On Friday 11 November 2022, Rebekah Allen, Senior Marketing Manager with CDE Group, delivered a talk on ‘Careers with Modern Languages’. Rebekah spoke about her experience of using languages in her day to day work. Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 pupils were able to gain a valuable insight into the use of Modern Languages in the workplace and the wide range of opportunities available through language studies.
Mrs Sinead McGurk presents Mr McClean, Principal of St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt with the school’s new senior hurling jerseys sponsored by her late husband Colm. Also pictured (left) are Colm’s son and QUB Allstar Hurler of the Future 2022 John McGurk, Charlie Curley (with cup)captain of this year’s Ulster Colleges Kirk Champions team and joint managers Mr. Proinnsias Brolly and Mr. Niall Burke.
To mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2022, St. Mary’s Take 5 Pupil Champions made green ribbons which were distributed to pupils and staff. The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness and all pupils and staff were invited to wear the green ribbon on Monday 10 October to show awareness of their own mental health and that of others, and to make a donation in support of a local mental health charity. A total of £759.00 was raised and has been donated to The Olive Branch. On Monday 24 October 2022, Alan Mulholland and Leone Paul visited St. Mary’s to accept a cheque on behalf of the charity.
Placed in a tough qualifying group with St. Colman’s, Newry and St. Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, the St. Mary’s boys adapted to the game seamlessly and progressed to a quarter final where they would meet St. Eunan’s, Letterkenny.
Dominating from the early stages, with strong performances all-round, goals from Conhuir Johnston, Sean Byrne and Paul Duffin, set up a semi-final against the ‘Red High’, Downpatrick.
With James Gribben again showing his versatility as a traditional goalkeeper and a ‘sweeper’ using runners like Sean Byrne and John Lavery on kickouts, and utilising Luke Burn’s aerial ability, the rest of the team were able to manage the game and progress to the showpiece final where they would again meet St. Patrick’s, Dungannon.
St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt was pleased to welcome former Armagh GAA player, Oisín McConville, on two occasions throughout the month of September. Oisín visited the school as part of the Sporting Chance Programme delivered by Sport Northern Ireland. He addressed Year 13 and Year 14 students, offering important advice in relation to healthy lifestyles and protecting personal mental health. We are grateful to Oisín for his inspirational and guiding message and offer our thanks to Sport Northern Ireland for facilitating this valuable event.
On Tuesday 13 September 2022, Year 12 pupils had the opportunity to attend the ‘Provoking Thought’ presentation designed by Action Mental Health.
As a Take 5 Champion School, the delivery of the presentation was part of St. Mary’s ongoing commitment to promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being throughout the school community. The aims of the presentation were to increase young people’s understanding of mental health and resilience, ensure that they are aware of the range of support available to them and encourage help-seeking behaviours should they have any concerns about their mental health and emotional well-being.
St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has welcomed Mr Paul McClean as its new Principal. Mr McClean succeeds Mr Frank Dunlop who has retired after 36 years in the school.
Having gained a degree in accounting from Queen’s University, Belfast, Mr McClean later pursued a career in education and held teaching positions in schools in England and Northern Ireland. He taught Mathematics in Sperrin Integrated College, Magherafelt for four years before moving to St. Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, Belfast where he was Head of Mathematics prior to joining the Senior Leadership Team. Mr McClean left St. Dominic’s to take up the role of Principal in Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle in 2016, leading the school during a period of great success for the college community.
The new Principal of St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has praised the achievement of its pupils in the 2022 GCSE examinations. Mr Paul McClean reported that 99.4% of pupils achieved A* - C grades in at least 7 subjects, including English and Mathematics. Notably, 71.7% of all grades awarded were A* - A and 99.7% of all grades were A* - C.
Applauding the pupils’ success, Mr McClean commented: “The grades achieved by St. Mary’s pupils are simply outstanding and are testament to their focused efforts in preparing for controlled assessment tasks and examinations in a variety of subjects. I commend the pupils for their application to study and their determination to succeed, which is so clearly evident in the impressive grade profiles that so many of them now possess. Such strong academic portfolios provide the passport for these young people to pursue their chosen A Level pathway and continue on their journey towards third level education and the realisation of future career aspirations. St. Mary’s offers such breadth in terms of the range of courses available to students and ensures that young people, and their parents and carers, have access to sound careers information, advice and guidance to assist them in selecting the most suitable programme of study to ensure their continued success at Post-16 and beyond.
