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“Kölle, Alaaf!”


It is a quiet and normal day at the St. Joseph Secondary School in Ballybunion. At first nothing seems out of the ordinary; that is until you see a panda running through the hallway! Fear not however, it’s only the German teaching assistant; she sings loud songs in the classroom with her students, dances and throws candy at them. Even the staff members are confused and do not know why she is in costume today, but her students already know it. The Germans celebrate the Cologne Carnival at the moment – the biggest festival in the Rhineland!

The Cologne Carnival has a long tradition in Germany. It is the last festival before Lent, the period in which it was not allowed to eat meat, fat, milk or cheese. So naturally before going into difficult time they had to have one last celebration before fasting. Carnival (or as the Germans call it “the fifth season”) – begins at the 11th of November at 11.11am. On the Thursday before the beginning of Lent the foolish people receive the key of the city and will rule until the following Tuesday during this time in Cologne rules an “exceptional-state“ (Ausnahmezustand).

The people wear elaborate costumes and people who do not get into the Carnival spirit by choice may be costumed against their will!
The highlight of the Carnival in Cologne is the „Rosenmontagszug“. This parade lasts 6 hours and over 1,000,000 people come to see it every year while they dance and sing loudly to the music. Homemade floats drive through the streets – often decorated with political banners. From the top of these floats men, women and children throw altogether 150 tons of candy into the crowd. However
you can only receive candy if you know the „Cologne battle cry“: “Kölle, Alaaf!” (long live cologne).

But when in cologne you must also take care – and never say the battle cry of Düsseldorf “Helau” … because then they could throw old candy directly to your head. So in conclusion, it does not take much to experience the Cologne carnival: cheerfulness, a funny
costume, a bag for your sweets and an umbrella – not because it might rain – no! But to protect your head from the shower of candy thrown from the parade!

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Science is alive in Ballybunion


“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

On the 6 of May, three first year students from St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Ballybunion took part in the inaugural hosting of Scifest in the Institute of Technology Tralee. Scifest is a local one-day science fair held in a number of Institute of Technologies around the country.
Scifest aims to encourage a love of science through an investigative approach to learning and to provide an opportunity for students to display their scientific discoveries. Sinead Breen, Kitty Nolan and Louise Lalor submitted a project entitled “Mother Nature’s Moisturiser”, a project investigating the moisturising properties of seaweed. The project was a collaborative effort between the Art and Science Departments in St. Joseph’s. Louise, under the guidance of Ms. Anna Nealon, provided beautiful illustrations of the seaweed investigated. Sinead and Kitty worked with Ms. Elaine O Connell on the experimental investigation.

The students were commended on the day for their beautiful presentation and were congratulated on their efforts. The students received the award for the best Life Sciences Category and were truly delighted. The victory in Tralee has spurred a huge interest in the school and the supporting students who travelled to the I.T. on the day are eager to enter the competition next year. Sinead, Kitty and Louise now turn their attention to preparing for the Young Scientist Competition early in 2010. With an ocean of inspiration surrounding the students in Ballybunion it is with the words of the great scientists such as Einstein that they continue: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

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German students sample a little of the Kerry Life

As part of a student exchange programme between St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Ballybunion and the Maria Konigin Secondary School outside Cologne, 2 German students descended on north Kerry this week to experience a taste of Irish life and culture. The visit-the return leg of a two part trip which saw 15 students visit Germany at Easter will see the students enjoy a mix of sight seeing and schooling during the course of the week.

Accompanied by two teachers from Maria Konigin on Wednesday last, and attended school with their Ballybunion counterparts at St. Joseph’s on Thursday. On Friday, the students were treated to a trip to Muckross, while on Friday they sampled the beauty of Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula. There was plenty more sight seeing enjoyed over the weekend as the students got to know their host families – those of the Ballybunion children who stayed in Germany in April, while on Saturday they attended a special awards ceremony in honour of St. Joseph’s PLC graduates.

This week the 20 students again mixed the fun of sightseeing with the more serious matter of school, before preparing to head back to Germany later this week. The trip was the culmination of an exchange programme which was initiated back in September when representatives of both schools met in Listowel.

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St Joseph’s PLC students commended

Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe was the guest of honour at An Tinteán Theatre in Ballybunion on Saturday September 6th, as graduates of St. Joseph’s Secondary School PLC Course received their certificates. The Minister for Education commended the school for its post-leaving certificate courses and congratulated the students who received FETAC Level 5 certificates. He said that schools and colleges offering post Leaving Certificate courses are helping create the skilled workforce needed to drive the Irish economy into the future.

A total of 24 PCL Leaving Cert students were honoured on the night, having completed a year long course in a variety of disciplines. The night was especially significant for both students and school management as this was the first year that the Ballybunion school offered PLC courses. Saturday evening’s ceremony, officiated by the education minister, saw students receive certificates in three separate courses, namely theatre production, childcare/classroom assistant and hotel and catering. It was an exciting night for the 24 students involved, who completed the full-time course in May. All courses were run on a full time basis during school hours, with the drama production course being run in conjunction with the Tinteán Theatre in town.

On Saturday, Minister O’Keeffe paid tribute to the 24 students for taking the decision to return to full time education which, he said, takes courage and requires a lot of personal organization. The students’ achievements, he said, were culmination of their hard work and commitment. He also acknowledged the enormous work of the staff at St. Joseph’s Secondary School, saying the work done in PLC courses in the school will be instrumental in continuing to cultivate interest in return to learning in the north Kerry area into the future.

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Fourth News

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School Newsletter

January 2018 School Newsletter - Click Here