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St. Cecilia's Autumn Newsletter

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 1 | P a g e A new chapter for the school Cover designs by Lily McCool 10Hope Welcome year 8 Sister Clare, an inspiration

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 2 | P a g e Welcome back everyone! Our 1st edition of 2022-23 school year of St Cecilia’s News is packed! Behind the scenes our writers have been working hard to suss out stories, find the hot topics and bring you an even more packed newsletter than last time. We welcome our new principal, Mrs O’Carolan, we say hello to our new year 8 girls in green and lots more. We hope that you have had a ‘Spook’tacular Halloween and have enjoyed plenty of frightening fun! Remember to get in touch if you have any ideas for our next issue in Spring! Mrs Brady, Literacy Co-Ordinator Sarah Molloy and Jodie-Lee Kennedy Senior editors Orlaigh Wilson, Eirinn McGilloway and Áine Williams Junior Editors

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 3 | P a g e Welcome to our new principal Mrs O’Carolan was appointed as new principal of St Cecilia’s College in June 2022. Mrs O’Carolan shared this message with us. It is my honour and privilege to be appointed as the new principal of St Cecilia’s College. Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to the many achievements of the outgoing Principal, Martine Mulhern. She has been a support and mentor to me since I joined the school community as V.P in 2019. Martine's dedication, sincerity, integrity and commitment to the girls have been an inspiration. She will be greatly missed. However, I feel confident that as the new Principal of St Cecilia's, I stand on solid foundations, surrounded by a thriving community as the school writes its next chapter. It goes without saying that St Cecilia’s College is at the heart of the local community, and I look forward to working collaboratively with the pupils, their parents and all those organisations who do so much to enrich the experience of our pupils academically, spiritually and emotionally. The last few years have been extremely challenging for us all. Therefore, my priorities will be to continue to support the health and well-being of the students, further develop the curriculum to suit the needs of all learners, whilst, fostering in our girls the desire to reach their full educational potential.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 4 | P a g e Never mind Derry girls, St Cecilia's girls are unique: fun, creative, kind, but most of all full of immense talent. I will do my utmost in the coming years to ensure that this talent continues to be nurtured in all who attend St Cecilia’s College. I am blessed to have an excellent staff and I will be drawing on their expertise and support in the months and years ahead to ensure St Cecilia's College remains a welcoming and vibrant educational community. I would like also to acknowledge the work of our Board of Governors. The Governors give so generously of their time to ensure the highest standards of education is delivered in the school, while the positivity, hard work and the generosity of all the staff within St Cecilia’s has been a revelation. The warm ethos of the school springs entirely from their commitment. Finally, I wish to say that I relish the opportunity of working within this wonderful community of people as the new principal and will work hard to ensure St Cecilia's College remains an outstanding educational community.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 5 | P a g e Welcome Year 8 In September St Cecilia’s welcomed a new crop of girls in green into year 8.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 6 | P a g e Letters to Primary school Having settled in well, our new year 8s were delighted to reflect on their experiences so far in letters to their old primary schools…

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 7 | P a g e

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 8 | P a g e Home place Mrs Toye’s creative writing club were very busy bees last term and entered a competition in conjunction with Ulster University and Seamus Heaney’s Homeplace. Have a look at what home means to them… Home As the cloud of foaming fog comes rolling over the hill, A sparkling light dazzles my eyes as hexagon shaped rocks, piles together sat like a snapshot in time from years ago, a mathematical problem gone wrong, Turned into paradise on earth. As Finn McCool, a childhood story, still rocks in my brain as I climb over the pillars of power that patch tighter in a clockwork pattern. As I look up, I see the seagulls soaring through the sky and little children trotting and hopping down the road. As the parents click their phones taking pictures collecting memories to last forever. All my problems disappear, and I can feel my heavy weight on my shoulders lift off. I feel free. This is my eighth wonder of the world right in my back garden. The Giant’s Causeway. Home. By Faye Leonard My Home Place My home place is as green as the Emerald Isle. The city tells its own tale, It doesn’t need a narrator. If you listen closely the walls speak for themselves. The history behind the city of green and How it came to be. As you walk through the town you can almost hear the stories, You can see how much has changed but The past remains the same. As you look around the captivating surroundings All you can see is the glimmering green of the grass and trees Yet you could stare at it for hours on end. This is Derry City. This is my Home Place. By Angel Williams

