Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
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Extra-Curricular Activities

In Gaelic games teams competed in the Faul, the Ennis and Nolan Cups.

In hurling the College was represented in the Casement Cup, McGreevy Cup, Kirk Cup and McFarland Cup.

Senior and Junior teams also competed in Ulster Colleges’ camogie.  For the second successive year the Junior team reached the final of the Liatroim Fontenoy Cup and were again bitterly disappointed to be pipped in the final. 

The Gaelic season closed with the wonderful news that one of our pupils ,  still only a Year 12 pupil then, was selected as an Ulster Colleges’ Camogie All-Star.

In soccer, six teams competed in the Coleraine and District League, all competing strongly.  The senior team was narrowly defeated in the Morton Halifax Cup final. Two of our pupils were selected as Northern Ireland Schoolboy Internationals and both are making their mark on the local soccer scene.

The girls’ soccer team was promoted to the A League this year having won their league without losing a match.

In Hockey, U-12, U-13, U-14 and U-16 A and B teams competed in the Derry and Antrim Leagues. 

Netball occupies a busy slot in the autumn sports schedule.  Pride of place goes to the Senior team who won the Coleraine and District League, and the Intermediate team who were runners-up in their league.  The College also hosted the NEBSA Year 8 netball tournament and took first place in the tournament.

Participation in Trampolining continues to grow, as does its success.  One pupil became the NI U-13 champion, one was runner-up in the U-15 section and the team was placed fifth in the championships overall.  The boys’ team took first, second and third places in the individual competitions.

In the District Cross Country we had some very good performances with with two pupils qualifying for the Ulster Finals, with minor, junior and intermediate teams represented, while in athletics a 35 strong team represented the College in the NEBBSA heats.  Seven qualified for the finals where one Yr9, achieved a Gold medal in the Javelin.  In our own Year 8 cross-country competition one pupil lifted the Mary McCabe Trophy and another took the boys’ top place.

The Duke of Edinburgh/President’s Award provides wonderful training in life skills, team work, endurance and resilience.  Now firmly established there were 28 pupils completing awards. 

Mr Mickey Harte needs no introduction.  As part of our Sixth Form enrichment programme he left his audience enthralled and inspired by his motivational talk.
A group of Year 10 pupils, combining an Art and Healthy Lifestyle theme, took first place in support of the National No Smoking Day and had their works exhibited in the Diamond Centre in Coleraine.

The College has a fine tradition of public speaking.  One pupil took first place and one second place in the Coleraine Road Safety Public Speaking competition with outstanding speeches on Mobile Phones While Driving, What’s the Fuss? and Seventeen Year Olds – Fit to Drive?

Two teams of Year 8 and Year 9 students were entered in the Credit Union of Ireland Quiz and were narrowly beaten in the local finals.

Music and Drama make a great contribution to the life of the school through the Drama club, Junior and Senior choirs, Traditional group, Orchestra, our biennial Musical and Music and Singing tuition.  This year the Senior and Junior Choirs competed in the Bangor International Choral Festival where the Junior Choir took 1st place in the Under 15 Youth Choirs section, with the Senior Choir coming a very commendable 2nd in the Under 19 Youth Choirs section.

The Junior Choir always supports the Coleraine Festival and has excelled there in the past.  This year they came first in the Mixed Voice Choirs Under 14 section receiving the Louie Barnes Cup and also won the Anderson Cup for gaining the highest marks in their section of the Festival.  A number of individual musicians also distinguished themselves.  A Year 13 won the Sacred Solo section and a bursary for obtaining the highest mark.  In the Irish Harp Solo, two pupils took first place in their age group sections and two pupils took first in the Girls’ Duet.

Once again the College’s production of Carousel was stunning.  Capacity audiences were treated to a performance that would have graced the West End. 

Five of our drama pupils also excelled at the Coleraine Festival taking top awards. 

