Belvedere College - Subject Department

Parents’ Association

Parents’ Association

Parents and guardians play a key role in the life of the community in the College and we welcome volunteers from the parent body to partake in the many activities which take place during the academic year. Parents from all years are represented on the Belvedere College Parents' Association however all volunteers are welcome in all areas via the Parents' Association.

Should you wish to contact the Parents' Association please send an email to our secretary Bernice Rocca here


1.) PA Committee Members 2020-21

2.) PA Constitution

2020-2021 Events

Minding ourselves and our families at Christmas- Pat Coyle

Pat Coyle is an award winning journalist (Channel 4 and RTE) and has worked as a producer and presenter for RTE television, RTE radio, Channel 4 and UTV. She has also worked in print journalism. She is currently working as Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Ireland and has developed their communications strategy by producing and presenting video and podcast interviews for their websites and social media platforms.

Pats talk on minding ourselves and our families at Christmas was enlightening, it was full of humour and self-depreciation delivered by a most engaging and kind person.
Although this talk was given prior to Christmas all that Pat spoke about is even more relevant now as we continue to navigate the constant difficulties posed by Covid 19.
The talk began with the concept of self-care, the true self is made up of body, mind, heart and Spirit. In the 10 commandments the first commandment is You must Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second is to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.

Self care sometimes means me first, but it usually means me too. It does not mean not me at all!! We have to remember to look after ourselves its SELF care not EGO care! Ask yourself ‘What is going on for me right now’?

Live one day at a time and take note of the Chinese proverb:
‘That the birds of worry hover above your head – this you cannot change – that you build a nest for them in your hair that is your choice.’\

There is no magic recipe, no one size fits all formula for self care. We each have a guide, and that guide is within us. We need to pay attention to ourselves and ask the question: What do I need to do to take loving, responsible care of myself in this situation? Then we need to listen for the answer and have the courage to follow through once we hear it.

Some useful guiding principles of the talk were to: Rest when you are tired, eat well when you are hungry, call a friend when you are lonely, ask God to help when you feel overwhelmed.
She also spoke of the importance of laughter that it is powerful. “Laugher can give you access to a truth that reason cannot”. Think about that.
One final takeaway from her presentation was to ‘Praise young people and they will thrive’.

Pat Coyle is a practitioner in the field of spiritual leadership. She lectures on spirituality and its meaning for everyday life, covering addiction, decision making, and the simple human need for something more than the material life. She is also a qualified Spiritual Direction counsellor.
Thanks very much to all involved and to all who attended.

Nutrition and healthy eating for parents and teens Brendan Egan PHD

Dr Brendan Egan is Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology at the School of Health and Human Performance.

Outside of academia, through his sporting career as an inter-county Gaelic footballer, Brendan has had a lifelong association with sport, training and performance at all levels of competition from grassroots to elite level, and also practices as a performance nutritionist with emphasis on team sport athletes.
The challenge of maintaining metabolic health during the current global pandemic was discussed. In accordance with the current level 5 restrictions, most of us are working from home and more inclined to be indoors due to bad weather. Comfort eating and boredom is leading to increased anxiety and stress levels as well as disturbed sleep.
We are all aware of the food pyramid and the need for more vegetables, salads and fruit. Try to limit processed foods and decrease your salt, fat and sugar intake, keep an eye on portion size and increase physical activity levels. Small changes can make a huge difference (even something like drinking more water). Fluid intake can also come from tea, coffee, soups, smoothies etc.

2 simple guiding principles for food choices:
• Just eat real food – eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible
• If it’s packaged – check the label

Nutrition for active teens
It’s a good idea to try to have protein intake spread more evenly throughout the day. Try to include some protein in breakfast, lunch and dinner. High protein dairy can be used as an option of protein intake for breakfast as well as oats and eggs. Meat, fish, eggs and dairy are all sources of protein whilst soya, tofu, beans and lentils are also rich in protein.

After intense training sessions or matches the body has a 2 hour window of opportunity in which to repair and recover, try to have a meal of some kind within 30 minutes. Recognise low, moderate and high intensity training days.

There was a short discussion on protein powder, Brendan advised that there is nothing to be found in protein powder that is not in real food and that most of the time it is dried milk/whey/cheese that is reconstituted with water. Brendan would advocate FOOD FIRST APPROACH always.