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 9 | P a g e My Home Place When I think about Derry I think about History and the men out fighting war. I feel trembling shivers down my spine Like the demolished streets. Derry is an interesting city. We have museums, walls and memorials. Derry is a place where everybody cares about each other Regardless of gender, size/shape or colour of skin. From our older citizens to young, We all believe in supporting each other. I can’t imagine being from anywhere else. I love Derry and I am thankful to be from here. By Niamh Doherty My Home Place Most people consider their home to be a place. But when I think of Derry, It doesn’t quite resonate with me. I consider my home to be people. I feel most content when I’m with my friends; An example of this is my friend Liam. Liam has always made me feel loved, He accepts me for who I am. I never have to hide what I’m like around Liam. I’ve never felt uncomfortable with him. Therefore, I don’t see or feel the need to call my home a place When I feel just at home with people like Liam. By Farrah Nixon My Home Place When I'm cold and alone there is always a place I can call home, When I'm scared and I don't know where to go, There is always a warm glow welcoming me back home. Happiness so loud that you can hear it from a mile away, The sound of small giggles coming from my sister, The sweet smell of homemade food, so inviting like a moth to a flame. My mum, a great soul she has, so bright it could blind the blind, Keeping my home safe, intriguing, and welcoming to all, Keeping my four walls of brick, a protection from all the cruelties of the world. By Cara-Leigh Doherty

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 10 | P a g e Brandywell The Brandywell, the place where I call home, I go out to the street with friends, the streets I love to roam. As I sprint down to the shop, to buy sweets and ice-pops, The lady says “Hello.” “Nice to see you!” I reply, my smile I love to show! I walk up the grassy green banking and see girls in their pyjamas, and on them, I see blue and white, with fuzzy pink llamas! I walk past the grotto and hear seagulls squawking in the air. The men in there, picking the weeds, oh, the ground looks so bare! I love to hear the children screaming with joy! They love to hide and chase each other, oh, all those girls and boys! That’s my home, the Brandywell! I love it! Isn’t it just swell! Eirinn McGilloway year 9 Home Place By Branagh Rice Year 11 As I stride up the walkway to the fort that is bound in time, Its walls shelter me from the sunset’s golden glow. As I pass through the entry of the fort Its ancient stones speak to me as if they are trying to a story. I climb up the rickety steps placing one foot in front of the other And finally I hoist myself up to the top. I stand with my hair in the wind, the cool breeze in my face, The view looks like an oil painting. I take a photograph to make the memory last forever. I look out at the sunset. It is like a fiery kiss to the night. The tiny towns in the distance make my problems seem so far away. I am overwhelmed by a sense of tranquillity. I feel alive. This is home, Grianan Fort.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 11 | P a g e Speaking up Kelsi Clarke, 11 Peace, considers what it means to be a girl in today’s world… When a boy admits that sharp knives have pierced his young heart that was once filled with joy, he is loved unconditionally. The help that he needs is served to him on a silver platter and you know what? He does deserve this. He is a human in this world in a generation that is filled with conflict, competition and comparison. Yet when I speak up, I’m just an attention seeker with hormones. Let me tell you who I really am. I am the perfectly imperfect daughter who doesn’t know who they are. I know what you’re thinking…I’ll figure things out when I’m older. Then tell me why there are one in five teenage girls struggling with a mental health disorder. Yeah! There are a lot of us fighting for our lives. Self-harm is stupid? Do you want to know what is stupid? Hurting someone emotionally to the point where they think self-harm is their only answer. It has been scientifically proven that girls in this generation alone allow their feelings to take over and pull them out of reality, we honestly deserve a Grammy for the talented act we pull off! Oh, but don’t worry this is just my hormones! When I cry I hide it. I want to seem strong, yet I am so angry that no-one even notices how I really feel. One minute it is 9am and the next it is 3pm. Half of my day wasted scrolling on my phone. I might as well waste the rest of it. This lifestyle is weighing me down. I am an anchor rotting at the bottom of the ocean. Oh, don’t worry, this is just a phase! You know what? I do not care who I lose anymore, as long as I don’t lose myself. I do not act the way I do because of my hormones. None of us deserve to be put in this situation just because in some eyes we are pathetic damsels in distress with raging hormones. Thank you for listening to me. There are a lot of us fighting for our lives. None of us deserve to be put in this situation just because in some eyes we are pathetic damsels in distress with raging hormones. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article you can seek support for your mental health by speaking to a trusted adult or looking online at