A Level students in St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt had reason to celebrate after the publication of this year’s examination results.
Following his recent appointment, the new Principal of St. Mary’s, Mr Paul McClean, reported that 98% of students were awarded 3 or more A* - C grades while 99.3% of all entries resulted in A* - C grades.
Geoff Burns, from the local hockey club (Rainey HC), delivered coaching sessions to over 80 Year 8 St. Mary’s pupils. The programme culminated in a coaching/blitz event, specifically for St. Mary’s girls, held in the Meadowbank Sports Arena in June. The Ulster Hockey mascot was in attendance along with a current Irish International player. The girls loved experiencing a new sport and a pathway has now been created between our school and the local hockey club.
The Year 8 students of 2021 were permitted to monkey around as they rumbled in the Jungle. The excitement was wonderful- having been tamed by Covid it was fantastic to unleash and to hear them roar like Kings and Queens on the day as they climbed the wall, shot at targets, tried to stay on the rodeo bull, trekked with the llamas, body zorbed … and so much more. It was the perfect end to their first year…the trip forever etched in memory.
On Thursday 23 June 2022, Year 11 pupils attended two workshops delivered as part of the Bloom programme. Bloom is a UK-wide programme which supports young people by equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to build their resilience so they can better protect and maintain their mental health through life’s transitions, both now and in the future. Bloom has been developed by Mental Health UK which is a charity made up of four mental health charities – one in each nation of the UK. In Northern Ireland, Bloom is delivered by MindWise.
Congratulations to the Year 8 Camogie team who have been crowned Ulster Shield champions. The players faced tough opposition from St. Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen but won in the end with a score of 6-6 to 1-1.
The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena was the setting for a celebration of St. Mary’s Grammar School’s 2022 MacRory Cup win. The event took place on the evening of Wednesday 27 April with BBC Sports Journalist, Thomas Niblock, as Master of Ceremonies. Players and team management were joined by parents/guardians, members of staff and members of the Board of Governors to reflect on the team’s journey to success this year and to applaud their achievement.
For more information on the MacRory Cup Celebration Evening click here and to view our Media Gallery click here
Congratulations to Niall O’Donnell and Conhuir Johnston who have both been awarded an Ulster Colleges All Star Award. The boys attended a ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast on Friday 29 April 2022 where they received their award. As Captain of the winning MacRory Cup team, Eoin McEvoy also attended the ceremony and delivered the closing remarks on the night. Congratulations to Fionntán McPeake and Oisin McGurk whose contribution to the success of the MacRory Cup team was recognised during the evening.
The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena was the setting for a celebration of St. Mary’s Grammar School’s 2022 MacRory Cup win. The event took place on the evening of Wednesday 27 April with BBC Sports Journalist, Thomas Niblock, as Master of Ceremonies. Players and team management were joined by parents/guardians, members of staff and members of the Board of Governors to reflect on the team’s journey to success this year and to applaud their achievement. In his address, Mr Dunlop, Principal, said: “It’s just over 10 weeks since the full-time whistle confirmed St. Mary’s second MacRory Cup victory and I know that the date of 13 February 2022 will be etched in the hearts and minds of this team, their management and, indeed, many of us for a lifetime. It is fitting that we should gather tonight to celebrate this team’s remarkable achievement, congratulate them on their win and thank them for the memories they have created for the whole St. Mary’s community.
The whole school community in St. Mary’s are delighted to learn that Classroom Assistant, Margaret Mullan, will be recognised as a Silver Winner by the Pearson Teaching Awards in a celebratory event in London later this year.
Margaret, who joined St. Mary’s five years ago, has shown great determination, commitment, loyalty and passion in support of the student with whom she has been working over the past 5 years. With Margaret’s help, this student who was registered blind in 2019, has made huge strides both academically and personally. Their journey has been truly remarkable and it is fitting that Margaret is the top prize winner out of hundreds of applications from all across the UK.
