Amber Flag Committee – report by Shivaun Alouf (6th year student)
The Amber Flag Committee here in Loreto is a team of students and teachers who actively participate to promote positive mental health in our school. We are working towards earning The Amber Flag to show how seriously staff and students in Loreto see the issue of Mental Health. To do this we have created and have completed four initiatives;
- Our first initiative was to organise ‘Secret Santa’ amongst every base class. A set budget of a few euro was made and on our final day before Christmas holidays students gave each other a small gift that was bought or hand made. This was a truly special opportunity as it brought together girls who mightn’t speak daily and certainly left us all in the Christmas spirit!
- We hand made a Positivity Board, filled with information in regards to mental health, support services and inspirational quotes customised by every class. The board is covered in colour and art work so that as students walk by we put a smile on their face!
- Our school and Amber Flag Committee organised a Mental Health Awareness Day, which was a huge success! The day consisted of constant acts of kindness and information so that we educated our school on the importance of mental health awareness. Between small poems to inspire and make students laugh being read on the intercom, sweets given out as students swiped into school and positive messages being handed out as they arrived in school, the day truly taught us the power of positivity and kindness as well as breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
- For the past two months of our school year, the Amber Flag Committee have organised Just Dance in the Sports Hall every Friday. This has been a huge success as we are coming up to exams. Between state exams and summer tests, it has really given students an opportunity to break away from the academic work load and enjoy a half hour of laughter and fun. It has gone down a treat with students in all year groups with numbers hitting over 130 students on our Fridays!!
As you can see in some of the pictures students are wearing a green ribbon by their school crest. This ribbon is a symbol to end the stigma surrounding mental health and the Amber Flag Committee gave one of these ribbons to every member of the student body here in Loreto in support of the ‘See Change’ organisation.
Loreto Wexford certainly sees the importance in talking about mental health but also putting our words into action by completing our four initiatives. We hope to see the impact that our Amber Flag Committee has made in school continue for years to come!
Update – Ms Foley and Ms Kelly
We are delighted and extremely proud to announce that we successfully met all criteria (which Shivaun has outlined above) to be awarded the Amber Flag. Pictured below are some first and second year Amber Flag Committee members with ourselves, the Guidance Counsellors, proudly displaying our flag which just arrived this week. We look forward to holding an official launch of the Amber Flag in the new academic year.
We would like to congratulate all those involved in promoting positive mental health in our school community.
School Prizegiving Ceremony – report by Ms. Foley
On Monday, 20 May the Loreto Secondary School Annual Prizegiving ceremony took place for the first time in the school sports hall in Pembroke Hill. There was an air of excitement as this was the first occasion that the whole school community gathered together in the hall. In addition to the staff and students, invited guests included Fr Jim Fegan, Chaplain, Sr. Helen O’ Riordan, IBVM, Chairperson of the Board of Management, members of the Parents’ Council and Mr. Brian McGonagle.
Students who performed the role of Prefects were recognised for their contribution to school life. One student from each class was chosen by nominations from staff and students for contributing to school life in a positive way during the year. 53 students across all year groups were recognised for their full attendance during the year. Further presentations were made to Students’ Council members and Meitheal leaders.
The achievements of students across a range of sports was celebrated, with presentations made to captains and vice captains of a variety of teams. Special sports awards were given to Roisin O’ Reilly, Meabh Hayes and Aisling Kelly in recognition of their achievement of Athletics International Caps. The Parents’ Council presented thirty-one 6th Year students with awards for their representation of the school in various sports from 1st to 6th Year.
The Spirit of Marianne MacGonagle Perpetual Award was presented to Aisling Gouldson by Mr. Brian MacGonagle. Caitlin Carthy received the Sr.Mary Walshe Memorial Cup for Music, while Ava Grant received the Una Hickey Perpetual Cup for English. Further subject specific awards went to; Jessica Ruane for Art; Eimear O’ Donnagain for Irish and Aya Abukabar for Modern Languages. The Spirit of Inclusion Award went to Bridget Cowman; Lara O’ Shea received the Justice and Peace Award and Eileen Rowe was awarded the Spirit of Transition Year award. Alannah Fusciardi- Wallace was recognised for her achievements in the Rotary Leadership competition, while Emaan Khan’s success in winning the National Career Skills competition was celebrated. Special recognition awards were presented to three students for their outstanding achievement in German, with Lillian Lewanowski-Condon and Roisin O’ Reilly recognised by the State Examinations Commission for their excellent performance in the Junior Certificate German exam, while Roisin O’ Reilly and Sarah Jones won Scholarships to Austria and Switzerland respectively. Additionally, Aoife Murphy received an award for her Outstanding Achievement in IT, as she qualified for the 2019 Ireland MOS4N Championship finals in Dublin.
2019 saw the first presentation of a Loreto Education Trust Award, which was presented to one student in each Loreto school in Ireland, who embodies the values of the foundress Mary Ward. The recipient in Loreto Wexford in 2019 is Beth Powell.
Muirinn Carthy, a fourth-year student who wrote, directed and produced a play, ‘A Higher Love’, staring her peers in the Dun Mhuire theatre received the coveted Principal’s award. The ceremony concluded with presentations made by Mr. O’ Shea to the two Head Girls’, Gia Simmons and Clodagh Wilson, for the great leadership they provided to the student body during the year.
The ceremony was enriched by a variety of beautiful musical performances. Eve Donoghue, 1st year, played ‘The Coolin’ on violin, while a group of second year students sang and played ‘Ocean’s Eyes’ on guitar. The school orchestra played ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ as the ceremony drew to a close.
We are delighted to say that Flora Doran (2nd year) has been selected to represent Ireland at the Pony Club Junior Tetrathlon in England in June. This is an international event where she will compete against teams from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. She competes in four different disciplines – shooting, swimming, running and riding a very testing cross country track.
Well done, Flora, on this superb achievement.
1st Year School Tour
On Friday, 3 May 139 1st year students, along with their Meitheal Leaders, headed off to Castlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny for their school tour. They spent the day tackling high ropes, orienteering, boating, learning archery skills and learning team building skills on the octagon course.
A big thank you is extended to all the teachers who accompanied them on this trip. A great day was had by all.
2nd year Movie Day – report by Ciara Flanagan (2nd year)
On Friday, 17 May Sophie Ennis, Molly Martin and I held a movie day for all the 2nd year students.
Each girl was asked to pay €3 to watch the movie. With the help of our secretaries, Ann and Noleen, we totalled up all of the money collected, halved it and donated it to Wexford Marine Watch which is a suicide prevention organisation set up by my dad (Frank Flanagan). The other half was donated to Rising Voices Choir for people who have been touched by suicide, set up by Sophie’s dad (Mark Ennis).
It was an amazing turn out but we wouldn’t have done it without the consistent help from our teachers. It took a lot of preparation and planning. We’d also like to thank our two Deputies, Ms. O’Reilly and Mr. McGinnity, for their constant support throughout and during such a busy time of the year with exams approaching. It was a lovely time for all 2nd years to take a break from class work, kick back and relax.
Both Wexford Marine Watch and Rising Voices were delighted with the fabulous donation of €207.50 each! They’re both very grateful for your ongoing support.
- We extend our best wishes to 3rd and 6th year students who will be sitting State examinations from 5 to 25 June. We hope that the hard work done over the past few years will pay dividends in the coming weeks.
- Details of the calendar and booklists for 2019/2020 have been posted on our website.