Welcome to our March-April Newsletter!
This covers the March period and into early April so it’s going to be bit of a mixed bag due to the current climate. We’ll update you on what was happening before closure on March 12th and then on how we have been keeping the community going online since.
Before any of that we would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the whole community(students, staff, parents & families) for keeping in touch and keeping together during these difficult times-while we miss you all terribly and can’t wait to be back behind that red door you have all proven that a community is more than a building and we are very proud of that.
Ahead of closure pre-examinations had been packaged up and sent off to the Dublin Examination Board for marking. Exams have since been returned and we are scheduling individual online meetings with students to deliver them. We will continue to remind our students that their health(physical and mental) and happiness is far more important than exams. These results will only guide our work in the coming weeks and we don’t want you to be stressed about them.
Make A Book
In the weeks prior to closure some of our Junior Group were out and about at the Make A Book Exhibition presenting their book ‘Historical Times’ This looked at the first memories of history events from a student and staff perspective. For young people who enjoy journalling and even for those who don’t now is a great time to be keeping a diary or recording your thoughts. The new reality we are living will certainly be in history books in the years to come.
Window Painting with SuperValu
In early March we were engaged in a brilliant project with Super Valu Glanmire & Grange. Students with the support of staff painted the windows of both stores in a sustainability theme. Taking this opportunity to thank the wonderful people at Supervalu for the opportunities they provide to our students and for their exceptional support to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Hats off to you guys we are proud to be associated with you all.
Online Classes & Learning
Prior to announcement of closure we had been working on contingency plans. Thanks to the commitment and versatility of students, staff and parents we were able to commence face to face online classes for 3rd and 6th year students on March 18th and they have been running since from 10am to 2.30pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 12 noon on Fridays. All classes are attended by both a teacher and a supervising staff member and in spite of technical hitches we have witnessed lots of learning online in the last 4 weeks. Supervisors have been overwhelmed by the resourcefulness of our teachers and the engagement of our students. Wouldn’t know where to begin thanking you all!
Meanwhile for our 1st, 2nd and 5th years we have been engaging them in projects in a range of subjects with a designated email address that they can link in with to return their work or for any advice or support needed. We have been so impressed with the engagement of students and the work we have received and encourage students to keep the projects coming-they bring us lots of smiles during these weird days! Thanking our staff who have been providing projects aimed at keeping learning fun and light during a time that is strange for our young people and for us all.
We were determined during these uncertain times to #KeepSinging and have successfully got our choir online. Difficult to overstate how exceptional our choir leader Leah has been in keeping us singing together-she’s been working overtime creating recorded backing tracks of harmonies, making props and just bringing us pure joy and sunshine each Wednesday. Thank you-it means so much!
Online Leadership Group
Delighted to have been able to get Stanley Notte mentor and leadership group facilitator online to keep young people focused on their strengths and resilience and how to keep developing them. Very humbling to witness the work of this group over the last two weeks-the group will continue as will choir right over Easter holidays.
We’re here to support: The virtual red door is open
Reminding everyone in our community(staff, students, parents & families) that even during Easter we are still here to support. You can reach us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone in the usual way 0214304391(office number is diverted to Don’s mobile phone) Students can ask questions about revision, competitions or just email in for a chat email@example.com
For those students engaged in counselling at the centre your counsellors remain available to you for weekly sessions or check-ins by phone or online. In addition if you want an individual chat and check in with Don(Director) or Rachel(Deputy) just let us know and we can arrange this.
Feel free to stay linked in with our Facebook Page also where we are posting regularly and where we have kept traditions like our ‘Riddle of the Week’ and ‘Would You Rather Wednesday’ going.
We wanted people to feel like they were on Easter Holidays even when that means #StaySafeStayHome so instead of setting projects and assignments we suggested a nice activity students could engage with each day from fitness, to cooking, to reading or listening to a book. In addition we are running two Easter competitions for all students to keep them thinking and creative.
We’re really keen to keep the needs of our student on the agenda during these strange times. To this end we are linking in with organisations including the Children’s Rights Alliance who are bringing the issues that we and other members raise to the relevant government departments. The Office for the Ombudsman for Children has a lovely opportunity for children to get their voices heard on how they have been affected by COVID-19. Interested students could check it out at this link https://www.oco.ie/news/whatimiss/
State Examinations Update
The update we had all been waiting for in relation to Junior and Leaving Certificate finally came yesterday. While there are many more issues to be clarified and finalised in the weeks that come as it stands the Leaving Cert has been postponed to late July or August and the Junior Certificate has been cancelled to be replaced with class-room based assessments and tests. The following FB post gives more information and we will keep everyone updated as the situation evolves. We encourage all our 3rd and 6th year students to stay with us and keep engaging online as you have been-we will get through this and get to the exams together.
The (Un)teachables Documentary
The time has finally arrived-the documentary filmed at Cork Life Centre(‘The (Un)teachables’) last year by Frontline Films is due to air on Virgin Media One on Monday 13th & 20th of April @ 9pm. Here is a message that Kim the Director wanted to send to you all ahead of the documentary airing on Monday:
I think anyone who met us in person during the time we spent filming knows how much we enjoyed the experience. We came away from the our year at the centre enriched by all the love and positivity and energy that we experienced, it truly was one of the most enjoyable filming experiences we ever had!
Each and everyone of you helped make the documentary possible, I know we must have been a pain sometimes, wandering up and down the stairs with our mics and camera, I’m sure there were days when you probably wished we weren’t there or just wanted to be left alone and yet you put up with us and made us feel welcome at all times. In the end so many of you were so helpful and so many of you agreed to be on camera that we weren’t even able to fit everyone and everything in, unfortunately that’s always what happens when you’re making a documentary but whether you appear in the final cut or not I want you all to know that we couldn’t have made this without you and I hope from the bottom of my heart that people all over the country will watch this and get to see what an incredible place this is and what amazing inspiring family the Cork Life Centre is.
See you all soon when we are able to travel and meet in person again…We’re using this time to hone our pool skills…when we do meet again Don better watch out.
xx Kim, Colm, Aoife & Megan.