost one. The U18's also won 3 matches and drew one. All students played really well. There will be another blitz in November and cup competition after that. The team is trained by Colin Weston of Westport Rugby Club. Thanks to Colin for all his help.


Team members:

U15 Team

 Rachel Sheridan, Grace Browne Moran, Lily Brady, Clare Coughlan, Milly Durkin

Front Row: Molly Ryder, Sarah Mcginnity, Chloe Staunton, Shona Kennedy.

Absent: Nina Mathestein.


Katy Coyle, Roisin de Bhaldraithe, Rebecca Walsh,Rachel Weston, Emily Ring, Clare O'Leary, Niamh O'Grady, Erin Rowley and Becky Gavin.

Active Schools Committee

The Active School committee members have been selected for this year. It is made up of two students from each year group. Thanks to all those involved.

Activity Pyramids

A number of students have completed activity pyramids in the first term.Well done to all.


First, second and third years have been training over the past couple of weeks. They participated in a blitz in Castlebar and came out on top.Many thanks to their trainer Declan, Westport Camogie Club and teacher Ms Mulligan.


Rugby Players in Action




Irish Mathematics Olympiad

Well done to all students who participated in the 28th Irish Mathematical Olympiad. The results are in and counted so the top achieving students include:

Roisin De Bhaldraithe, Emma May Noonan, Bronwyn O Donnell, Rebecca Lydon, Sadbh Breslin, Stephanie Lavelle, Eimear Harrison, Rachel Hyland, Rebecca Sammon, Laura Harper, Grace Reid and Tara McGreevy.

Students will receive an invitation to participate in Round 2 of the contest and attends mathematical enrichment classes held at NUI Galway. Thanks to the 5th year maths teachers especially Ms Kelly for organising the examinations.


Díospóireachtaí Ghael Linn

Congratulations to the SHS Senior Irish Debate team who performed at the recent Gael Linn Debates, which were held in Caisleán an Bharraigh. Much work went into researching the motion, preparing the speeches and delivering them with confidence and conviction. Our speakers consisted of 5th year students: Katie Ní Chearbhalláin, Caoilainn Ní Nualláin and Grace Ní Riada. They were assisted by the research team: Sarah Ní Mhaolfhabhail, Sophie Letourmy and Hepsebah Ní Rathaille while being mentored by Ms Ní Dhomhnaill and Ms Ní Fhearraigh. Maith sibh, a chailíní. Rinne sibh obair iontach!

Comórtas Filíochta

Comhghairdeas do na buaiteoirí ón gcomórtas filíochta 2014 ! Scríobh na daltaí dànta dar teideal 'An Fómhar' agus bhí ardchaighdeán ann i mbliana! Bhuaigh Jessica Niland an príomhdhuais agus na buaiteoirí eile ná Orla Harrison, Cara Farrell, Sarah Bucks, Emer Mulchrone agus Alisha McDonnell. Maith sibh a Chailíní !!!

An Cumann Ceoil

Tosóidh an Cumann Ceoil arís i mbliana ar an 3ú lá de mhí na Samhna ag am lóin i seomra 20. Tá baill nua á lorg againn! Má tá spéis agat i gceol traidisiúnta - Bí linn! Má tá tuilleadh eolais uait cuir ceist ar Iníon Ní Dhochartaigh. Fáilte roimh chách!

St Cecilia's choir news

St Cecelia’s Choir has been very busy since the start of the year!

There have been many school events, including our start of year Mass, November Prayer Service for the dead and an Advent Service.

We had the great honour of singing at the removal of Sr. Ignatius’ body, a lady who was involved with our school for many years, and also at the removal of Sean Staunton’s body to the Church. He too was heavily involved in the school for many years. It was a great privilege to sing at both events. May they rest in peace.

Outside of school we sang at many Tridentine Masses over the past year and the Latin Mass Society's Annual Pilgrimage to Knock in September and other monthly Latin Masses. The Faith of Our Fathers two day conference in Knock in September was another prestigious event to be involved in. A few members of the choir sang at the Masses on the Saturday and Sunday. The Sunday Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend  Phillip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe.

St Cecilia’s choir were again invited this year to sing carols at the blessing of the crib in Westport town and to sing at the switching on of the town lights.

The choir has also been supporting the cantors at the 12 noon Mass in St Mary's Church in Westport at least once a month for almost 3 years.

On 22nd November, the feast of St. Cecilia, the choir members, along with Miss McQuaid and Mrs Mary Gallagher, retired music teacher and organist for the choir in the Church, had a celebratory lunch in Il Vulcano.

Auditions have taken place for new members and we now have over 20 members. Miss McQuaid.


Knock Youth Gathering:

Tuesday 7th October was the date for the annual Knock Youth Gathering which our school was represented at.  Miss McQuaid and a group of 13 TY students attended the day with 3000 other students from all over the country. The programme included Mass, confessions, time for meeting with other schools. There were guest speakers including Mickey Harte, who encouraged the youth in their faith and described the importance of it in their own lives.


 Soroptimist Public Speaking competition

On Saturday the 28 of November Sacred Heart School was represented by Alice Forbes, Hepsebah O'Reilly, Sarah Murphy and Louise Moran in the Soroptimist Public Speaking competition. Our students were exceptional in their content, presentation and behaviour. They were a credit to their families and to us. Alice Forbes will represent north Connaught in the regional final in late January. Thnks to Ms Hamrock and the English Department for mentoring the students.