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 12 | P a g e Sister Clare Crockett – An Inspiration to me and other Young People! Bella Nociarova-Russell 10 Peace recently delivered a heartfelt account of how she has been inspired by past pupil, the late Sister Clare Crockett. Sister Clare never waited to do anything. She just did it. I procrastinate a lot, especially whenever it comes to homework, so remembering that Sister Clare acted whether it was an enjoyable task or not inspires me to do the same. It is helping me a lot because I try to do my homework when I come in from school instead of leaving it until later. I am under less stress and my parents do not have to deal with me staying up late to finish schoolwork. Sister Clare was always positive and never worried. She let God resolve her problems. The Bible says, ‘Faith without work is death.’ Everyone stresses out over things, big and small, but sometimes it’s good to relax a bit. I’m certainly not perfect but I’m trying to apply the, ‘glass half full,’ attitude to my life with God’s help just like Sister Clare did. She was always so joyful and I want to be the same and not complain about silly things. I try now to live with a grateful heart and count my blessings. Sister Clare always helped people, even if it interfered with her own plans. She was humble, selfless and the best version of herself. My parents are very busy and give their all to me and my younger brother. Sister Clare helped me realise that I should repay them by helping out at home whenever I can. Seeing how much she did for others made me understand just how selfish I can be. I’m finding being selfless difficult. I try to help out more and I am praying to Sister Clare to help me with it.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 13 | P a g e I, like most people my age, am trying to figure out what career I want to pursue in the future. Sister Clare showed me, that you can be a, ‘modern disciple’. She showed me that being a nun isn’t a job left in the past. Sister Clare is someone for me and other girls to look up to, instead of celebrities, money, make-up, and technology. She wanted to be famous when she was young. She has completed her dream, however, instead of becoming another false idol or generic actor advertising products, she has made an impact by pointing others to God and His goodness. She has shown me that a good life is a life led by God and guided by the Holy Spirit. In a world that tells me fame, power and money are all that matters, Sister Clare is an inspiration to be who God created you to be and to please God in all that you say and do. Sister Clare went to Spain originally to become a nun and had to learn Spanish from scratch. She showed me that it is important to grow as a person and have new challenges to make life interesting. I learn Spanish on my own and at times of low motivation while learning the language, I try to complete at least one more lesson for Sister Clare. Sister Clare’s famous motto is, ‘All or nothing!’ I do not want to look back on my life and wish I did more. So, I will do more. I’ll give my all in everything whether it’s praying, having fun, studying or helping others. Sister Clare was always kind and loving. I’ve been trying to think about what I say before I speak and to be more patient with people. I’m trying to help when people need it. Mrs Mulhern, our old school Principal’s, motto is to “be kind in what you say, what you do, what you write and what you post.” This is a constant reminder to me that like Sister Clare’s kindness is an important quality and it must be practised so it can grow in your heart.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 14 | P a g e Like me, Sister Clare was a Saint Cecilia’s girl. She is a treasure to our school, and she inspires me to do the best I can in school. To put my head down and focus, to be kinder to teachers and students, to give my heart and soul in work and to be proud of the school I represent. We believe in Saint Cecilia’s that Sister Clare is always looking after us, praying for us and guiding us on the right path towards Jesus. Sister Clare dedicated her entire life to Jesus and to drawing young people to Christ. She ran summer camps, organised pilgrimages, spoke at chapels, and went to various countries to teach children about Jesus. Sister Clare has left a legacy that won’t be forgotten. A lot of her influence is online, and her teachings and accomplishments are documented. Many young people nowadays are on internet and so they could find Sister Clare. It would be the nudge some young people need to bring them closer to God and perhaps affect them and the outcome of their lives. Sister Clare is a positive role model who can still inspire young people to change for the better through her selflessness. I pray to Sister Clare for guidance on my faith journey. In the Sister Clare documentary, it says that she had great zeal for exposing lies sold to Christian young people. I want to avoid as many of these traps as possible. I would like to finish with a quote from a letter Sister Clare wrote to a young person. She said, “I’ve said this to you many times: “It’s all or nothing, kiddo.” Of course, you can’t do this by yourself, ask Him for help, and don’t say that you can’t pray, believe or whatever, when in reality the fact of the matter is you’re too afraid or too lazy. You know you need Truth; you know you need God.”

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 15 | P a g e A Prayer to Sister Clare Prayer to Sister Clare Celebrating excellence in St Cecilia’s

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 16 | P a g e Mrs Barber reflects on what makes St Cecilia’s Pastoral care so good… In St. Cecilia’s College we are blessed with so many good teachers. Great teachers! Our special ethos means that we put our children – you – at the heart of every decision we make. We often talk about the importance of being a ‘pastoral’ school and you will hear this word used often. Do you know what Pastoral Care means? The dictionary tells us that pastoral has two meanings: land used for the keeping or grazing of sheep or cattle. "scattered pastoral farms” or in the Christian Church - concerning or appropriate to the giving of spiritual guidance, "Pastoral and doctrinal issues." In St. Cecilia’s College, as a Catholic school, we see pastoral care as a blend of both. We take great pride in how well we look after our flock, and how well we guide you through your time with us. Whilst all our staff are pastoral, for some it is central to their role, “Pastoral care is St. Cecilia’s College is more than just a policy or a job title, it is the rich vein of kindness that pervades every decision and interaction within the school. Our Catholic ethos and the fact that staff go over and above for the pupils in their care. To celebrate these staff, we recently nominated them for the UK Pastoral Care in Education Awards! You can imagine how proud we “A good education can change anyone; a good teacher can change everything.”

