Below are some weekly Transition Year Diaries to give you a flavour of Transition Year in our school.

Laura’s Diary Week 6: Participating in BT Young Scientist

This year I took part in the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition in the RDS in Dublin.It was an amazing experience for me. On Wednesday the 9th of January the exhibition started and we went up to Dublin to set up our poster and stand in the RDS. We had worked hard on our project for months, making sure everything was perfect for the judges. Our project was titled “Absenteeism as a result of type 1 diabetes.” As Maria and I both have type 1 diabetes we were very interested in the topic and discovering more about it. This was our second time at the Young Scientist, we had completed another project in 2017 and this was a continuation of a certain aspect that the judges recommended for development. Tara joined the group and was a great addition. On Wednesday, we had one judge. We felt that this went really well and she seemed really interested,which made us feel more confident about our project. On Thursday we had two judges visit our stand and it was a bit of a tougher round of judging for us but we felt we answered everything as best as we could. Over these nights we met some great new friends and went to a table quiz with them which we came first in and got great prizes! I had great fun on the nights of the exhibition, even just staying in the hotel room and watching a movie. On Friday we had a visit from the TY students in our school , which was great because our teachers and friends got to see all of our hard work on display among over 500 other projects from hundreds of schools across Ireland. That night was the awards ceremony where we were all anxious for the results! We found out when we got back to our stand that we had been awarded a highly commended ribbon. We were so happy with the result after all of our effort. The BT Young Scientist was a great opportunity and experience for me and I made friends that I am still in contact with because of it. We all know that our project would not have been so successful without the hard work and commitment of our teacher Ms Higgins. Our project has caught a lot of attention and we were recently brought to SAS Analytics in Dublin where we saw all our results on display. It has opened up a lot of doors for us!

Pictured at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition during the week are TY students from Our Lady’s Castleblayney whose project ‘Absenteeism as a result of Type 1 Diabetes’ received a high commendation. Students, Tara Quinn, Maria Duffy & Laura Christie are seen here with their teacher and mentor, Ms Kathryn Higgins. Congratulations to all concerned!

Johanna’s Diary Week 6: Reflecting on facing challenges

After a religion class on a Thursday my religion teacher asked me if I wanted to read at the Easter Confessions in one weeks time. I accepted as I try to do as much as possible over the year and create as many new experiences as possible. I knew that this was a new chance to go out of my comfort zone and do something new. I knew straight away that I would hate myself in a week for saying yes and that I would be terrified, but afterwards I knew that I would be so happy and proud. My teacher gave me the text to read and I started to practicing on Sunday afternoon. I asked my host mother and friends how to pronounce different words and on Thursday I could not think or talk about anything else other than the fact that I was going to read in front of 800 people. On Thursday morning we went down to the church to practice and that was the best thing we could have done, because it gave me so much security and confidence that I was able to do it. I also had art that morning and when I left the room after the class I realized how calm I was in there, because I painted and talked about artists and did what I love. However as soon as we left the art room I was nervous again. Whenever we arrived at the church, with my class and I sat down and surprisingly I was quite calm for a few minutes, until I began to feel terrified. The worst moment was, when I walked up the first step of the altar. I could not believe what I was doing! The reading itself wasn’t too bad at all, because I ignored the huge crowd and didn’t even realized how full it really was. When I walked back to my seat and realised what I had just done in this church I was so incredibly happy and proud of myself.

Johanna’s Diary Week 5: Reflecting on the year

We all know that Transition Year is a year between the Junior cert and the Leaving cert, where less focus is placed on academic pursuits. However do we really know how important this year is? I came from Germany and I never heard about this year, but I found out how significant it is for every single student and their personality. Sometimes I feel like many students see this year just as a break where they don’t have to study and can relax and do nothing. I hope after this little article you stop thinking in this way and use the great opportunity to explore different things and learn more about yourself.
Usually the school focuses very strong on academics things and exams. What happens is that the school gives the opportunity to try things you are not confident in, make new friends, and sometime notice, that you don’t like the new activities. So please, let us appreciate this chance and make it worthwhile. You get opportunities in this year you will never get again and you can explore the things on your own or with friends. I promise you, when you use this year you will learn something about yourself and you will have a unforgettable time.
I came to Ireland, had to speak in a different language, lived with a family I never met before, knew nobody and didn’t know how anything works. This was really challenging at the beginning, but I pushed myself and it worked. I am more than happy that I made this decision to come to Ireland and that I didn’t give up. From time to time I found myself in different situations I wasn’t comfortable with and I would have loved to quit, but I didn’t. I faced the situation and that’s what transition year is about- doing things that you didn’t think you were able to deal with and find out that you are! So please try it and use the opportunity we got!