Many thanks to the Gaelbhratach committee for organising a bake sale in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The Gaelbhratach committee is formed by a group of Year 13 and 14 pupils who commit to promote the language and culture in St. Mary’s. Inspired by the desire to spread some ‘Irishness’ around the school, the committee sourced some St. Patrick’s Day buns and treats and sold them throughout the school raising money for Trócaire. Students were encouraged to use Irish when purchasing the buns and were taught a few phrases on the day. Their huge effort raised over £600 with all proceeds going to Trócaire. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir as ucht bhur gcuid oibre!
A group of Year 10 pupils from St. Mary’s Grammar School have participated in this year’s French Francofest Competition. The pupils presented a virtual role play presented as “the Eurofest Exhibition”. As a group, pupils had the opportunity to use their creative minds, develop marketing skills and perform in French. Below is an insight into their chosen product:
Product Design and Name : “Le Micro-Onde Magique : Garniture de Croissant”
Function: “magically” decorates and coats the pastry of your choice with an array of toppings to create an impressive quick-fix dessert
Target Market: Adults and Shops
Year 13 pupils and staff took part in a sponsored Walk on Friday 6th May to raise money for the Go Fund Me campaign to get Eibhlin walking. They raised £3237.39 for Eibhlin Totten who is a Year 13 pupil of St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt. Eibhlin is a bright, happy go lucky and very funny 16-year-old girl. She had just finished her GCSE’s and was enjoying time at the movies with her close friends when she started to feel unwell. She spent six weeks in intensive care, followed by many weeks in the neurosurgical ward where she had several further surgeries and scans.
Congratulations to our Key Stage 3 Debating team who recently won the Grand Final of the International Debate with Hart competition, competing against schools from Wales, Sri Lanka and England to win the top spot.
Year 13 students presented a cheque to Saphara for £3615.58 to help underprivileged children in India. Well done to all involved, and thanks to all those who have contributed to fundraising initiatives throughout the year!
Well done to Year 9 pupils who have raised almost £3000 for Autism NI. Each pupil walked 13,000 steps a day between 7 – 13 March 2022 to represent the 13,000 children who received an Autism diagnosis last year. Pictured are some Year 9 pupils with Elizabeth McCaughey from Autism NI who came in to thank the pupils and explain how the money would be used. Thank you to Mrs Clarke for co-ordinating this fundraiser.
Year 13 students from St. Mary’s have been taking part in the Saphara Be the Change Programme. They have been working hard to raise funds for poor communities in India, and their efforts were recognised at a ceremony in Belfast City Hall, hosted by the Deputy Lord Mayor.
On Monday 4 April 2022, our recently appointed Inclusion, Equality and Diversity Pupil Champions engaged in training with the EA Equality and Diversity Unit to prepare them for their new role in school.
Through the training, pupils acquired an understanding of what is meant by the terms “inclusion”, “equality”and “diversity”. Through consideration of real-life case studies, pupils developed their awareness of issues around stereotypes, prejudicial attitudes, discrimination and unconscious bias. They also had an opportunity to consider the actions they can take as a team to promote inclusion, equality and diversity throughout the St. Mary’s community. We are grateful to Emma Patterson and Melissa Meenan from EA for facilitating the training session.
Over the last 6 weeks, two teams of Year 13 pupils have been taking part in STEM projects through Sentinus. The Sustainable Communities team was tasked with creating a model for sustainable communities of the future, while the Digital Futures team created two Apps- one which provided a GAA results platform; and one which centralised all school-related documents and materials in one easy-to-use App.
Both teams deserve a huge amount of credit for producing outstanding projects- well done to all involved!
As part of Seachtain na Gaeilge 2022, Year 9 Irish students sat their Cúpla Focal speaking Examination. With a 100% success rate, Dr Neil Comer from Ulster University came in to St Mary’s to present the pupils with their badges. Comhghairdeas le gach dalta!
