As part of the Leaving Certificate English syllabus, students are studying the ground breaking Irish play “Eclipsed” by acclaimed writer Patricia Burke Brogan. After moving to Galway from County Clare aged two, Patricia Burke Brogan grew up surrounded by books and music. Her father was a huge influence on her childhood and she began reading and 'scribbling' at a young age. As Patricia grew up, her interest in art, music and writing continued and, despite being told she should focus on one area, she refused to choose between her great loves, as they "expressed different sides" of her. She has kept this ethos throughout the years and now divides her time between her writing and visual art. It was Patricia's first play, Eclipsed that would mark the start of an illustrious career. Eclipsed was one of the first plays to tell the story of the Magdalene Laundries and was inspired by Patricia's experiences as a young novitiate. After seeing the horrendous goings on, Patricia decided that becoming a nun was not for her. Instead she decided to highlight the plight of these women in her writing.
The play has since won many awards, including a Fringe First at Edinburgh Theatre Festival in 1992, and the United States Award in 1994
In February 2020, Mill Theatre in Dundrum produced the play and it was their intention that it was to be performed at venues across the country, specifically for Leaving Certificate English students. However, due to Covid19, this was not possible. Instead, they made available a streaming of the performance to schools and to the general audience.
On Thursday December 10th, our students supported the floundering Arts sector by purchasing tickets to view the live stream of the play. It was a most enlightening performance and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all. Thank you to Ms Duignan and Ms Glynn who organised the event, and to Mr Farrell and Ms Gallen for its facilitation.
Following on from the school’s involvement with the An Post ‘Community Focus’ initiative, Esker Rí Nursing Home reached out and asked if we would be able to create a postbox for their residents to post back their own letters and cards. Alongside their TY teachers, some TY students came together to build and paint a beautiful postbox. Residents will now have the opportunity to ‘post’ their own correspondence from within the nursing home. Well done to all involved!
Second Year students Charlie Ross and Joseph O'Neill, along with Third Year student James McCabe show off their completed F1 cars which they have worked on in practical class. The boys designed and fabricated their cars, completing the project on Thursday the 26th of November.
On Tuesday the 3rd of November Fifth Year students Owen Bagnall, Tiarnan Clarke McMahon and Luke Seery participated in a virtual judging session via Zoom in the National SciFest Finals. The boys project "Fighting for Breath, Is the School Drop Off Point Harmful to Students' Health" won best overall project at the AIT Regional Event last May.
Stand Up Awareness Week is celebrated in all Irish post-primary schools to spread awareness and take a stand against LGBTI+ related bullying. Our Wellbeing Committee made posters and decorated the notice board to create awareness among the school community and some of our classes have been actively engaging in the BeLonGTo.org activities. We stand together so our school remains a safe place for all.
A huge thankyou must be extended to TY students and Wellbeing Committee members Barbara Ziarnowska, Aleesha Fuller and Katie Gill for the fantastic Wellbeing wall art which they have recently produced in our school. It truly reflects what our school is all about.
Our hearts were warmed this past week as many students received return letters from some of the nursing homes we wrote to as part of the Community Focus initiative organised by An Post.
A friendly rivalry erupted this past weekend among our 2nd Year students and Year Head Mr. Donnelly as Dublin met Westmeath in the Leinster Senior Football Championship Quarter Final.
Friendship and Kindness are two of the fundamental principles that guide the daily workings of our school and indeed the interactions between all those in our wider community.
Acknowledging the importance of these ideals - now more than ever, in October 2020, T.Y students at Mercy Kilbeggan launched a new mentoring programme wherein they work with younger students to help guide their development while building lasting friendships along the way.
The ‘Cairdeas agus Cinéaltas’ programme recognises that students learn a great deal simply by observing and interacting with their peers and that the impact of a great mentor can be lifelong.
To this end, students and mentors meet across the week, throughout the academic year to enjoy mutual hobbies /interests, help one another in their studies and learn many new skills along the way.
The initiative is already having a hugely positive impact on all those involved and it will only continue to prosper.
‘Friendship is not a big thing…..it’s a million little things’
Due to the six-week Level 5 restrictions imposed nationwide from Wednesday 21st October 2020, we will regretfully have to cancel our Drive-In Open Night that was scheduled for Friday 13th November 2020. We are very disappointed that we have to do this, but this matter has been taken out of our hands. We will revisit having an event for incoming First Year students in due course.
An Post has launched 'Community Focus' across Ireland and some of our English students have taken advantage of this service by writing letters to residents in different nursing homes all over Westmeath. So far we have sent 218 letters and we plan to continue with this initiative after the Mid-Term break. Well done to all involved!
We are also starting a new German lunch club. Please feel free to join!
Preparations for the reopening of Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan are near completion. In response to Government guidance and Covid-19 policy we have:
- Reconfigured our timetable
- Reconfigured our classrooms to enable physical distancing
- Repurposed our communal areas
- Installed protective screens
- Installed a Covid-19 Emergency Sick Bay
- Incorporated a one-way system throughout the interior of our school
- Incorporated walking lanes outdoors
- Installed signage, floor decals, and outdoor graphics
- Installed sanitising stations
- Installed new methods of waste disposal
- Conducted a deep clean
- Established new hygiene policies and procedures
- Established new break and lunch-time procedures
We have made our school as safe as possible for our students and staff, yet the warmth of our environment still remains! We are really looking forward to welcoming all students back to our school, starting with First Years on Wednesday September 2nd 2020.