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 17 | P a g e are that so many have been shortlisted! Here is a list of those shortlisted with a little excerpt from their nominations: Mrs Catherine Currie, finalist in the category ‘Pastoral Leader of the Year’ “Mrs Currie is our children’s champion, ensuring that all our pupils have the best chance of securing an excellent education regardless of their background. Catherine is always very clear as to how we can go some way to alleviating any challenges. She highlights the value and importance of relationships and maintains that no significant learning can occur without a significant adult in school. She role models this for all staff.” Miss Niamh O’Sullivan, finalist in the category ‘Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care’ “Some jobs are just more difficult than others. In a school the Designated Teacher for Child Protection has to be one of the most challenging. In St. Cecilia’s College we are blessed to have Ms Niamh O’Sullivan head up our child protection team. Niamh embodies all that our most vulnerable pupils need. She is kind, resilient, driven, protective, welcoming and persistent. She is a role model and a safe haven, a trusted adult and a soft landing.”

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 18 | P a g e The Pastoral Forum, finalist in the category ‘Pastoral Team of the Year’, influences every aspect of school life; making St. Cecilia’s a focused, caring and happy community in which all our girls can flourish. The beating heart of this ethos is the pastoral forum. This consists of our Heads of Year, SENCo, Designated Teacher and senior team. This interdisciplinary team of dedicated professionals offer a holistic approach to caring for our most vulnerable students. Every layer of support is identified and provided to meet as many needs as possible.” On the 7th of October Mrs Currie and Miss O’Sullivan travelled to England to represent the school at the award ceremony. Whilst we didn’t win any of the top prizes on the night, we were delighted to be recognised as amongst the best in the UK in pastoral care. Congratulations! St Cecilia’s Pastoral Team

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 19 | P a g e Classroom of the Future By Orlaigh Wilson 9 Courage 1 Classroom of the Future Last term some girls were involved in a competition in conjunction with The Irish News Young reader’s project. They had to outline their ideas about what classrooms in the future might be like… Orlaigh Wilson wrote: In the future, the classroom will change, reflecting social and technological changes in our society. In the future, a great layer of information and varieties of technology will be available, so the classroom of the future is a virtual classroom: e-classroom and e-learning. In contrast, to the modern education system, where the Internet is used as a supportive context for extending student inquiries, in the future, the Internet and Intranets will be used as a core of education and learning. Wireless, seamless networking of devices as disparate as mobile phones, PCs, personal organizers, and televisions will be the norm, and the expectation will be that this works well and that it happens as if by magic. Access will be everywhere, at home, in the workplace, on holiday or in both public (public sites will vary from Internet cafes to public libraries) and private (home access, subscriber clubs) (Sanchez 2007). It will be as ‘natural’ for students to access information as it is for us to access electricity!

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 20 | P a g e The Underground subway Maxine Murray 10 Faith I am Lily McGuire, and I am trapped underground in an abandoned subway but first I need to tell you how I got myself stuck in this situation. It all started when I was walking my dog, Jack, and if you really knew me, you know I would obviously go exploring in the process. So yesterday we went exploring down this winding road when it started to get narrow and narrower until I came to a big metal door. I opened it and walked in, straight after I got in the door, it slammed straight behind me. I tried and tried to open the door, but nothing happened it just stayed there and laughed in my face. I’ve been here for twenty-nine hours now and counting. I’ve made a bed sort of thing and a fire with some branches that have been lying here but I’ve never wanted to be in my nice, warm and cosy bed more. I really miss my family especially my mother, she is always there for me, but where is she now when I need her the most? My mother, father and siblings probably will have people searching for me, but I doubt that they will find me, I mean I’m surprised that I found it to be honest. BANG!!!!! What was that? I said to Jack, and I didn’t get a reply saying as he is a dog but he did bark and to me he said we should go explore it so I will. I walked around the subway, well most of it, until my feet started to get sore. As I turned around to go back to where the bed and fire is, I saw like a ghostly figure, but I thought it was my imagination because of the lack of sleep. I’ve now been stuck here for thirty-seven hours I haven’t eaten in a full day, but I have been drinking bottles of water that I found and thankfully they’re in date. After all this was a subway, it must’ve been like a bunker for someone…maybe? I don’t know. It feels like I’ve been here forever! It’s been two days and no one has found me here, so I figured to go back to the door to try and get it open. This time the door still didn’t move so I tried and tried until there was no more strength in my body. Will I ever see the light of day again?