St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has won the MacRory Cup for the second time in the school’s history. The team defeated Holy Trinity College, Cookstown in the final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Sunday 13 February 2022. The game marked the fifth appearance of a St. Mary’s team in the final of the competition with the school previously reaching this stage in 1996, 2003, 2017 and 2018. Commenting on the team’s success, Mr Dunlop, Principal, said: “St. Mary’s is incredibly proud of our players and their management team. I commend them for their commitment to an intense training schedule and for the drive, discipline, determination and skill which have characterised them throughout the competition.
On Tuesday 8 March 2022, Year 12 pupils attended a talk by Visiting Speaker, Jackie Burke. In a most engaging address, Jackie shared with pupils the devastating impact of alcohol and drugs in his life. He spoke very openly and honestly about the mistakes he had made in the past, how these had affected his relationships with others and how he found his path to recovery. Jackie urged pupils to learn from his story and ensure that they make good choices and decisions in their own lives so that they don’t experience the challenges and difficulties he once faced. We are grateful to Jackie for sharing his personal story with Year 12 pupils.
On Friday 11 March 2022, Year 11 pupils had the opportunity to attend a screening of the Lyric Theatre production of “Blackout” by Davey Anderson. Directed by Philip Crawford, “Blackout” tells the story of James, a young man dealing with a number of challenging personal issues in difficult circumstances. The screening was facilitated by the Mid-Ulster Policing Community Safety Partnership to highlight to young people that actions have consequences and the possible repercussions of engaging in anti-social behaviour and criminal activities. The event aimed to raise pupils’ awareness of the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on decision-making and the importance of asking for help in difficult situations. We are grateful to Wendy Stevenson, PSNI Schools’ Officer, for the advice and guidance she offered to pupils in her presentation following the screening.
Congratulations to the newly appointed St. Mary’s Inclusion, Equality and Diversity (IED) Pupil Champions. This new pupil group has been established to help promote greater awareness of issues relating to inclusion, equality and diversity throughout the school community. We wish them well in their new roles.
In celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge 2022, any Year 10 studying Irish had the opportunity to sit their Fáinne speaking examination. All students excelled in their spoken Irish receiving their Silver Fáinne and two of our students even achieved their Gold Fáinne. Maith sibh, Bliain 10!
The top pupils who were awarded Corn Bhríde were Aoibhe Ní Shamsún and Senan Ó Leogáin from 10C as well as Aoife Ní Chaollaí and Lorcán Ó Coimín from 10A.
For more photos please click here tovisit our media gallery
As part of its development as a Take 5 School, St. Mary’s recently appointed a new Take 5 Pupil Champion Team to promote positive mental health and emotional well-being throughout the school community.
Applications were sought from interested pupils who were then invited to attend an interview chaired by Mr Chris Lindsay from the Education Authority.
Congratulations to our successful applicants. We wish them well as they work together to ensure that St. Mary’s is a mentally healthy school.
Business Studies and Economics students from St. Mary’s Grammar were industrious in their fundraising efforts for ALPs, a local mental health charity. ALPS is a community based Mental Health initiative that offers support and services on emotional wellbeing, mental health education and suicide prevention training.The Mini-Company director Annie Kilpatrick and her team successfully designed and distributed over 600 jerseys and crew neck jumpers to the St Mary’s community,working with great endeavour during COVID-19 lockdown. The students were delighted to present a cheque for £1,500 to former pupil and Head boy, Frank Diamond, COO of the local Charity ALPS All lives are precious.
We would like to thank SIS Pitches Ireland for generously sponsoring our MacRory Cup team with their new O’Neills jerseys. Pictured here is Darren McGeehan from SIS Pitches with our Management team, Mr Dunlop, Vice Captain, Niall Rafferty (back left), and Captain Eoin McEvoy (back right).
The Spelling Bee competition, aimed at pupils in their first year of learning Irish, encouraged learners in building their target language vocabulary. Pupils were given a list of vocabulary selected by NICILT in Queen’s University, Belfast to learn and took part in a competition in school in January to correctly translate and spell as many words as possible in one minute. Frank McKeever (8D) was the top speller and is now invited to compete in the Grand Final, which will take place virtually on 11 March 2022. Second place was awarded to Rachael Gribbin (8F) with Eddie Convery (8A) taking 3rd place. Congratulations to all the pupils who took part! Maith sibh ar fad!
