The German students of Transition Year held their Annual Christmas Market again this year. There was festive food German music and Kinderpunch drink. We had home baked Plätzchen, Blackforest gateau, Pfannkuchen, Apfelstrudel and lots of other cakes. Santa Claus and Mrs.Claus with their elves visited on the day and were available for photos. The second year students of German also made fabulous food for the occasion. This was a wonderful cultural experience of festivity and fun.
On Monday 5th December the Transition Year School Bank was officially opened. The bank is set up and run in conjunction with the Bank of Ireland, Templemore branch who support the students allowing them to set up their School Bank and carry out banking roles and responsibilities.
A team of 7 students set up and manage the day-to-day operations of the School Bank. This year Lara O’Toole, Maeve Keyes, Andrew Mullen, Aine Delaney, Ruth Butler, Pat Carroll and Conor Ryan are the school bank team. They are open every Monday at 1.20-1.40. Their aim this year is to open 100 accounts. Students who wish to open accounts need to fill in an application form and bring €5 to activate the account.
Sixty four pupils and eight teachers travelled from Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore to Berlin for five days during the October Break. We stayed at Hotel Tiergarten in the heart of the city. What a welcoming four star hotel it was with a buffet extravaganza breakfast to die for. We visited all the fabulous sights including the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Checkpoint Charlie Museum documented the human history of the Berlin Wall, located next to the legendary Checkpoint Charlie. On our first evening we dined in the Paulaner Restaurant in Spreebogen, where we ate traditional Schnitzel and Pommes Frites.
On our second day we travelled to the Autostadt, Wolfsburg, where we visited the largest car manufacturing company in the world. 2,800 cars are produced daily here. We travelled around the factory by train and really only saw a tiny fraction of the production plant. It was an incredible experience of modern technology as we witnessed the robots in action. We saw interactive exhibits, simulator crash tests, a car design studio and an area dedicated to the history of motor vehicles to name but a few. There is also a car distribution Centre, where people can come and collect their new Volkswagens. Vehicles travel straight from the factory floor via a tunnel to the car towers. Each brand of the Volkswagen group has a separate building and exhibition area, Bentley, Lamborghini, Skoda, Audi,Volkswagen and Seat. When we returned to Berlin, students dined at the famous Route 66 American diner restaurant.
On our third day we travelled to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. We had a guided tour that was exceptionally enlightening regarding how and why such systematic extermination operations of the SS took place. The famous film “The Counterfeiters” is in fact based on an event at his camp. This was a very poignant visit indeed. We then visited the Olympic Stadium built for the Games in 1936. This is where the International Youth assembled in Nazi Germany to be greeted by Hitler before the start of World War 2. We visited the Football Stadium, the home of the famous Soccer Club Hertha Berlin. Lots of jerseys and souvenirs were bought in the Fan Shop. Later we stopped at Alexanderplatz for shopping. That evening we had great fun at Schillerpark Bowling Alley, where we also dined. Teachers and students proved their great abilities and skills at Bowling.
Day four we had a total fun day, when we went to “Tropical Island” Waterpark. It is Europe’s largest tropical indoor beach, sauna with mangrove swamps and idyllic lagoons. Students enjoyed thrilling rides on Germany’s famous waterslides. Later that evening we dined at Piazza Rossa. We visited the famous TV Tower. Students went to the top of this 368 m structure, the tallest building in Germany. Here they experienced amazing panoramic views of the entire city of Berlin.
On day five, we relaxed at Berlin Tiergarten, which is Germany’s oldest zoo. We had lunch at “Biers”, a very famous restaurant for the best Currywurst in Berlin. We visited the “Story of Berlin” and the underground Bunkers. We spent some free time shopping on the Kufürstendamm. If the truth be known, we were in awe of the prices on this most famous shopping street in the world.
Back home to Dublin and Templemore, safe and sound. So many varied Germanic cultural experiences encapsulated into five days. What a trip! An experience of a lifetime! A sincere word of thanks to the most wonderful 64 Students, boys and girls who travelled on the trip. Their behaviour, cooperation and sense of fun was impeccable. They participated in a very intense programme of events, often tiring and challenging, but their involvement was top class at all times. Credit to their parents, school and teachers who travelled with them.
Our wish is that this exposure to German Lifestyle has strengthened the students’ knowledge of German and that they may be encouraged to return to Germany someday.
The Harty cup team continues to train hard in preparation for their second game against the losers of Bandon Hamilton High School and Ard Scoil Rís. This game is scheduled for December 16th at a venue to be decided. Our Lady’s earned a date against the weaker opposition as a result of having overcome St. Flannan’s in the first round at Nenagh on October 25th . The management team of Mr. Tom Byrnes, Mr. Noel Fogarty and Mr. Joe Gallagher will take nothing for granted in this game and preparation is proceeding in a business-like manner at the moment. Commiserations to the Croke and Corn Uí Chátháin teams who were beaten in their competitions in the past couple of weeks.
Congratulations to Leaving Cert 2016 students, John Carroll and Conor O’ Brien who were awarded entrance scholarships to UCD at a ceremony in the Tony O’ Reilly Hall on November 16th. These prestigious awards are conferred on High Achievers in the Leaving Cert who pursue particular courses at Third Level. John Carroll who is from Errill and Conor O’ Brien from Templemore did their Leaving Cert exam at Our Lady’s in June and began their studies at UCD in September.
On November 22nd another Our Lady’s Student, Karolina Varadi will be awarded an Entrance Exhibition Award to Trinity College as result of her Leaving Cert Achievement. Well done to all the students and especially to their families and to their teachers at Our Lady’s.