One pupil was also selected as Young Ambassador 2010 for Coleraine Borough Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  She was invited to the President’s May Ball where she presented a wonderful  speech on the theme “Causeway Coast – My Future”.

The performance of Economics pupils has been outstanding over the years, consistently taking the top place in the UK Bank of England Target 2.0 Interest Rate Challenge.  The team travelled to Manchester representing Northern Ireland in the prestigious nationwide area finals where they took a highly commendable second place.  This was the eighth time in nine successive years that the College has been represented in England.

The Junior Mathematics Challenge for Year 9s attracted great interest again and its usual crop of high achievers, and celebrating World Book Day and World Mathematics Day help keep vital curricular areas to the fore.

Science is the curricular area that forms the core component of our Specialist School status and every year our young scientists participate in a wide variety of events and competitions.  Science week is now well established, offering a wide variety of events and activities for our own pupils and those from other schools.  Much work has gone into reinforcing and strengthening our links with primary schools.  The primary pupils invited in for Science Week are enthralled by the variety of activities on offer.  Given the importance attached to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) we will continue to do so.

Three teams of Physics pupils travelled to Queen’s University for the Physics at Home Competition.  The team (all Yr 11) took first place in the junior section, while the Yr13 team took first place in the senior section. 

A team of Yr 8 pupils, took 3rd place in the Salter’s Festival of Chemistry at University of Ulster, Coleraine.

The perception of Inspector Clouseau investigating a crime scene was brought to life when Year 9 pupils had the opportunity to participate in a morning of forensic science.  The subject was a murder scene and the relevance of critical observation, DNA, moulding, blood groups and so on allowed Year 9 pupils to see the real application of science.

Loreto pupils have enjoyed outstanding success and international acclaim over many years, most notably in the BT Young Scientist Competition in Dublin.  This year was no exception, except that it was, for the scale and variety of success.  Presenting leading edge projects in such diverse topics as Green Rust, The Physics of Firewalking, Vortices, The Physics of Sparks and Liquid Film Motors.  One student took first place in the Intermediate Physical and Mathematical Sciences for her Physics of Sparks project.  Two pupils took first place in the senior section and the Institute of Physics award for best Physics Project with their Liquid Film Motors project, while one pupil took the Eli-Lily Award for best Chemistry project, was runner-up with the Best Individual project award and won an INTEL award to represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair in San José, California in the summer past.  Unfortunately one pupil was unable to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair due to a clash with her examinations.  Instead INTEL requested that another pupil take her place and she went to the International Science and Engineering Fair with her teacher in early May.  These are wonderful achievements by all these pupils and I’m sure some of these pupils will be back in Dublin representing the College in the years ahead.

These same pupils enjoyed similar success at the NI Young Scientist Competition organised by Sentinus and on this occasion two pupils won the Queen’s University award for the best Physics or Astronomy project.

Other competitions, visits, guest speakers and activities connected with Science went on throughout the year.  One in particular was the Year 10 ICT Careers Applications workshops over an afternoon.  The event was partly facilitated by two former pupils, which brought an added interest and edge to the event for our pupils.

Residential courses for Irish pupils were organised once again in the Gaeltacht, while a wide variety of cultural and linguistic events marked An Seachtain Gaeilge and European Day, culminating with Mass in Irish.  Our Irish pupils are consistent participants in the cultural activities promoted by Gael Linn and are very successful.  Four pupils took top place in the Gael Linn Tráth na gCeist competition.  They are now the Ulster Gael Linn junior quiz champions.  Their senior counterparts came second in the regional heat of the Gael Linn Irish Quiz Competition.

Educational visits are now well established via the History & Modern Languages Departments.  In October last, 70 history pupils visited Berlin, a trip with a very familiar itinerary now, but one that has a very powerful impact on pupils, bringing very much alive the horrors of war, the consequences of a divided Europe and the brutality of the Holocaust.  In June last, 45 Spanish pupils enjoyed the summer sunshine in Catalonia and experienced the ambience and culture of this distinctive part of Spain.

