All Ireland Athletics Success

Sportshall Athletics - All-IRELAND RUNNERS UP

The school’s Sportshall Athletics team was crowned All-Ireland Runners up for 2013. The journey started in the Louth Championships were they scrapped through due to their composure in the obstacle and over/under races. This put the boys into an All-Ireland qualifier in Athlone. This was probably the day when the team shone brightest and they cruised through to the All-Ireland Final beating strong counties like Meath and Offaly.

All roads led back to Athlone for the AlI-Ireland Finals. At the half-way stage we were trailing Donegal, Offaly and Leitrim. This left us with a lot of ground to make up in the field events.  Here we had record-breaking scores from Sean Hill in the speed bounce and javelin, Moyo Badun in the long jump and David Odomosu in the chest push. 

The results ceremony had the Louth contingent biting their nails. It was a great delight when Joseph Osobe was called upon to collect the Runners-Up Cup. It was a complete team performance which brought great celebrations in the school the following day.

Team: Joseph Osobe, Sean Hill, Saed Saciid, David Odomosu, Moyo Badun, Jordan Gonnelly, Alfred Ukpong, Sean Adegboye, Idris Agunbiade, Shea Leathem, Daniel Dosu.

Amy Broadhurst

Amy Broadhurst European Champion Returns to the School

In November last, Amy Broadhurst became the Under 17 European Junior Champion. Amy is a past pupil of St. Joseph’s. We are very proud of all her boxing achievements. At just aged 16, Amy of Dealgan Boxing Club, became the first Irish woman apart from Katie Taylor to win a major gold medal when she took the featherweight title. 

We, here in St. Joseph’s held a reception and invited Amy back into the school to show us her winning medal. The boys and girls watched Amy’s winning fight on the big screen in the G.P. room  and Amy was presented by Mr. Keenan with a school gaelic jersey. She got a fantastic reception by the children and was mobbed for autographs outside the school gate.

Amy was invited back into the school to unveil a picture of herself that now hangs proudly on the corridors of St. Josephs. 

St Joseph's School Choir

The school choir has been a part of the fabric of St. Joseph’s school for as long as I can remember. Alongside sport and drama it has provided the children involved with the opportunity to explore non-academic areas of skill and expertise where they may excel. It has also provided the school with a public face, which is always positive and affirming. And it has fulfilled the necessary but often difficult task of providing comfort to parents, pupils and staff members in times of bereavement.

Being a member of the choir is not always easy or enjoyable. From the horrors of the audition, to the sometimes boring grind of practices and eventually to the thrill and enjoyment of performance, can be a long road. In an age of increasing demand for instant gratification, this can be a valuable learning experience for those involved. Not all stay the pace, but those who do find it very rewarding, especially in retrospect. And, of course, there is always the annual choir BBQ to look forward to! 

School Choir 2011

Some previous members have gone on to more professional performance – notably Aideen Mc Comish, Dawn Martin, Paul McGee (not the teacher!) Alan Foran and possibly others, of whom I am not aware. But for the majority, it simply provides lessons in perseverance, musical skills, social skills, self-confidence and happy memories of school life.  

Over the years the choir has competed in choral festivals in Dundalk, Navan and Newry; taken part in the National Children’s Choir, with some members eventually performing in the National Concert Hall; provided the music for First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies; performed at parish Christmas concerts and carol-singing events in local shopping centres (the most memorable being when 250 children, plus chairs, took up the centre aisle of the Dundalk Shopping Centre and yours truly conducted, dressed as an angel!); sung at the Hallelujah concerts in the Point Depot, Dublin; joined with other school choirs from the area to sing with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland; performed at many in-school events such as Christmas concerts, school musical productions and the opening of the Multi Media Centre and provided some of the music for my own wedding. The choir has also been there to assist in very sad times by providing the music at funerals of pupils, past-pupils and parents. It is a privilege to be able to do this.

Amidst all of this, however, two events stand out as highpoints. Firstly, the pinnacle of achievement has to have been our involvement with Liam Reilly, of Bagatelle, when he wrote and recorded two songs with the choir in 1991. The experience of learning/singing his specially written four-part music, spending a long and tough day in Frank McNamara’s recording studio in Dunshaughlin and eventually listening to our own professionally produced work was enriching and invaluable to me and hopefully to all who were involved. Through this, we were also invited to perform on the Late, Late Christmas radio show, meeting the infamous Joe Duffy. The recording was played around Christmas time for years afterwards by Ray Stone of LMFM and a current member of staff reminisced recently about how she herself learned the song while attending another Dundalk primary school. This makes me feel old. We also now have a member of that choir working in St. Joseph’s as a teacher. Ms. Cleary says that it is a most unusual feeling to be singing along with her 12 year old self! 

The other great event was, of course, the visit of American President, Bill Clinton, to Dundalk in December 2000. The school was invited to select ten children from the choir to accompany Brian Kennedy in singing Danny Boy for the President at the outdoor event to take place in the town centre. It’s hard to put into words the intensity, the excitement and the euphoria of that occasion. It was a whirlwind of preparation, press interviews, shopping for new uniforms, security checks, sound checks and all over the course of five days. The day itself – 12th December  - was very long for us, as we were obliged to be in the secure area backstage before lunchtime and the president did not arrive until 8:30p.m. However, the party atmosphere and the feeling of being privileged in mixing with the likes of Dónal Lunny, Brian Kennedy, Altan and our own Liam Reilly again was just wonderful. Everyone was extremely nice to the children and, as usual, they excelled themselves as ambassadors of the school. My own memories of the event include the awe-inspiring sight of 60,000 people watching our students perform; the vision of a clear, cloudless sky and a full moon rising behind President Clinton as he spoke; the thrilling and nervous anticipation of meeting and speaking with Chelsea, Hilary and Bill Clinton himself and the constant flashing of camera bulbs from the World Press Stand while we did so. Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming magnetism and personal charisma of this man who could look you in the eye and make you feel so special. He was unhurried, unfussed and appeared genuinely interested in all of us – a consummate politician! The kudos for the school was enormous. Local, national and international press and T.V. coverage peaked with a photograph of some of the children with the Clintons on the front page of the New York Times. Coming back down to earth in the few days afterwards was difficult, but the whole episode was brilliantly captured in the words of Darren Doogan, one of the ten students, when he described it as a “wicked buzz”!

For me personally, just as for the children involved, working with the school choir has been an up-and-down experience – at times pressurised and tense, but mostly fulfilling and rewarding. It has kept me going when I sometimes felt like changing career and has even provided me with spiritual solace in difficult times. Most of all, it has given me the privilege of working with great children and being part of the good experiences they have in the course of their education.

Muirne Lawlor

Music Generation Project - Songlines

In May 2013, Music generation Louth selected St. Joseph's School as a pilot group to try out their new publication "Songlines". Ms. Kennedy offered to teach the songs to her 6th class students with the assistance of 2 visiting teachers, Clare McEvoy (Singing) and Síle Daly (composition, percussion and performance). Our students really enjoyed this treat towards the end of their time here in St. Joseph's and, as usual, they excelled with their performance at the launch in the Old Gaol, Dundalk. 

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