P6/7 have been learning about the Stations of the Cross and last week visited St Mary’s Church to complete some research as to what each of the 14 Station represents. They made some sketches whilst in the Chapel and these are put together in the video linked below as a reflection for everyone on this Good Friday, as we know many will not be able to visit the Church. We hope you enjoy and wish everyone a peaceful and happy Easter.
Did you know we have dragons in our hills, right here in the Ring of Gullion? Well we do, P6 have been learning all about them, (virtually) over the past 2 weeks from Josh. Josh works on the “Dragons in the Hills” project, a National Lottery funded Project looking at 3 of our native amphibians and reptiles: the common frog, common lizard, and smooth newt. Two of these species are designated priority species in Northern Ireland because of reported wide spread decline, yet, little is known of their actual distribution, or how they are faring in today’s fast changing world.
Josh took us on a virtual journey through the 3 animal groups: mammals, amphibians and reptiles their characteristics and examples from each group that we have here in the Ring of Gullion. The constant queue of virtual “hands up” to ask further questions demonstrated just how interested the children were in listening to Josh and learning more about our native species.
Josh was so impressed with the questions and follow-up discussion that he has suggested a 3rd session around habitats and conservation in Ireland, so P6 what do you think? Would you like another session?
He would also (whenever school returns and it is safe to do so), like to take us on a field trip!! To go hunting with him for lizards, netting ponds and handling (carefully of course), newts and frogs, whilst also learning more about the important habitats we have right here within our own Ring of Gullion. Well P6… who’s up for it?
Healthy Kidz remain committed to ensuring that all pupils remain active throughout the duration of the school closures by providing a vast array of content via their YouTube channel and various Social Media platforms, as well as free access to their revamped Healthy Kidz App for children to record their activity.
You are invited to sign up to the Global Challenge. Go to the Healthy Kidz website before next week’s Challenge begins (Monday 6th April). The link to sign up to this FREE initiative is https://healthy-kidz.com/healthy-kidz-global-challenge/. Previous usernames and passwords are not required. Many families connected to our school have already signed up and are taking part in this current week’s challenge.
Please also note that if a pupil manages to record a 7 day streak on the App, they will be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. This week’s winner will receive a Fitbit Advanced Health and Fitness Tracker, while next week’s prize will be a StatSports Apex Athlete Series GPS Performance Tracker (RRP £250).
Over mid-term Miss Crawley and Miss Mulkerns travelled to Damak, Nepal as part of our British Council, “Connecting Classrooms” Project. We would like to thank our host school, Jhapa Model English School, for the warm welcome and hospitality shown to our teachers. They were welcomed with traditional dance and presentations given by pupils, staff and the wider school community.
The focus of the Project are the 17, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular Goals 4: Quality Education and Goal 5: Gender Equality.
We were delighted to send a Mini-Sphero and Maze Map as gifts to our host school. Miss Crawley and Miss Mulkerns demonstrated to pupils and staff how coding could be used to develop thinking skills and creativity across the curriculum. The specially produced Maze Map has 10 embedded QR Codes, each of which uploads work completed on the project by each of the 10 Northern Ireland Schools, including our own.
In particular, we were delighted this year to have two local schools join us in our Cluster: St Patrick’s Primary School, and St Joseph’s High School, both Crossmaglen.
We were also delighted to have two past pupils travel to Nepal: Miss Olivia Mc Cann, St. Mary’s High School Newry, and Mrs Eimear Donnelly, St. Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen.
On Friday past, Primary 7 made the short trip to Kilcurry Church for a special mass to celebrate St Brigid’s Day. Pupils from the five schools of the three parishes in the PART (cluster) group attended the mass and it was a very special occasion. Thanks to the staff and pupils of Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Kilcurry who organised the mass.
After the mass, pupils ate their lunch in Kilcurry Resource Centre, before travelling on to St Brigid’s Shrine in Faughart for a guided tour. Thanks to Sheamus Ruddy for leading the tour and also to the Parish Council who organised the day out for our pupils.
On Friday our P6 girls visited Bagnell’s Castle in Newry to take part in one of the many 2020 “Herstory” events which are taking place across the country. Renowned storyteller Karen Edwards took the girls on a whirlwind tour with tales of some of the woman who shaped Irish history, from Warrior Queen Meabh, to Pirate Queen Grainne and Bride the bringer of Spring.
