Class 1N had fun on Friday before their dreaded history archaeology test with our new replica helmets from ancient history. Through our Schools Completion Project we were able to purchase a Roman Centurion Helmet, A Norman Helmet, A Medieval Knights Helmet and a chain mail hood.
Wearing these replica’s gives an insight into the lives of these warriors from the past. We are planning to enter the J.C.S.P Write a Book Competition this year with a Top Trumps style investigation to find the most lethal warrior from history.
Bro. Fred took some photos and we had prizes to award Jake Quinlivan, Angel Finnerty and Abbey McAnaspie Clarke for the Time Travel in History Project.
The final challenge for Friday was the class test. The test included a question on archaeology and made the class reflect back on their own excavations of two skulls from the previous week.
There was great excitement at these findings among the dirt and worms but on closer inspection it was discovered that they were from Dunnes Stores and not ancient remains after all. A sigh of relief was heard and the clean up began before the bell.
Ms. Morgan, the school Guidance Counsellor, organised an induction programme for our the latest members of our school community Class 1L, 1,R and 1N on their first days in the school. They are now beginning the process of settling into their new school. They have new routines, new lockers and new subjects and the Senior Prefects have been guiding them as they find their way around the great circular corridor that is St. Laurence College.
Bro. Fred has taken their photos and made them laugh and smile. They have visited the High Crosses at Tully and enjoyed the September sun and ‘time out’ of lessons for this very important tradition.
As Autumn begins and Summer weather returns we had time this year to do what children did in the good auld days! We picked blackberries from the ditches. It was a fitting activity, even for a short time, to remember Seamus Heaney who passed away the same week.
Click on the link blackberries to hear Seamus Heaney recite this poem.
Mr. Colhoun recently presented prizes to a number of students who won competitions for haiku poetry and six words stories as part of our St. Valentine’s Week celebrations.
For the Show Racism the Red Card Competition 2013 students were asked to look at ways to challenge discrimination within different subject areas. Mr. Doran in R.E and Ms. Joyce in Art completed a cross curricular project with class 4L who reflected on the values we learn about and live out in St. Laurence College.
The graffiti mural is hanging in A4 and the Ship Rech is on display in the library.
The following is the explanation that accompanies the competition entry.
Background: Our entry is comprised of two murals. After completing lessons from the programme we looked at the values in our own school that could challenge discrimination and celebrate diversity in our community. Our school is also working towards a Yellow Flag and participating in the programme being run by the Irish Traveller Movement.
St. Laurence College is the only Marianist school in Ireland. The Society of Mary (The Marianists) was founded by Blessed William Chaminade after the French Revolution. The order eventually spread to America and we are part of an American province of schools. The Marianists have been in Ireland since 1967 and have served the communities of Loughlinstown and Ballybrack in that time. We are a D.E.I.S school and we are also in the R.A.P.I.D area of Loughlinstown and Shanganagh. There are a wide range of countries represented in our school population- U.S.A, Poland, Ukraine, India, Spain, Japan, Philippines, Somalia and Italy.
Our first mural has a yellow boat called the ‘Ship Rech.’ This is a pun on words as Bro. Fred Rech is one of the Marianist Brothers in our school and has taught almost every first year class in the school since 1970. He appears on the deck of the boat wearing his red rain jacket. Far from being a ship wreck this boat is actually a life boat. For over thirty years he has taught life lessons through his religious education class to all first years. His unique character, wisdom and style of teaching introduce our students to a value system that promotes togetherness and community. Each and every feature of these two murals is symbolic of the curriculum he teaches from September to Christmas in first year.
This life boat floats on the waves of the sea. In the sea are twelve fish. These bright fish represent the twelve apostles and the Gospel values that anchor our school. The ship has a captain that resembles a wise fisherman. One the very first day of class Bro. Fred gives every student a fisherman’s friend sweet to suck on. The purpose of this is to show that students that they are ‘all in the one boat’ so to speak. Some may like the taste and some may enjoy the hot, sour flavour but they will all have experienced it together. When our students reach their Graduation night they often reminisce about this simple lesson in togetherness.
The boat is pulling a smaller life raft. In this raft is Anne Frank. She is writing in her journal. Bro. Fred uses a 1970 Irish catechetical textbook with his students. The ideas of Vatican II (unity and togetherness) were still very new to Irish society then. This book introduces the students to Anne Frank as she writes about her first day at the Lyceum. Fred reminds the students that she is just like them. She felt ‘lonely and forsaken.’ When her friend Lies was finally transferred to her class she talks about the ‘sheer bliss’ of being with a friend.