In the field of Careers and Higher Education the College hosted its 28th annual Trial Interviews, an invaluable experience for Yr14 students making career/course choices.  The panels of professionals who provide this are consistently impressed with the quality of our pupils and we are extremely grateful for their support.  This service has now been extended to Yr12 students by the Careers Department via Sentinus, a major provider of links between education and industry.

The College also embraces the work of Young Enterprise N Ireland, The Causeway Enterprise Agency, Sentinus, the UUC and collapsing the timetable for Year 8 – Year 11 pupils allows us to deliver important aspects of the curriculum more effectively and with greater impact e.g. areas such as enterprise and entrepreneurship, careers planning, success skills and financial capabilities, not to mention the vitally important area of healthy lifestyles. 

Invest Northern Ireland takes entrepreneurial skills a stage further with older pupils.  All Year 11 Economics classes had the opportunity to attend interactive workshops and challenges on Enterprise and Business Skills organised by Coleraine Enterprise Agency and Invest Northern Ireland.

As in previous years the College enjoyed great success in public examinations.  The College has been consistently in the top rankings of schools in NI.  In the June 2009 examinations we were consistently above the key NI grammar bench marks e.g. in the key criteria of percentage achieving 3+ A Levels at grades A – C (or equivalent) the NI grammar average was 75%; our teachers and pupils achieved 87%.  These trends are also replicated at GCSE level.  It is our goal to maintain and grow our excellent academic record in the future.

On an individual basis a Year 14 pupil from 2009 achieved first place in Northern Ireland in A-Level Economics and another pupil achieved 2nd place in Northern Ireland in A-Level Geography.  One pupil has been offered a place in Cambridge to read Law and another has been offered a place in Oxford also to read Law.

A Year 12 pupil was the highest placed candidate in GCSE English (OCR) throughout the UK.

The College attaches great importance to Education for Mutual Understanding, reaching out and engaging with other groups and institutions across the whole community.  You can see the great range of our pupils’ participation.  We are especially proud of our links with Sandleford Special School, now one of our Specialist School link schools, the community work of our Christian Life Community group, our links with St Vincent de Paul and the wider Loreto Justice & Peace group.  We continue to develop and assist Loreto schools in developing countries, especially the new Loreto school in Sudan and our sister school in Darjeeling, India.  In addition, the generosity and caring nature of our pupils is amply reflected in the £20,766.44 they raised here in school last year for our designated charities, including Trocaire, Loreto Missions, Children in Crossfire and St Vincent de Paul.  Over the last number of years the Justice & Peace group has been formed as a direct result of the Loreto Sisters’ commitment to promoting the articles in the Kolkata guidelines, particularly in relation to nurturing in Loreto pupils the values and moral perspective that informs the “agents of social change” agenda.  This group continues to grow and its work continues to be felt and appreciated around the school and beyond.  Closely related, is a group of pupils who have given time and commitment to service in their parishes and communities and have been rewarded by receiving their Pope John Paul II Award from Bishop Hegarty. 

Five of our senior pupils, travelled to Romania during the summer with Habitat for Humanity to help build houses there. 

Two of our Yr13 students travelled to Lourdes on Easter Sunday to spend a week working as volunteers for the Irish Pilgrimage Trust.  They spent a week working as leaders and carers on a pilgrimage which sees up to 5000 young people with special needs travelling to Lourdes. 

They, along with all the other groups mentioned, are a wonderful testament to the spirit of our pupils.

There are numerous other events, activities and opportunities available to students throughout the year, including liturgies, retreats, trips, outings, fieldwork, competitions and so on.  And although I have highlighted the higher profile events and successes throughout the last year, there are numerous other pupils giving generously and participating consistently in a whole host of ways.  This is what contributes to the richness and variety of the College.  I commend you all highly and I firmly believe that academic success and wider participation go hand in hand.