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 21 | P a g e Mrs Brady’s year 9 English class were delighted to welcome the MakeyUppers to the classroom at the beginning of October as part of the Spread the Word Literary festival. Sorcha Shanahan and Gemma Walker-Farren are the ‘MakeyUppers, an original comedy storytelling act. They use their skills as performers, facilitators, and theatre makers to create dynamic and involving storytelling. They aim to engage their audiences in experiences that are multi-layered, highly enjoyable. 9C had great fun thinking up and creating interesting characters, they ‘walked in their shoes’ for the session. Serious Eejits The ‘MakeyUppers’ advertise themselves as, 'Serious Eejits'. They perform multi-disciplinary, high-energy, comedy shows as well as interactive, intergenerational storytelling workshops, a range of walkabout characters and bespoke workshop/performance packages for community and corporate events. 9C were delighted to create stories using props and their ideas created enough material for a long running soap opera!

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 22 | P a g e Loftus Hall Sorcha O’Doherty in 9C has a keen interest in historical buildings. Here she writes about the history of Loftus Hall. The history of Loftus Hall, a large mansion found along the Hook Peninsula, going back through the centuries. The original hall was built in 1350 by the Redmond family during the time of the Black Death. It was known as Redmond Hall until the 1650’s when it was given to the English Planters – The Loftus Family – and from then on was named Loftus Hall.The building standing right now, today was heavily renovated between 1872 and 1879 in preparation for a visit from her Majesty Queen Victoria. The visit never happened, and the Loftus family were left with huge debt following the major work carried out on the building. The last of the surviving Loftus Family sadly passed away back in 1890 and the bankrupt estate was put up for sale. Over the later years, the building served as a home for the Benedictine nuns, a school for girls run by The Sisters of Providence and event at one point was called ‘The Loftus Hall Hotel’ which closed in the early 1900’s. Once upon a time... According to legend, the mansion is haunted by both the devil and by the ghost of a young woman. The building passed through many different hands over the years, but the curious tale begins while it was occupied by The Tottenham family in 1766. Lord Tottenham married a woman called Anne Loftus, and the couple had two

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 23 | P a g e children; Elizabeth and Anne. While their children were still quite young, Anne Loftus Senior became ill and died. The arrival of a stranger During this time, many ships landed on the shores of the Hook peninsula, and it was customary for those on the ships to take shelter from storms at the great hall. It was in the midst one such storm that a ship pulled into Slade Harbour and a stranger from the ship made his way to Loftus Hall, where he allowed to stay. On this occasion, the storm thundered on for days, if not weeks, which meant that the stranger continued to stay on at the house. Lady Anne Tottenham, now a young woman, became close to the visitor during the storm, and they spent many hours chatting together in The Tapestry Room. Cards in the storm During the evenings, the mansion’s various inhabitants used to sit around and play cards. One evening, as a game was in full swing, Lady Anne dropped a card. As she leaned down to pick it up, her eyes fell upon a cloven hoof, and she began to scream. The stranger from the ship whom she had become close to was exposed as The Devil. He immediately disappeared through the roof in a large ball of fire, leaving those present shocked and terrified, and Lady Anne in a traumatised state, from which she would never recover. The ghost of Loftus Hall According to legend, the family grew embarrassed by her state, and decided to lock her away in the same room where she had spent so much time with the stranger. She stayed in that room until she passed away in 1775, and it is from then that her ghost is said to have begun to haunt the house.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 24 | P a g e You will find Loftus Hall on west of the wild Hook Peninsula. It is a 15-minute drive from Fethard-On-Sea, a 35-minute drive from New Ross and a 1-hour drive from the City of Waterford. Ghost Photos There have been several photos of ghosts taken there over the past years. One of the most notable was taken by an English visitor called Thomas Beavis which appears to show the ghost of a woman stood in a doorway. The Loftus Hall ghost story has been doing the rounds for many years and it sounds remarkably like the story behind the Hellfire Club in Dublin. It involves a weary traveller, a game of cards and the Devil. Sadly, like many attractions in Ireland, Loftus Hall closed to visitors in 2020. However, it never re-opened and it was put up for sale by its owners who bought it originally in 2011.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 25 | P a g e This year’s junior Head girl and Deputy Head girl have recently been selected. St Cecilia’s News caught up with Clodagh Harkin 10G and Cailin McCartney 10C to hear about what these roles mean to them. I applied for Deputy head girl as I wanted to give something back to my school and look at ways of making school life better for all pupils. From the moment I first came to see St. Cecilia's when I was still in primary school, I knew it was the school for me. I remember leaving and my mum asking me what I thought about going there and I said, “Yes, I felt like I would really fit in and feel like part of the St Cecilia's family.’ I decided to apply for deputy head girl as I thought it would give me good experience filling in an application form and also doing an interview. I am hoping the role will help me develop my communication, teamwork and organisational skills, while also helping to listen to the voice of other pupils to try and create change. By Cailin Mc Cartney When I heard the news that the school were picking a head girl for junior school, I knew I wanted to apply. Being head girl means leading the school positively and trying to bring new ideas to change the school. All throughout my life I always loved helping others, so I thought I’d fit this role very well. Before the application forms came out, a lot of teachers and friends encouraged me to go for it. I feel like this gave me more confidence to do it. I feel like this was the key reason to why I applied. Going through the interviews was very nerve wrecking, yet I knew I had some good points and ways to improve the school. When waiting for the end results the anxiety was rushing through my body, yet when Mr McMenamin told me I got me. I was so happy and pleased with myself. I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me go for this role and I’m so excited to be junior head girl here at St Cecilia’s. By Clodagh Harkin