Key Stage 4 pupils in St. Mary’s Grammar School responded most generously to this year’s St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Family Gift Appeal. Co-ordinated by Mr Francis (Head of Year 11) and Mrs Higgins (Head of Year 12), pupils donated £1438.98 to the Christmas Family Gift Appeal. Mrs Eileen Fullerton from a local branch of the Saint Vincent de Paul charity collected the cheque. Mrs Fullerton was most appreciative and thanked Year 11 and Year 12 pupils. Vouchers will be bought with the money and will be distributed to many local families in the Mid-Ulster area. The Christmas Family Gift Appeal is so important. Simply by giving a donation, people can make a real difference to the lives of so many children and their families – and make Christmas happen in many homes this year.
As part of the Year 10 Personal Development Programme, and our whole-school focus on promoting Anti-Bullying and Inclusion, Equality and Diversity, Year 10 pupils took part in the Cara-Friend “All Out” anti-bullying workshop on Wednesday 1 December 2021. The workshop was delivered by Cara-Friend Education and Training Manager, Jo McParland.
The workshop aims to improve the experiences of LGBTQI+ young people in schools by raising awareness among their peers of what it means to be LGBTQI+ and the issues LGBTQI+ young people face on a day-to-day basis. The workshop also aims to eliminate bullying and stigma faced by LGBTQI+ youth by challenging negative attitudes and derogatory language.
Thank you to Cara-Friend for facilitating this informative workshop.
On Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 November 2021, Year 14 students in St. Mary’s had the opportunity to take part in a PSNI event promoting safe driving. The Crash Car Simulator activity reminded pupils of the importance of driving with care and attention and the devastating impact that can be caused by a momentary lapse of focus on the road ahead. We are grateful to the PSNI for facilitating this thought-provoking activity.
As we mark Anti-Bullying Week 2021, we are delighted to introduce our new Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. These pupils have completed training with the Diana Award and will be responsible for promoting the anti-bullying message throughout our school community this year. During the course of Anti-Bullying Week, our Ambassadors will visit assemblies to talk to pupils about bullying and their role in preventing it from occurring in our school. They will also remind pupils about the introduction of the Addressing Bullying in Schools Act and ensure that all pupils understand how this Act defines bullying. We wish our new Anti-Bullying Ambassadors well in their roles and we thank the team at the Diana Award for facilitating the training.
St. Mary’s is pleased to introduce Cybersyd – a new app which provides pupils with another mechanism by which they can report any concern they may have about bullying relating to themselves or others.
Developed by St. Mary’s past pupil, Aaron Ball, the app is currently being piloted with pupils in Year 9 and Year 10. It works as a ‘Chatbot’ asking pupils key questions in relation to the situation to help them to determine if bullying, as defined within the Addressing Bullying in Schools Act, is occurring and whether or not they wish to report the matter to the school.
The Irish Department in St Mary’s were delighted to welcome back Róisín Ní Mhóráin from Conradh na Gaeilge on Thursday 4th November to deliver workshops to Year10 & Year 13 Irish pupils. Róisín discussed many important and relevant issues regarding the Irish Language as well as jobs and opportunities available with a qualification in Irish. Pupils also won lots of top prizes and goodies for their participation in the project. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for all involved!
To help Year 12 prepare for GCSE examinations, all Year 12 pupils had the opportunity to attend the Learn Spark Ready, Steady, Study programme on Wednesday 03 November 2021. The programme was delivered by Paul Gray, Company Director of Learn Spark. The session was designed to empower pupils to feel confident in preparing for modules, assessments and exams by providing them with strategies, tips and advice on how to study effectively and productively.
On Tuesday 12 October 2021,
PSNI Schools’ Officer, Wendy Stevenson, visited St. Mary’s to distribute reflective bands to Year 8 pupils. The reflective bands have been kindly provided by the Mid-Ulster Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to
encourage Year 8 pupils to stay visible when using the road, particularly when the dark mornings and evenings arrive. We are grateful to Wendy and the Mid-Ulster Policing and Community Safety Partnership for promoting this important road safety message in St. Mary’s and for providing these valuable
safety resources for Year 8 pupils.