As an added bonus we were early for our slot and Museum staff told us about Newry in the past and the girls got to dress up in the style of the wealthy woman of Newry in the 1800’s!
Primary 7 visited Newry Leisure Centre this afternoon to take part in the 2020 “Bee Safe” event. This event is tailored towards P7 pupils and informs them about how to react and deal with challenging situations that they potentially may be faced with over the coming years, as they move on to their new schools.
Experts informed the pupils about the areas of Transport, Home Safety, Cyber Crime, Health & Well-being and Fire Safety. Thanks to Newry, Mourne & Down District Council for organising the event. Pupils were also provided with a healthy snack and received a goody-bag filled with stationary for their pencil cases. An afternoon well spent.
The P7 class and our school choir had a wonderful day in St John the Baptist Church, Drumcree in Portadown for the mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael Router, to mark the beginning of Catholic Schools Week 2020 in the Armagh Diocese.
It was a very special occasion, as a number of St Mary’s pupils were involved in the ceremony. The choir, led by Mrs Murphy and Mrs McCann, enriched the ceremony with their beautiful singing. The drew great appraisal for their performance from many people in attendance. Two P7 pupils carried forward an art canvas which a group of their classmates had created for the event. Another pupil brought forward a tree sapling to be blessed. This will be planted in the school grounds next week.
The theme was linked to “Living in Harmony with God’s Creation” and we look forward to examining this further next week and disseminating some of the key messages to the rest of the school.
Thanks to the organisers for the invitation to attend.
P1B had a brilliant day at the Bluebell Lane Santa Experience. We listened to stories read by Mrs Claus, met some of Santa’s elves, had hot chocolate and marshmallows, got a ride in Santa’s very special sleigh and we all got a present from Santa. Thanks to Sharon and Padraig for a very memorable experience and we are already looking forward to returning next year!
Another busy few days ahead for pupils and staff, before well deserved holidays on Friday… Here are a few key dates and times.
Monday, 16th December:
P1/2 Nativity Play- “Prickly Hay Nativity Hoedown” in Ti Chulainn @7.30 pm. All P1 and P2 pupils taking part to be in Ti Chulainn for 7 pm on the night.
Christmas Party Dinner- party food is on the menu at dinner and everyone can wear party/festive clothes if they wish. There will be a free raffle for all those taking dinner with prizes kindly donated by the kitchen staff.
Tuesday, 17th December:
P1/P2 Pupils’ Trip to Bluebell Lane, Santa Experience. Leaving school at 9.40 am they will return in time for school dinners. Festive wear is the order of the day: Christmas jumpers, Santa hats, but remember to wrap up well, a coat, scarf, gloves, an extra pair of socks and wellies would be recommended.
P3/4 Nativity Play- “An Irish Barnyard Christmas” @ 7.30 pm in St. Mary’s School Assembly Hall. Join P3 and P4 pupils as they tell a tale of an Irish Christmas, long ago.
Wednesday, 18th December:
P5’s turn this time, with their Nativity, “Peace on Earth”@ 10.30 am and again at 7.00 pm in St. Mary’s Church. All are welcome to come along and join with P5 as they tell the story of Christmas, but with a few updates of course!
Thursday, 19th December:
Nursery Trip- our Nursery Class are off to visit Santa- pupils will need to bring a packed lunch.
Hospice Presentation: Over the past weeks we have been collecting for the Southern Area and Children’s Hospices in memory of our former V.P. friend and colleague Mrs Anne Murphy, we hope to make the presentation on Thursday. We will let you know our final tally at that time.
St. Vincent de Paul- KS2 classes: P5, P5/6, P6 and P7 have also been collecting for St. Vincent de Paul and we will be purchasing gift vouchers for shops such as O’ Neill’s. The young people who receive these vouchers as their Christmas Presents, will then be able to choose sport’s wear of their choice. We hope also to have these ready to hand over on Thursday. We have asked each KS 2 child to make a small donation from their own money towards this worthy cause.
Friday, 21st December:
We will be closing at 11.30 on Friday, for our Christmas Holidays for a well- deserved rest for pupils and staff alike.
A big thank you to all our Parents and Friends of St. Mary’s for your support over what has been a busy term and in advance for your support at our many events this week. We hope you enjoy each and every performance and that they bring the true meaning of Christmas to life for everyone.
A very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year to all, from the Pupils and Staff of St. Mary’s.