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 26 | P a g e Fantastic Fieldwork The COVID pandemic put paid to many activities in recent years. For the Geography department in St Cecilia’s, not getting to do field work was a huge disadvantage. This year Mrs Rainey and Mrs Talbot seized the opportunity to take year 12 girls to Magilligan Field centre as part of GCSE Geography. Hannah Stewart in 12 Hope told us more, “I attended the field trip on September 29th. We visited different points of the Curly Burn River to study elements such as width, bedload size, depth and much more. Not only was learning about the river so interesting, but our guide Michael was good at keeping us all engaged. He regaled us with stories of sites such as the Cushy Glen Highwayman at the now infamous Murder Hole. Residential The food in the residential building was amazing. We had so much fun playing pool in the recreation room. I’d love to be able to visit again. It was such a positive experience and even the weather was kind to us…unlike the second group who had to battle the elements.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 27 | P a g e Picture Parade

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 28 | P a g e Created by Eirinn McGilloway Just for fun Pumpkin Witch Costume Cat Skeleton Treat Trick P H H A L L O J M W T U S K E L E T O N B G M T R E A T i P J S K P C R E E P Y K E P Q K J B C F M W I T C H I O T L K T R I C K Y N A A X C O S T U M E B I C

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 29 | P a g e Spooky Tales English teacher, Mrs Wakeley is a keen writer. During the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 she used her free time to create an anthology of short stories. She has shared this spooky story with us at St Cecilia’s News. Enjoy! The Stone It was a usual type of day for this time of the year, grey, dull, and damp and foreboding. Every year had been the same, but this year was definitely different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I could just - feel it! Halloween was my favourite time of the year. I loved the hustle, the bustle, the costumes, the colours and not forgetting the parade. The parade was always brilliant. I remember my parents taking me up town every year, dressed up of course, to see the ghostly goings on in the fair city; Legenderry. I was an October baby, so the spooky season resonated with me more. This was MY day. This year was different. I could feel a chill wind blowing through my bones, whispering in my ears, making my skin prickle and bubble like someone was walking over my grave. Ah yes, the grave... It had begun last night. The only word to describe it honestly is haunting. I’d drank the hot, creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows before hopping into my warm-as-toast bed dreaming of the parade and my amazing new costume. Suddenly, I bolted upright in my bed! The sleep making my sight blurry and unfocused. What was that? My bedside light was off. Strange. I always slept with the light on giving me that extra feeling of security