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Niamh’s Diary Week 4: Reflecting on the “Retreat” Module

I chose this module to write about because it is my favorite to
participate in. i love to organise events and to come up with
ideas. “Retreat” is a module where Transition Year students plan two days of orientation for first year students.
I was placed in a group with four other people. There were five activities for the first years to do- wellbeing, dancing, board games, Religion and art. My group completed two different activities in preparation for this. We also made homemade cards. We had to order many of the
supplies from the schools arts supplier- paint, lollipop sticks, rubbers and glue. The retreat was a very valuable learning experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Daniel’s Diary Week 4: Reflecting on Work Experience

I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience. I completed it at the Garage Theatre and I almost feel like I could live there to be honest. There is only 2 days per week when I’m not there. I’m there for 5 hours on a Monday. It’s ridiculous how much time I spend there. Not that I mind in the slightest. On the Monday I spent the week in the office until 5 o’clock. I really quite liked the work I was doing, it didn’t annoy or bore me. It was slightly repetitive but if I listened to my music it passed the time a lot quicker. I also learnt a lot about how to use the photocopier and other office supplies which will really help me in the future. I then went to the “Annie” rehearsals as per usual and then went to my own rehearsals for the pantomime. On Tuesday I came in to help with ticket sales at the show that night. I also liked doing this as I like interacting with people in this kind of situation. On Wednesday I also didn’t have to go in during the day but then went in the evening to help with Monaghan Youth Theatre. I am part of the Youth Theatre and I really enjoyed working with the younger kids. On the Thursday I went in to help with tickets sales once again. On Friday I ended up back in the office doing the same kind of work I was doing before. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my week.

Jodie’s Diary Week 3:

Recently we participated in the Transition Year Wheelchair Basketball Finals in Tallaght and what a day it turned out to be! When we arrived in Tallaght we played our first game vs St. Aidans CBS near DCU. It was a tough game but we came out on top by 1 point after overtime! In our second game we played Presentation Killarney in another highly contested game. We won by 2 points which put us in a really good place for making a semi-final. We then played a very strong Malahide team but came out on top after the sides being very close throughout. Our final game was against our local rivals the Patrician High School Carrickmacross. Thankfully we came out the right side of a very competitive game. We then played a team from Abbeyfeale in the Semi-final who were very competitive. We came out of that game winning by 3 points which placed us in the TY Wheelchair basketball All-Ireland final against a very impressive Colaiste Choilm Ballingcollig. We didn’t let the occasion get to us and came out on top by 6 points. It was a fantastic day out and was great to bring an All-Ireland title home to Castleblayney!

Ellianna’s Diary Week 2:

This year in school, the equestrian team was very successful. We were training for months and competing at Killossary Lodge Stud every few weeks representing Our Lady’s Secondary School. Our Lady’s team consisted of Ellianna Fox, Grainne Lacey, Eimear Meegan, Bronagh Traynor and Sophie Moore. Our coach was James Kernan who provided us with lessons every Wednesday. We were all quite devoted and consistent with our presence at the lessons which was very important when it came to competing. Our chef d’Equipe, Ms. O’Hanrahan, also guided us and gave us all great advice and lots of help throughout the year. On Sunday 10th February all our hard work paid off as each of the riders got a clear round and secured the coveted win, taking home the winners rugs. We were all so delighted with our winnings and celebrated by stopping at Dooley’s on the way home. It has been a really enjoyable and exciting year for the equestrian team and hopefully we will enjoy continued success!

Maria’s Diary Week 1:

On Tuesday we attended the Transition Year Business trip. We started the trip at Combilift. After receiving high visibility jackets and glasses we went to the cinema room where we got an introduction and met Martin McVicar, CEO of the company. We then split into groups of 10 and got a tour around the factory and also had an opportunity to ask questions. When we left Combilift we headed to Mr. McArdle’s Chicken factory. He discussed leaving teaching to run his own business and how he became interested in the business. When we left the chicken farm we went to Castle Leslie Estate where we got a tour around the castle and learned the history of it. Castle Leslie was definitely my favorite part of the tour. The day concluded with a trip to McDonald’s!

On Wednesday I participated in the GAA Coaching course. This commenced at 10 a.m. We learned some warm-up drills suitable for underage players. After we learned the different aspects of the game from agility, balance, co-ordination to teamwork. We then worked in groups to make a station on running. Finally, we played games in teams.

On Friday our year group travelled to Dublin to do a tour of Croke Park Stadium. We learned about the history of the stadium and we hope that it won’t be our last visit to the pitch!