Key principles and practices for young athletes
• Recognise the difference between low, moderate and high intensity training days and eat for specific energy needs on these days
• Eat 6+ portions of fruit and vegetables (smoothies and soups are great option)
• Aim for quality protein at every meal (especially at breakfast and after training
• Monitor hydration and try to drink 2 -3 litres of water every day (for every hour of training / competing we require at least 1 extra litre of fluid on that day)
• FUEL up well for training and competition – that means a focus on carbohydrate rich foods with last meal 2 – 3 hours beforehand
• Focus on getting good recovery as much as possible - especially after intense training sessions, that means sleep, rest and making good food choices.

Eating well will benefit both our health and performance. Whilst we don’t always want to be counting calories we must be calorie aware and eat quantities of food that are appropriate to our energy needs. When it comes to junk food remember the law of Paracelsus “all things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous”.

Managing wellbeing during a crisis- Stella O' Malley

Thank you to everyone who attended the talk by renowned psychotherapist Stella O’Malley titled ‘Managing wellbeing during a crisis’
This was our first occasion to host a talk online and we were delighted by the large attendance of parents during what was an incredibly honest, informative and engaging presentation. Stella’s words inspired us all and gave us lots to think about as well as some great suggestions.

She spoke about the 4 parenting styles – Authoritarian, Permissive, Uninvolved and Authoritative. There were plenty of examples and anecdotes throughout the presentation.
Humans are bundles of habits, the more we smile, the more smiling becomes a habit. The more we worry, the more worrying becomes a habit. The more we work too much the easier it is to work too much and the more we feel happy the easier it is to be happy.

Stella spoke about digital hygiene in the house and the analogy of getting into the habit of eating too many take aways for weeks on end, eventually we need to break this habit and eat healthy. We also need to create a place for technology - phones, ipads, consoles etc and create strict boundaries around their use in our homes. She is a big advocate of placing parental controls and locks that shutdown devices. Circle, Our Pact etc.

Anxiety was the most common mental health issue in Ireland in 2019. There are 4 steps required when trying to manage our childs wellbeing during a crisis.
1. Clarify what exactly is wrong. Ask lots of questions gently probing in order to pinpoint what’s really going on
2. Communicate what is wrong and get a reaction (it might just be a shrug of shoulders or a nodding of head) but it will be a physical reaction
3. Connect with them, show them you understand what they are going through
4. Show solidarity – what can we do? Work together to help them make a plan
The most important response you can make with someone is to connect.

Thanks very much to all involved, there was a huge amount of work behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of this event.

Link to Article


An Introduction to Sustainability

By Patricia Kane

Pat Kane is the founder of Reuzi, a one stop shop for minimal waste lifestyle. Reuzi’s mission is to spread the word about sustainability. Pat works with small businesses, corporates, schools and private enterprises. She completed a business sustainability course with the University of Cambridge.
What is sustainability? In its simplest definition it is ‘To ensure a safe and just space for humanity – a planet on which all humans can thrive without compromising the ability of the planet to keep sustaining life’.
We can start by making a few changes here and there in our day to day lives. No one person is going to make a change, but lots of small changes will make a big difference.
Can we ensure our rubbish is disposed of correctly in our bins?  Food waste goes into composting bins. Only place recyclable items into recycling bins. Other general waste into bins. An important message to remember when recycling is not to squash lots of items into a box. All items should be placed separately into the recycling bin.
Did you know?
• 25% of all waste in Ireland is FOOD waste
• Each one of us creates 57.9KG (128 lbs) of waste
• Only 34% of plastic waste is recycled
• Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in the EU per capita
• Top 3 items of litter Cigarettes 54.4%, Packaging items 18.2%, Sweets & food litter 18.1%

Food Waste
In Ireland 1 in every 5 kids go to bed hungry, 1 in every 8 adults experience food poverty, €700 worth of food is thrown out of households per year and 25% of all waste in Ireland is food waste. We have to do something to change this. On the one hand we are talking about food poverty and hunger in Ireland and yet 25 % of our waste is food waste.
Can we please rethink the ways in which we shop for groceries and also the way in which we plan our meals so that we use all items prior to them going off.

Textile Industry
We are all aware of greenhouse gases but what most of us may not know is that the textile industry is responsible for 8% – 10% of all greenhouse gases. According to Pat the emissions released by making 1 t-shirt equate to driving a car for 35 miles. Imagine.?