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 30 | P a g e and protection. Bizarre really! The mind conjures up all sorts of weirdness in the black inkiness of the night. Rubbing my eyes, I felt around in the dark for the switch...a cold breath stroked my arm. My heart lurched into my throat; the tattoo beat of my heart banging against my ribs. Something was in the room with me! I was inclined to dive under the duvet like a five-year-old and cry out for my mum. “Catch yourself on Jamie.” my voice seemed muffled and so unlike me. “Hello is someone there?” I trembled. I’d watched enough Hollywood horror movies to know the rote – lights, shout and run, but my legs were too heavy to move. Bizarre! “Oh God no, what was that?” Like a cat I rotated my head from side to side. “What was that?” My already heightened sensations peeled slowly away as I picked out the dimmest of flickers in the direction of my wardrobe. The merest hint of cat's eyes extinguished slowly before me. I could feel my breath swelling my lungs as I battled to control my burgeoning anxiety. A soft thud at the bottom of my bed and I was rigid with fear. I opened my mouth to scream but this time there was no response. The intense fear seemed to freeze my instincts to fight or flight. A pathetic “eek” escaped from my mouth, my only response, as I felt the duvet being dragged off my stone-cold body. Eyes, heart, ears pounded me. I was trapped but by what? Earlier that afternoon my mammy and daddy had taken me to the graveyard to visit my granny’s grave. I know a weird family excursion on the 31st of October, but that was the day she had ‘thrown off her mortal coil’, so my birthday was a double whammy – birth and death all rolled into one great human cycle. However, for me I felt no grief as I’d never met her as she had died the day I was born. I suppose I should be more sympathetic but my disconnect was wrapped up in a teenage self-interest, so I had wandered off in search of adventure. That is when I had spotted the smooth jade marble stone. A lucky talisman I thought. Quickly I pocketed it, not thinking about where it had come from – I was too blind to acknowledge the respect you should have for the dead. I was soon to learn that my foolish mistake had consequences. Grave consequences!

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 31 | P a g e The wind howled outside my bedroom and the rain lashed at my windows creating a strange contrast to the deathly quiet of my room. As my duvet continued to move down towards the foot of my bed my addled brain started to fire up. If I couldn’t use my natural defences, I could use the next best thing...flee! The darkness in the room was like a shroud, a thick wall of confinement. As my instinct to survive beat stronger I leapt out of bed only to land with a thud on the carpet. “Crack.” I heard the snap in my ankle as pain seared my brain, and that is when I saw it! A dismembered arm. The blood-red veins raised against the gnarled grey crepe skin made me shudder. It crept along my duvet towards me. A luminous light guided this monstrosity as I sat paralysed with fear. Finally, it stopped as if it knew it had reached its destination...the jade talisman I had found in the graveyard. As my skin prickled with fear, I felt a cold whisper in my ear. “I want my stone.” The stench of this unholy voice made my stomach turn. “Argh!!!” the scream gurgled at the back of my throat first and then burst out of my mouth into the coddled atmosphere of my ghoulish nightmare. The lamp flew off my nightstand. Light assaulted my eyes as my parents banged into my bedroom, dishevelled by sleep and panic. “Oh, darling, you’ve fallen out of your bed.” cooed my mammy as she enveloped me in her warm, protective embrace. “You have knocked your night light off too. Come on back to bed.” I looked down and saw three long crimson scratches on my ankle. Blinking, I looked around the now illuminated room and towards my bedside locker. The jade stone had gone! Returned to its ghastly owner in the graveyard no doubt.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 32 | P a g e A True Story of the Banshee Orlaigh and Dearbhaile in 9 C were inspired by spooky myths from Ireland to create this story… Between fifteen and twenty years ago a lady named Christina from a Northern Irish Town called Derry heard the Banshee one cold, dark night. Christina went to bed and after a long sleep she was awakened by a noise. Her bedroom window so dark. It faced down to the Irish Town, Derry. When she woke up, she was dazed by sleep. She heard screams. At first, she thought it was the howling of the dogs as the screaming came closer it filled the whole vault of the heavens. Then suddenly it struck her that it was the Banshee. Christina got out of bed and went to the sister's room. She woke her sister and told her she had heard the Banshee. Then her sister Grace said, "Come on over to the window so we can see what she is like." But Christina did not go over. Grace looked out the window and she said: "That she’s alright." "What is she like?" Christina asked. The description she gave her was: at first, she looked like a huge, tangled ball of wool but as soon as she came nearer, she assumed a female form. After a time, she sat on the corner of the Banshee and started keening and combing her hair. Then she suddenly disappeared. That same night the Banshee was heard in Ryleen and in the Maudlins and on that very night a man named Mc Carthy died in the Maudlins. The sisters Christina and Grace was never heard from AGAIN ….... but some say that they see the girls who take form as a pair of wailing Banshees. Now their spirits loom in the house they used to live in. But it now, it has said that the Banshee follows families whose names begin with "O" or "Mac.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 33 | P a g e 100 years of the BBC St Cecilia’s played host to a special celebration to mark 100 years of the BBC. Pupils were treated to a private audience with Brooke Scullion. The Co. Derry native talked about her experiences on The Voice and how representing Ireland at this years’ Eurovision Song Contest have been highlights of her career so far. Career Scullion has been building her career and talked about the importance of keeping her feet firmly on the ground. She advised girls about the therapeutic side of writing songs and how her new E.P came from a dark time in her life. Scullion urged the audience to consider themselves as unique and spoke about how working with Megan Traynor had taught her valuable lessons about having confidence in her own abilities.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 34 | P a g e Brooke even offered a short rendition of, ‘In the Shallows’ a song made famous by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Stunning voice Scullion showcased her stunning voice and allowed pupils to ask questions. Her laid back attitude and humorous personality certainly entertained and inspired pupils. Young Reporter The BBC are looking for entries for their Young Reporter competition. Submissions can be on any topic and winning entrants will get their story turned into a short film clip that will be featured on the BBC’s The One Show. Check out the details online.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 35 | P a g e Year 14 Formal The highlight of the time students spend in St Cecilia’s College has to be the year 14 formal, held this year on 30th September 2022 in the City Hotel. Some of our upper-sixth formers who attended the formal have agreed to talk about it with me, junior editor Eirinn. Did you enjoy the formal? Aly O’Hagan told us, ‘I really enjoyed the time at the formal with my friends, teachers and the other girls.’ Lauren Nidochartaigh commented, ‘I really enjoyed the fun and I had a great time with my year group and seeing everyone dressed up was lovely.’ Alex Gill really had the best time with her friends and said, ‘I loved the music.’ While Teaghan Mullan responded, ‘I thought it was an enjoyable night, just to be around your school friends and teachers, and I had fun.’ For Hannah Gallagher the highlight of the evening was the awards, ‘They were funny and I enjoyed everyone taking part.’ Amy O’Hara felt that her friends were the most memorable aspect of the night. ‘I loved spending time with my friends and teachers outside of a classroom setting.’ If you could change one thing about this year’s celebrations, what would it be? Aly O’Hagan felt that she would like to see more teachers dancing and to have had disposable cameras at the table for the memories. Lauren Nidochartaigh pointed out that, ‘I would’ve liked there to be more food options.’ Teaghan Mullan observed, ‘I wish there could’ve been a photo booth could’ve been organised to capture more personal photos for the pupils.’