On Monday 4 October 2021, St. Mary’s welcomed representatives from the PSNI and Translink to deliver a presentation to Year 8 pupils about road safety and bus safety. We are grateful to Wendy, Stuart, Kevin and Susan for a most informative and thought-provoking session.
In advance of World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October 2021, each Year Group in St. Mary’s had the opportunity to attend an Action Mental Health talk on Friday 1 and Monday 4 October 2021. The workshops were delivered by Colette Slevin and covered a range of themes from Year 8 Transition, Social Media, Self Esteem and Confidence, Body Image and Mental Health in Sport. We are grateful to Colette and Action Mental Health for these very engaging and relevant sessions.
To mark World SuicidePrevention Day on Friday 10 September 2021, St. Mary’s Grammar School held a ‘Guess the Score’ competition ahead of the All-Ireland Final. Pupils and staff took part and raised a total of £555.00 for local mental health organisation, The Olive Branch.
On Tuesday 22 June 2021, St. Mary’s welcomed local PSNI Schools’ Officer, Wendy Stevenson, who delivered a presentation to pupils in Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11. The purpose of the presentation was to provide pupils with key messages about keeping safe in both the real world and the digital world, particularly during the summer holiday period. During the address, Wendy provided pupils with important information and advice on a range of issues, including online safety, social media, cyberbullying, sexting, drugs and vaping.
As the school year draws to a
close, we wish all of our pupils a safe and relaxing summer break.
Year 10 Silver Fáinne speaking exams usually take place during ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ but due to the pandemic 10A,10C & 10D had to wait patiently until after their Summer Examinations. The three Year 10 classes put three years of Irish language learning into practice. The top three girls and boys who achieved 100% and were awarded Corn Bhríde were LusaÍ Ní Bhiataigh & Liam Ó Muirí (10A), Daire Mac Meanman & Darcie Nic Conmidhe (10C) and Cathair Ó Corra & Méabh Ní hAmhsaigh (10D). Roinn na Gaeilge anseo I Scoil Mhuire are extremely proud of all of the students and wish them the best for GCSE. Maith sibh Bliain 10!
A Level Irish students at St. Mary’s have made History being the first group to achieve their ‘Fáinne Óir.’ They are pictured wearing their Fáinne’s to show that they have a high proficiency in spoken Irish. Roinn na Gaeilge are extremely proud of each and every one of them!
On Thursday 27 May 2021, Year 14 pupils returned to St. Mary’s for Leavers’ Day. Pupils attended a Mass celebrated by Fr. Gates before enjoying lunch with their teachers and peers. We hope they had an enjoyable and memorable day and we wish them all good health, happiness and prosperity in the future.
The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum are currently recruiting for young people to join their Young Person Advisory Group (YPAG).
The purpose of YPAG is to help advise and support the work of the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) which works to end the bullying of children and young people in our schools and in our communities. NIABF is hosted by the National Childrens Bureau (NCB).
Members of YPAG will be children and young people aged 8-18 years, who will meet regularly via the online platform Zoom. There are many exciting opportunities ahead for young people to engage in and play an important role in working to end bullying.
Congratulations to the winners of our Eco-competition who produced our new Eco-Code. This will be displayed in all classrooms to remind us what we can do as a school community to support our environment and look after our mental health.
these challenging times for everyone, we know that protecting the mental health
and emotional well-being of young people is so important. Young people
need to be supported to understand their mental health and encouraged to seek
help if they are experiencing any personal struggle or difficulty.
Our School Community are joining many other Schools, Sporting Clubs and organisations across the country in creating a partnership with ALPs (All Lives Are Precious) and Talk to Tom and today invite you to join us over the summer months on our 2021 Walk a Million Challenge .
Starting on May 16 Mental Health Week 2021, until World Suicide Prevention Day September 10 2021.
