We are half-way through another Drop Everything And Read week here at Franciscan College Gormanston. Everyday at 10:30 teachers are told to stop teaching and students are told to put away their work. All members of the school community take out a book and read for their own enjoyment.
Both students and staff really enjoy this week every year as it gives a short break from work to do something very pleasant and relaxing. Also, all members of the school community take part in this week with great enthusiasm because we fully recognise that reading for pleasure is proven to help improve students’ grades across all subjects.
A number of our students are very interested in graphic novels. They see them as a different way to enjoy narrative – one that has visual appeal to match the story itself. Like traditional novels, there are endless ways to categorise graphic novels. Today, Alex from 6th year spoke to some junior students in the library about the types of novel that he enjoys.
The first type he spoke about were manga – these are read from top to bottom and right to left in the traditional Japanese style. One of Alex’s favourites is ‘Death Note’.
He then went on to speak about superhero stories. This sparked the age-old debate of whether DC or Marvel is the better comic type. Alex’s favourite is the Marvel series, but needless to say, there was a lot of disagreement!
Many students had questions for him and everyone enjoyed sharing their own personal experiences.
We are very grateful to the parents who run the library at lunchtimes who allowed us to use this beautiful space for the talk.
Alex talking to some junior students.
Students listening to the talk about graphic novels.
Last Friday the two 6th year English classes pitted their debating skills against each other. The students in 6th year are highly experienced and accomplished debaters and we all knew that it was to be a very close battle. The motion for the debate was taken from the 2016 Leaving Certificate Higher Level exam paper: ‘Young people should travel and see the world before joining the workforce or furthering their education.’
Both teams delivered speeches that were well researched and backed up by plenty of factual data as well as personal anecdotes. They stood in front of their peers with confidence and spoke with passion. This made the job very difficult for the adjudicators; however after much deliberations it was decided that the motion was carried.
We look forward to more high quality debates during the rest of the year!!
Class 1A2 was hard at work before the mid-term break, writing about the enduring appeal of horror stories. They investigated why it is that we are drawn to this particular genre and what writers have made a name for themselves through writing stories filled with fear, suspense and tension. The students did some research on writers such as Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe and Derek Landy. A number of our students have a very particular interest in anime and they wrote about this in their project. Some students were even brave enough to write their own original poetry. Here are some samples of their work:
Last week was Space Week in the Library and here we can see some of our junior students with a display of books that are available.
Students have access to a wide range of books – both fiction and non-fiction. The library, run by the Parents’ Association, operates themed weeks during the course of the year. Be sure to pop in whenever you can to find out what is going on!
American singer-songwriter has today been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’. He is the first singer-songwriter to win the award and the first American to win since Toni Morrison in 1993.
He was born on 24th May 1941 in Minnesota and began writing and performing in his teenager years and has not stopped since.
Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sarah Danius, said later: ‘We we’re really giving it to Bob Dylan as a great poet – that’s the reason we awarded him the prize. He’s a great poet in the English tradition, stretching from Milton and Blake onwards. And he’s a very interesting traditionalist, in a highly original way. Not just the written tradition, but also the oral one; not just high literature, but also low literature.’
Author Salman Rushdie stated that he was delighted with Dylan’s win and said that his lyrics ‘had been an inspiration to me all my life since I first heard a Dylan album at school.’
Prof Seamus Perry, chair of the English faculty at Oxford University, compared Dylan’s talent to that of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, calling the songwriter ‘representative and yet wholly individual, humane, angry, funny and tender by turn; really, wholly himself, one of the greats’.
Author Joyce Carol Oates said there should be no question about Dylan’s work being considered literature, praising the academy’s ‘inspired and original choice’.
Not everyone was overjoyed by the announcement, however. Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, said that although he was a Dylan fan ‘this is an ill-conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies’.
First year students have been very busy already this year, writing poems on topics that are of personal interest to them.
One such poem was written by Ife Jawando on 28th September 2016 as part of Bullying Awareness Week in the school. Have a read of this thought-provoking piece of work:
I don’t know why I do what I do. But all you know is that people hate you. You try and try to change I take my anger out on the firing range.
I try to be a better person. But my situation finds a way to worsen. I hear all screaming and crying. If I said I was nice I’d by lying.
I get no attention at home. People wish I was sent away to Rome. Got a mum, but not a dad. She is always so sad.
They say my temper is a fad. I do not know why I get so mad.
This next poem was written by Ruairí Costigan on 30th September 2016. It is on the ever-present news topic of violence caused by drugs and gang feuds.
Bang bang he is dead, I wish we could’ve just broke bread. In these gang wars no one is keeping scores. For the battles I have fought My family are being sought. To them my kids’ lives do not matter; From them I only hear Sadistic laughter. Good men’s blood drips from tables: Because this job is dangerous but the income is stable. Good men’s blood drips from chairs: This could’ve stopped with warning flares. Good men’s blood drips from the wall: May name it seems to call. It’s a sweet adolescent sound telling me Civilians are buried underground. The voice is softly spoken – I reject it for my soul has been broken. Nothing to me is trustworthy; To my family I am unworthy. I’m now counting my days. I’m now a man that prays. I know my soul is diminished. I know my life is finished. And it’s all for fame and glory, This is how I must end my story. I am sorry for my family – to you I lied. I am sorry to the families of those who died. I am sorry to those I made join my side . . .
I’m sure you’ll agree that these are powerful and moving poem. They show the great potential that we have here in our First Year group – we shall be expecting a continuation of this high standard from them as the year progresses.
Connemara Community Radio Station has some excellent podcasts that will help you along with your revision. Be sure to listen with a pen and paper at the ready to write down all useful points of information. The series is designed with Leaving Cert students in mind – you are sure to find something that will be of use to you.