THE NON-ACADEMIC SIDE OF THE ACADEMY
The primary reason for most students signing up to the Academy is to achieve their best possible Leaving Cert and get that ticket to their dream college course & that is very much part of the agenda here. But we also want to ensure that our students’ focus is not only on academics but also on the development of their person as a whole during their time with us. It is with this mission in mind that we have developed our Education for Life, Student Development Programme.
As part of this programme we organise several events throughout the school year for students to interact and socialise within the school environment. The programme is broken down into four themed pillars which tie into the various different focal points throughout the academic year. It is our goal for students to have a well-rounded school experience with us, so we arrange for guest speakers to inspire and motivate, career-themed information sessions, and charity events. Below you will find a snapshot of some of the initiatives that are an integral part of our Education for Life, Student Development Programme.
We want students to have fond memories of being a student here, so we make sure to include all the traditional senior cycle activities/ milestones that you would expect in school. So yes, we have a pre-debs, debs and of course a graduation! At the beginning of the school year, to help ease students into their new school environment, we arrange a comprehensive orientation week for students. This orientation includes, ice-breaking activities, mindset sessions, an opportunity to meet their new teachers and an informal pizza lunch. This orientation week is a fantastic way to help our students get to know one another.
Every January, we host our Careers Day for 5th and 6th Year students. The day is jam-packed with a variety of speakers from different industries. Some of our speakers include those from fields such as Law, Medicine, Sales, Finance, Education, Pharmacy, Science, Property, Recruitment, Fitness, and Marketing. The day is an interactive way for students to get a greater understanding of different areas of study and also discover career paths they may not have considered before. Feedback from the day is always excellent as it really gives our students an insight into what they can expect if they choose to pursue a given career.
We also have a partnership with our neighbours, FlyeFit gym, to help promote a healthy lifestyle for our students. Full-time day school students can avail of discounted monthly and annual membership. Students are able to build up to two hours of personal gym time into their weekly timetables which is hugely popular.
In March, we run a 6-week Pilates and Meditation Club for our 6th Year students. This creates an opportunity for them to take some time out and clear their minds as the exams approach.
Here are some of our Student Development Programme Events:
Our 5th Year Head, Ciarán Hartigan, runs the Debating Club at the Academy, who reached the semi-finals of the Leinster Schools Debating Championship in 2019. The club is a great way for students to not only develop their command of the English language but also to help build their confidence in public speaking.
Our Spanish teacher, Katie Lenehan runs a lunchtime Spanish Club for 5th and 6th Year students. This club provides students the opportunity to practice their conversational Spanish in a relaxed environment. Students who attend can also enjoy some Spanish food on occasion!
We also arrange a French Film Club for our 5th and 6th Year students at lunchtime. This is a great way for students to absorb some French in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
In late March, we hold a Lá na Gaeilge, which provided our 6th Year students the opportunity to spend a Saturday working on their spoken Irish with various examiners facilitating practice orals. Our Irish teachers are also on hand to provide a bootcamp-style session covering exam techniques.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CLUB
Our full-time students have the opportunity to join our ‘Personal Development Club’. The club which is run by Chris Lauder, founder of The Academy, and David Lewis, Maths and Biology teacher at The Academy, aims to teach students life skills that are generally not taught in schools. Chris and David have created worksheets and recorded podcasts so students can listen and complete the exercises in their own time if they cannot attend the club.