By way of supporting Religious Education and Literary Endeavour, the Knights of St. Columbanus invited Year 12-13 students in all Secondary and Post-Primary Schools throughout the island of Ireland to participate in a special essay competition. Students were required to compose a critical essay of up to 2,000 words on religious and ethical themes, notably, social media and the Gospel; Justice and Peace; Living the Christian life and Young Christians in today’s Church. Adjudicators commented that the winning entries from St. Mary’s Grammar School demonstrated excellent clarity of expression; clear exploration of the topic from a religious, spiritual and faith perspective; excellent inclusion of insights from Church and other sources; coherent use of literary techniques in support of arguments, opinions expressed and a high level of personal insight and opinion. The students’ essays are going forward for adjudication for the National Awards.
Our Year 8-11 pupils enjoyed their long-awaited, safe and
happy return to St. Mary’s yesterday. Pictured are a selection of winners from
our Key Stage 3 Easter Maths Challenge. Well done to all who took part and
congratulations to those with winning entries! Egg-cellent effort!
Congratulations to Year 13 pupil, Cara Murray, who walked a
marathon with her friend to raise money and awareness for the South Derry Down
Syndrome Group and the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust. The girls raised an
impressive £3000 which was split between these two very special charities.
The Department of Education for Northern Ireland has this week launched a new Text-a-Nurse service for young people aged 11-19.
The service aims to provide young people with a secure and confidential text messaging service which will allow them to easily and anonymously get in touch with a school nurse for advice and support about their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Safer Internet Day 2021 is on the 9th of February and will be celebrated with the theme ‘An internet we trust – exploring reliability in the online world’. Safer Internet Day inspires conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. Coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees thousands of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. In 2020, the campaign reached 49% of young people aged 8-17 and 26% of parents.
Unfortunately, the school’s Annual Awards Ceremony could not be held this year. However, to recognise their achievements in 2020, A Level students were invited to visit the school to collect their awards. They were congratulated by Mr Dunlop and received their awards in a socially distanced manner. Internal awards ceremonies were held to celebrate the success of GCSE students. Photographs can be viewed within the Media Galleries section of the school website.
The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children
and Young People (NICCY) will be recruiting young people to join the NICCY Youth Panel (NYP) during 2021. The purpose of the NYP is to advise the Commissioner in her day-to-day work of promoting and safeguarding children’s rights in Northern Ireland. It is made up of young people from across Northern Ireland, who share their experiences and thoughts with the Commissioner and her staff to help NICCY make decisions about issues that affect children and young people.
Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, if you are or someone you know is in distress or despair, Lifeline is there to help.
As the Christmas season approaches, it is important to remember that Christmas is not a happy time for all families.
show that there are increased incidences of domestic abuse during the Christmas school holiday period.
year, politicians from across political parties in Northern Ireland have come together to produce a short video raising awareness of this issue and to
provide signposting to help anyone experiencing domestic violence or abuse.
click on the link below to view the message from politicians:
The Head Boy of St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has been named as one of the winners of the national Spirited Arts 2020 competition. Adam Rocks entered the competition which is held annually by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) and challenges students to think about Religious Education through Art.
In its 17th year, this competition has attracted over 320,000 participants averaging 20,000 competitors per year since 2004. Hundreds of UK schools get involved, with entries submitted from as far afield as Cyprus and Australia, Indonesia and South Africa.
Adam’s artwork was based on the theme ‘Art in Heaven’ and he called his piece ‘The Age of the Ocean’.
Anti-Bullying Week takes place from 16-20 November 2020. The theme for this year is United Against Bullying. To mark the beginning of Anti-Bullying Week, St. Mary’s is joining other schools to take part in the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum Odd Socks Day initiative on Monday 16 November 2020. Pupils and staff in St. Mary’s are being invited to wear odd socks in recognition of the uniqueness of each individual and to celebrate diversity within our school community. Together, we are united against bullying.
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On Tuesday 10 November 2020 St. Mary’s was delighted to welcome representatives from Gideons International to the school. Due to Covid restrictions, we were unable to hold our usual Year Eight assembly but through Religion classes, pupils will be told about the work of the Gideons and will receive their own copy of the Bible. Many thanks to Gideons International for taking the time to visit the school and for providing a Bible for each Year Eight pupil to keep.