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 36 | P a g e Crochet Queens Since joining St Cecilia’s in year 8, Faith Divin has become a crochet queen! Her Halloween pumpkins were in big demand, and she is be found creating crocheted crafts every lunch time with Ms Cooper. Year 9 students love this popular the lunch club too and many are undertaking new projects like baby’s blankets. Come along and try it for yourself. Year 9 girls Annabel, Mollie and Caitlin. Year 9 crocheters Orlaigh and Dearbhaile

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 37 | P a g e Just for laughs What do you call a sheep with no legs? A Cloud What did the ocean say to the beach? Nothing, it just waved. Why are giraffes so slow to apologise? It takes them a long time to swallow their pride. Why could the teddy bear not finish his dinner? He was stuffed. I’m afraid for the calendar…its days are numbered.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 38 | P a g e Book Week NI In St Cecilia’s we recently celebrated Book Week NI. Two year 8 groups were lucky to be able to visit the lovely Creggan library during their English lessons. Free of Charge Librarian, Glen Foley greeted the groups with a wealth of information about what the local library has to offer. He stressed that everything on offer was free of charge and that the environment will be very supportive of young people as they navigate their studies.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 39 | P a g e The Poetry of Place Year 10 have been studying Irish Poetry in English. Inspired by poems about place by Yeats, Boland, Campbell and Edgar, Shannon Mooney got creative and penned this poem inspired by the landmark, the Peace Bridge. The Peace Bridge Tick tock, Tick tock This is the time, this is the hour The layers of putty clouds coat the horizon Not a single pale blue on show The sun lathered by clouds Sinking into the fog. Chirp, chirp, chirp chirp, Birds sing in an angelic melody. Humming contrasts with their sweet song. Their hums soothe me. Soothe me into a long trance. Woosh, swish, woosh, swish Air breezes against my face, A welcoming. I shudder, cold and frozen. Here is where I stand. The tall, towering buildings Loom over me, massive and intimidating A large clock shinning with the time. Crowds gather like a herd The early bird takes a leave The silence echoes into a hoard of screams I have taken my stay The time is near The time to make my way.

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4th Edition Autumn 2022 40 | P a g e Halloween Howl St Cecilia’s College knows how to throw excellent Halloween parties. This year was no different. Day 1 saw neighbouring primary schools invited to get a taste of what the school has to offer. The MPH was transformed with spooky decorations, games and activities for the primary 7 girls to get involved in. Day 2 offered our own year 8 girls the chance to have a proper fancy dress disco. Treats, sweets, and prizes were on offer to all. The pumpkin competition was another example of how creative St Cecilia’s staff and students are! The standard was outstanding. Pumpkins were carved, accessorised and generally transformed. The ladies in the office stole the top spot in the staff competition and Mr Lafferty and Miss Nash came in second and third respectively. Well done to all!

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