3rd Year Student Plays in National Concert Hall

Hearty congratulations from the whole school community goes to Sadhbh Hanks, a third year student.  On Monday the 13th October, Sadhbh performed her own composition 'Illusions' in the National Concert Hall in Dublin. 

Sadhbh sang and played the NCH Steinway grand piano and was accompanied by the Kaleidoscope Big Band.  She received a standing ovation from the audience which included our esteemed president, Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.  The concert was part of the Music Generation programme. This is a phenomenal achievement for one so young and something she should be immensely proud of. 


TY Midterm Notes by Mr Gearoid O’Riain

Transition Year has been very busy off to a busy start.

Helping the group to get to know each other and bond is the hidden agenda in a lot of what we have been doing this first half term in TY. Girls often come into TY as many disparate groups and leave as one united year.

We kicked off the term in the new Quay Community Centre with an induction day, getting to know each other and learning about the year.

The Clare Island camping trip, the musical and the Esker retreat are some of the activities that have hopefully contributed to the girls being more at ease and open with each other, feeling safe, secure and happy to be part of the TY group. If they feel accepted, safe and happy they can engage much more with each other, with school, with the activities and opportunities in the year, and push themselves to explore and learn, discover and develop their passions and gifts. This is what we mean by maturing in TY.

Clare Island

It has already been a delight to watch the girls become more confident and comfortable with each other. It is especially satisfying to see the more reserved girls find their space and their voice and realise that they have an equal contribution to make to their classes, to their various teams, to each other, and that their points of view are valid and their talents and qualities are valued. With the support of the pastoral care team, the encouragement of staff and teachers and the support of families, this will hopefully continue to develop through the year. This should also bear fruits in their general class and academic work.

The variety that is the daily stuff of TY hopefully helps students find their passion in life. In recent weeks that variety has included activities such as sitting in on a court case in Castlebar, doing the DATS aptitude tests, guest speakers, projects such as first aid, motor mechanics, and hair and makeup, etc., as well as getting involved in helping with community activities such as the Spraoi at the Quay and Smarter Travel. But it has also included getting stuck into classroom work in traditional school subjects and beginning to taste some of the subjects they might decide to do in leaving cert such as history, geography, business, economics and the sciences and taking classes in IT, Chinese and Psychology. An even busier term lies ahead!



Respect For All Week

In the last week of the half term students participated in 'Respect for All' week. This was to promote the fact that in our school everyone is valued. Everyone has the right to be themselves and the responsibility to treat others as they would like to be treated. Students were asked to make an extra special effort to be respectful of everyone and embrace each others’ differences. Every day of the week had a different theme: self-esteem; respect for the elderly; respect for the environment; cyber bullying; respect for the school community. Students were also given the opportunity to design a flag for 'respect for all' week. We would like to thank the huge number of students who participated in this. Hopefully the week has encouraged everyone to be more inclusive and respectful towards themselves and each other. A huge amount of work was undertaken by the SPHE department especially Ms Lane who organised the weeks activities and  events.

Careers Guidance Notes

The 1st deadline for CAO applications is the 1st February. Most 6th year students have registered with CAO and begun their application. The cost of registering rises from €25 to €40 euro after the 20th January so students are advised to register now to save money and ease the pressure after Christmas.

Course choices can be changed as often as desired up until the 1st of February. The choices on the form at that date will be taken by CAO on this date. Students may change their mind during February for a fee of €10 and for free between the 5th May and 1st of July to a non-restricted course (a course not requiring an aptitude test, interview, portfolio etc.)

The closing date for the UCAS system covering the UK and Northern Ireland is the 15th January. Students wishing to apply here must submit a personal statement or entrance essay.

The student grant system (SUSI) will open in May but if a student is eligible for a grant then they may also apply for the HEAR scheme, which is accessible online through the CAO form. This form is self explanatory and generates a list of documentation that must be supplied to the CAO by the 1st April. Details on this is given to students and is also available on

I am meeting students individually throughout the year and if you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact the school.

Mr John Coyle Guidance Counsellor


Adi Roche Visits the SHS

Adi Roche Visited the SHS to thank students for their fundraising efforts towards the Adi Roche Foundation. In all SHS students raised over €1000 for the charity at the end of the last school year.

The money has provided a lifesaving heart operation to a child in Belarus who is suffering from a common heart defect caused by the elevated levels of radiation the population is exposed to following the Chernobyl disaster. Ms Roche also gave an inspiration al speech to TY students encouraging them to be the best they can be and to be considerate of the power they have to change the lives of the less fortunate. Ms Margaret Martin was the mentor teacher to this group.

Pictured is the organising committee of the fundraising efforts presenting a cheque for €1060 to Ms Roche.

3rd Year Students raise money for Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital

Students from 3rd and 5th years at the Sacred Heart School Westport, raised €700.00 for the Crumlin and Beaumount Hospitals fund. The students organised a Junior Student fun run/walk and a raffle. The students travelled to Dublin to present the poroceeds to the Hospital, the students were accompanied by their mentor Ms Margaret Hession and Ms Sinead Lavelle. The students who took part were Chloe Chambers, Claudia Nigowska, Shauna Mulchrone, Teresa Collins, Amy Gibson, and Tara Gibson.