In the boat holding a red flag for this competition is an astronaut. This green Irish astronaut represents the mission of Apollo 11 and the first steps of Neil Armstrong on the moon. Fred reminds the students of the 40,000 people involved in building the space craft and the 140,000 people involved in the flight mission. This mission was a ‘triumph of co-operation.’ For each first year class their education in St. Laurence College will have to be a shared responsibility. He helps the students to pray for this by reading Gordon Cooper’s famous words, ‘…help us to complete this mission successfully.’
But as we examine the life raft further we can’t but help to ask ourselves what else Anne might be writing in her diary. In Tales From Behind the House the following quote from Anne Frank appears: “How would it be if everyone who did anything asked himself first ‘why?’
As the boat moves in deep waters Fred helps the students to look at the deeper meaning of life and their place in their own worlds.
How are people different? – is a good question to ‘rock’ the boat! In the back of the raft is actually a punk rocker. Fred reads an article from a newspaper from the 70’s about punk culture and looks at the deeper meaning of being an individual.
And so we come to a music clash in the mural. While punk rock blasts from the raft, the more sombre notes of ‘I Am a Rock’ come from Simon and Garfunkel who are with Fred on deck. The character in the song has built a fortress for himself. No one can enter it. He finds security in the fact that a rock feels no pain. Fred plays this to his classes on cassette tape. He helps the students to figure out why friendship, security and belonging knock down the barriers that they might unwittingly build for each other going through their school days.
As the life boat and raft make their way along the ups and downs of the waves two doves hover overhead. The dove is a traditional symbol for The Holy Spirit. After Pentecost the disciples ‘pledged themselves to a new way of life based on love for all.’ With help from each of the characters in the boats our students can hopefully reach land where the spaceman can firmly put down his red flag claiming it as a land built on the value of togetherness.
Mural two features a graffiti wall and includes some of the same characters and symbolism from mural one.
In this mural the wall reminds us that strong foundations are important. Over time the wall has changed but the foundations remain the same. This wall symbolises our school. William Joseph Chaminade is painted in the centre. Over time several taggers have visited the wall. In the bottom left corner a boy’s head is bright and colourful. This is from a poem that Fred reads of the same name (A Boy’s Head- by Miroslav Holub translated from Czech by Ian Miller). The boys has a vivid imagination. He has a space craft and bumble bees in his imagination. There is so much promise the poem reads ‘in the circumstance that so many people have heads.’ As first year students encounter challenges and change during their school life the power of the imagination must be used to grapple deep questions.
In the top left corner there is an advertisement for a reading of the works of D.H Lawerence. Fred reads an extract from the famous story of the Morel family. He talks to each class about the value of family. As a Marianist school ‘family spirit’ is our most important value.
The idea of a wall is familiar to teens today as a personal wall to record comments on is an integral feature of Facebook and social media. On our wall lots of statements have been left- Jesus, a female punk rocker, Simon and Garfunkel and of course the infamous tagger in the mural Bro. Fred -reinvented for the twenty first century!
If our students can bring these life lessons and values into contemporary society I think Racism will definitely get the RED CARD!
By Mr. Doran
This year with Mid-Term break arriving early we celebrated Saint Valentine’s Day for a whole week!
Mr. Murray the JCSP Co-Ordinator and the D.E.I.S Literacy Team organised a week of activities within different subject areas to help our students with literacy skills and expand the curriculum.
One of the key features of the week was of course- The Love Mail Box. This box was put outside the school library and students could post Valentine’s Day cards to each other. Students were helped in English classes to write rhymes and love poems to design their cards. There were hearts on each classroom door. A quiz was held in R.E classes on the theme of love and students also explore the tragic love story of Samson and Delilah. Students were encouraged to write a Six Words Story on the themes of this Old Testament Classic.
One of Mr. Murray’s favourite paintings is Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Sir Frederic William Burton. This painting can be seen in the National Gallery of Ireland and was voted Ireland’s favourite painting last year. His own framed print of this national treasure was used in English classes as students composed Haiku poems about the story and also in history classes as students discussed the tragic relationship of the Danish princess and her body guard. Students wrote Six Word Stories about this painting and the atmosphere of the turret stairs.
This week gave a real lift to the school. January was a month of extremes in the weather and the colour, culture, competitions and fun during this week left us all on a high note going into mid-term break.