Monthly Archives: February 2012

Desmond Factor 2012

February 20, 2012

The Desmond Factor has become an annual event for Newcastle West over the last seven years. It is true to say that each year, the event becomes more professional due to the dedication and hard work of the teachers and the students that are involved.

This year, Desmond College decided to run the show for two nights and also hold a matinee performance for the local primary schools. At each show the audience were treated to a huge variety of performances, catering for many areas of the arts. Thursday Night, saw 30 acts perform including winners from the past. Edyta Soltys, Leanne Quilligan, Alicia Magner, Vincent Markham, Leon Bourke and Laura Fitzpatrick all graced the stage. The Desmond Factor Diaspora, combined with our current talented pupils, performed to 400 people for the Variety Show Night.

On Friday afternoon, local primary school children were treated to a sample of the acts. It was an exciting show as many little sisters and brothers grew in pride as they watched their siblings perform on stage. The children returned to their primary schools with dreams in their hearts of the day they too will take to the stage and perform at the Desmond Factor!

On Friday evening, the event came to a climax with Competition Night. In all 25 acts performed in front of a packed crowd of 530 people and 3 judges. We were delighted and honoured that Denis Allen (Writer of the famous song Limerick you’re my Lady) was able to join us as one of our judges. The other judges were well known dance co-ordinator and producer, Niamh Toomey along with Ola Goodman from Limericks School of Dance.

There were 6 categories of prizes, with a winner and runner up in each. The judges really had their work cut out for them as there were so many truly gifted performers.

The overall winner on the Desmond Factor was a wonderful and unique performance by James O’Connor on the Bodhran playing Avicci Level combined with dance music. It was a truly stunning and popular performance.

Group winners included Niamh Nolan, TY Drama (The Witches), Anastasija Kostockina (gymnastics and ballet combined), Rachel O’Mahony, Robert Toomey and The Show Goes On (Jeff Kadima, Van Mambouana and Damian Frackowiak).

Runners up in each category were Gemma Lacey, Shauna Cronin and Sarah Enright, Adrenalin dance (choreographed by Suan Murphy and 3rd year girls), Rose Magner, and the Republic of Desmond (drama sketch).

Dance Group ‘Adrenalin’ and Drama Sketch ‘Republic of Desmond’ both dedicated their win to their dear friend Darra O’Donovan who passed away in December.

Each performance would not have been out of place on any talent competition aired on any television station. It was a credit to the students, parents, teachers and the wider community, to have a production of such magnitude and a calibre of student that can perform the arts to such a wonderful level.

The show was made all the more special by the wonderful presenters on both nights. This difficult job was professionally done by the beautiful Nicola O’Brien and the charming Tom Flavin.

Special recognition must go to the gifted Daniel Cremin, for putting together the ‘X- Factor’ style introduction for each act. It was a master piece of technical ability.

We are already looking forward to our show next year!

Operation Transformation

February 8, 2012

‘Get Fit & Beat the Bleep’ was a challenge for first year secondary students on The John Murray Show in association with Dublin City University. Our First Years were involved in this six week challenge which required students to take a ‘Bleep Test’, and undertaking special training to improve their fitness levels with Ms. Quaid, Ms. Ryan, and Mr. McCarthy. This challenge proved a worthwhile experience for all involved; the student’s fitness and health was seen to improve greatly over this six week period. Student’s truly witnessed the positive effects and enjoyment of an active lifestyle.

Students from Desmond College 2012 taking part in Operations Transformation Beat the Bleep


“On the 7th of February we did a ‘Bleep Test’ for the first time in school. It was very difficult without any previous training and the majority of us did quite badly – we needed to improve our fitness levels immediately!! We spent the next 6 weeks training by running on the Great Southern Railway Tracks twice a week and by having fitness classes in the school gym. The training started out with short slow runs but we built up speed and endurance, week by week. On the 27th of March we re-did the ‘Bleep Test’ and there was a huge improvement in our fitness levels. I found this experience very fulfilling and I had a great time in the training sessions.”


February 4, 2012

On Friday the 4th of Feb the wettest day of the year the Transition Year students braved gale force winds on the long trip to Knock.

We were going to Knock Youth Ministry on our class retreat. We didn’t know what to expect yet we were very excited, some of us feared we’d be in mass all day or praying in silence, but we were pleasantly surprised.

We were taken on a guided tour of Knock Shrine to see the actual site of the Apparition and heard details of the events around the evening it took place. We visited Knock Museum where we took a step back in time and saw how our counterparts lived at the time of Apparition in 1879 and saw artefacts and accounts from the witnesses of the Apparition.

We also met with people from the Cenacolo community. Cenacolo is a centre for young recovering drug addicts who are overcoming their difficulties through sharing in a community of faith. The young people shared their story of how they fell into the drug trap and how faith has been an important part of their recovery.

We ended the day with a time of reflection and prayer. A silent space was created where we could experience God with the aid of meditation and music. It took us four hours to come home but we all agree that it was a very worthwhile and enlightening experience.