Seasons Greetings – a festivity of inconsistency! by Caitlin Dillon

Following our Halloween break, we returned to class conventionally on a Monday – depressing!

Throughout November and including December, we launched into a fresh and distinctive studies in English, History and Maths!

In the first week of November, Donald Trump and Joe Biden were featured on television, social media due to the vehemently potent election occurring in the United States of America. Trump absurdly pledged he would bear supremacy and the vanquishment of Biden would be held. Thankfully it was the opposite and Biden prevailed!

Whenever we were able to do PE, weather dependent, we would participate in the enjoyment of humorous and engaging sporting games. Repeatedly, we rehearsed passing and kicking balls to one another from short and long distances. Quite a number of individuals had a revelation of their sensational competence of these skills. Finding gratification in GAA we competed in teams and it was very enjoyable. On that note a massive congratulations to the Dublin Ladies football team, known as the Jackies who have won their fourth All Ireland Title in a row beating Cork in Croke Park on December 20th! We can all take inspiration from Captain Sinéad Aherne and her team of warriors! 

Traditionally in November, one whole week is dedicated to science with it given the appropriate title of Science Week. One of the experiments we conducted was on flowers, testing to see the affects of putting food colouring in the water and comparing it to flowers left in normal water. The flowers adapted quickly and changed to orange, blue, red and green individually. It was very interesting indeed!

As the progression of classes routinely remained, Mr O’Callaghan decided that we would be studying the award-winning novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. While some girls had read the novel already or had watched the film adaptation, they spoke very highly of it making me yearn to read it. Other girls were less than enthused but in true Mr O’Callaghan style, he didn’t give them an option, we all had to read it.

The inception of the tale features an inquisitive schoolboy, brimful of exploration and curiosity and who has a wonderful lifestyle with friends (Daniel, Karl and Martin) and just in general. That is up until an emergence of an opportunity for advancement in Bruno’s Father’s career, causing the family to shift to Poland. Commencing the voyage across the country, they arrive peacefully and from there on out Bruno despises his new home and demands a return to Berlin. While engaging in his love of exploration, Bruno unearths a boy quite non-identical but with share the same birthday and age. The boy, Shmuel, however is seen as a demonic nationality in the eyes of the protagonist Bruno. This new friend changes Bruno as a person as well as determining his fate. We all really enjoyed reading this novel and we developed our English writing skills by writing summaries about chapters as well as writing a book report on it, including our favourite characters. Being able to read the novel was a pleasure!

We were also tasked with creating a new book cover, check out some of our work below!

Whilst continuing our perusal of the novel, lessons were commenced in studying World War Two. One was eagerly exuberant to acquire knowledge in this compulsive yet brutal abomination that dreadfully arose in humanities history. While it was impossible to comprehend all the events of World War Two, we focused on, presumably, the major fragments. We absorbed information on how people coped during the war in Germany, Japan, Great Britain and Poland, studied how the Invasion of Poland by the Nazis, the Battle of Britain, the launching of Operation Barbarossa, the attack on Pearl Harbour, D-Day the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how Empire of Japan surrendered to America. Our whole class was intrigued by this extremely horrendous, yet thought provoking era in history. We also briefly viewed a video of an Auschwitz survivor and afterwards discussed the complexity of the issue. In conclusion studying WWII was very fascinating and being able to watch videos in colour really enabled our understanding of events.

 

With the ongoing pandemic, we are not allowed to do many of the fun things that previous 6th classes have been able to do like going to a reading of a new book. However we are adapting to this ‘new normal’ and with thanks to the Finglas Library, the two 6th classes had a Zoom call with author Megan Wynne. She told us of the struggles she had a writer growing up and how, due to a remarkable coincidence the idea ofher debut novel came to light. We have a few copies of the book in our class library and the girls who are reading it are thoroughly enjoying it!

On a more sorrowful note, one of our selfless classmates Davina departed St. Canice’s to a new school in Meath. As her final day arrived, we, as a class honoured our classmate of many years by celebrating ‘Davina Day.’ Mr O’Callaghan allowed her to pick her favourite activities in PE and later in the day we made her cards. When it was time to go home, we all said our goodbyes and wished her well in her new school.

Friday, December 11th was National Christmas Jumper Day and Ms White permitted us (if we wanted to) to wear a Christmas Jumper and bring in €2 to give to charity. The whole idea is to raise money for a selected charity during a year when charities have been hit hard. It was a great day with everyone in the festive spirit and altogether the school raised over €800 for Temple Street!

That same day as a reward, Ms White gifted all the girls in the school a Christmas annual for all our hard work. Given the day that was in it and with Mr. O’Callaghan being in a surprisingly good mood – we were able to work through our annuals and have a chat with our friends in class.

We dressed up again in our festive wears on the 17th of December to sing carols for the junior infants. This has been such a strange year for everybody especially the little junior infants who didn’t get to put on their Christmas show for their adoring parents. It was great seeing the joy and delight on their faces as we sang to them over Zoom.       

In closing, our class has gotten all too familiarised with the activity of distancing ourselves. A resemblance of normality has returned ever since our first day in September and we are all very excited for our Christmas break.

With that in mind, on behalf of myself, the ladies in room 21 as well as from Mr. O’Callaghan I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes for 2021!                                                                           Caitlin Dillon

The New Normal - by Alesia Tuca

Coming back to school was a big thing for almost all of us. There was a lot of mixed emotions on our first day way back in August. We felt anxious and excited while some us were even sad that all our free time was at an end!

It was initially a very strange day. We had to come into school through a new gate, we had to sanitise our hands coming in and out of the classroom and we had to sit in pods where we aren’t next to our friends anymore. We’re also not allowed mix with the other sixth class on yard which is still difficult as we’re all friends and would have played with each other during break times since we were in Junior Infants.

 

While all the new rules and procedures felt a bit overwhelming and weird, within a few days we got use to it very quickly and now it’s just routine!

In September we learned about the struggle black people have gone through to gain civil rights that we take for granted. We studied the impact that Martin Luther King had in 1960s America and how his influence is still felt today in recent Black Lives Matter movement. It was very upsetting to see how black people were treated by white people. From having separate water fountains to drink from and separate restaurants to eat in, black people’s lives were very much segregated from white people.

We had many classroom discussions about racism, it is shocking to think that people are still being mistreated because of their race. Racism does not only happen to black people, it happens to Asian people, indigenous people and even people who were born in a country but their ethnicity doesn’t match the country they live in. We realised that we all have a big part to play in fighting racism.

Bhíomar ag cleachtadh Gaeilge freisin. Rinneamar ciorcal cómhra ag scaradh sóisialta!

We practised a lot of Gaeilge too! We did a conversation circle at a social distance!

We also looked at the life of Anne Frank and the impact her diary has on keeping the story of how Jewish people were treated in WWII. Her story of her life was very interesting but it was also quite sad, especially when Mr O’Callaghan read out the last page of her diary.

 

With all the hard work we did and getting used to the new procedures in school and for being (generally) well behaved, Ms. White rewarded the whole school with a ‘Movie Day.’ It was a nice surprise and a well-earned reward! Mr. O’Callaghan was unusually nice and even allowed us to bring in a little treat to have while watching the movie! We watched Enola Holmes and we all really enjoyed it!   

As is tradition in the school, we all dressed up on the last day before Hallowe’en. Everyone made such an effort from Cos Play costumes to zombies, a ‘Dead Davina’ and even some babies (although that was mainly for comfort!) We all had a great day and without a doubt we all looked SPOOKTACULAR!!

I am really looking forward to seeing what the rest of sixth class brings!                                                                Alesia Tuca