Remember the following when trying to be more sustainable

We were also joined by members of the Green Schools Committee Oisin Keating McDermot, James McDonagh, Devin Synott and Dylan Birthistle who each gave an overview of the phenomenal work the Committee undertakes in supporting a greener environment within Belvedere College. We were given an insight into the Urban Farm, Biodiversity and the work that goes into achieving and maintaining the 5 Green Flags. In 2020 Belvedere College was awarded the Green Flag for Biodiversity. This means the school has a total of 5 green flags having been awarded them for Energy, Water, Litter, Waste and finally Biodiversity. To read more about this please visit Green schools update.


Teenagers – Alcohol and Drugs
Advice for Parents
Notes from a talk by Professor Jim Lucey

Professor Jim Lucey is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and a Consultant Psychiatrist at St. Patricks University Hospital, Dublin. He has over thirty years’ experience in clinical and academic psychiatry. Professor Lucey communicates regularly in the national media.
For parents of Belvedere College, the objective of the presentation was to answer the below questions:
1. What is addiction?
2. What should I know?
3. What can I do?
Professor Lucy used a range of slides throughout his presentation, what follows is a parent’s summary.

Click here to download

2019-20 Events

PA Present New Student Council Ties to Council Members

The Parents’ Association were delighted to present the Student Council with the new Student Council ties.

The PA look forward to increased collaboration with the Student Council and supporting them in any way we can to improve the student experience in Belvedere College S.J.

We have previously given funding to student groups and will continue to do so. In future, these requests will come through the Student Council. The PA will also ask the Student Council for their input on PA initiatives and on occasion ask that they survey pupils to ensure the idea is something the student body actually want and will support. The PA want to actively encourage this close collaboration with the Student Council to ensure that PA funding is spent on initiatives that have the support of the entire student body.

In Belvedere House representing some of the new Student Council - Barra McCluskey, Marzuq Lawal, Charlie McHugh, Fiach Fullam, Stephan Farrell, Vincent Lin, Garret Molloy, Ben Connelly, Joseph MacLochlainn, Seán Brady and Oisin Keating Mac Dermott with Gerry Foley, Tom Doyle, Karin Ennis and Claire Burke Vice Chair and PA rep for the Student Council.

PA Host a Talk on Positive Mental Health for Teenagers

Breda Broderick -Elements Rep, Professor John Sharry & Karin Ennis- PA Chair

The Parents’ Assoication hosted their second talk of the year on Tuesday, the 4rd of March. Professor John Sharry presented the topic ‘Positive Mental Health for Teenagers’.

Professor Sharry is a social worker and child & family psychotherapist with over 27 years of experience working with individuals, families and organisations.

There was large attendance at this event with many parents keen to hear from Professor Sharry. He spoke candidly about teenage years being very difficult times for our young men. Teenagers are under a huge amount of stress and it is important to remember as parents not to take it personally!

What can we as parents do to help foster positive mental health for our sons?

The primary function as a parent is to stay connected with our teenager, chat to them, try and build a connection, teach responsibility and empower them.

He spoke about building an ‘emotional piggy bank’ with deposits and withdrawals. We need to manage conflict well and remember to press the pause button and think before we react. As parents the largest element that we can control is to build a warm relationship with our children, but we also need to be a person of authority in their lives.

The talk was informal with plenty of participation from the audience. There were lots of examples and anecdotes which made for a most enjoyable evening. We hope to have another talk by John again in the future as the level of positive feedback from the evening was overwhelming. Many thanks to everyone for attending and to Breda Broderick and Annmarie Carmody for organising the event.

Should you like further information this can be found John Sharry’s web site:

Click below to watch a short video from Dr Cliodhna O Connor on findings from the My World survey- Improving youth mental health in Ireland.

We have also compiled a list of web sites and contact numbers where you can access information on other mental health services in Ireland.

National Office for Suicide prevention

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services CAMHS phone 1800 111 888

Samaritans phone (free call) 116 123

Childline 1800 66 66 66, free text Talk to 50101

New Crisis Text line Ireland 086 1800 280. Open 24:7

Click HERE to access the Amber Flag poster promoting positive mental health was displayed around the College directing students to the many supports that are available both within and outside school.

PA Host a Talk on Drug Awareness

Speaker: Garda Greg McGovern, Juvenile Liaison Officer, Store Street, Garda Station

The Parents’ Association (PA) hosted their first talk of 2020 on Wednesday, 5th February. Garda Greg McGovern very kindly gave of his time to present the talk.

There was great attendance from Elements all the way up to Rhetoric parents. Greg started off by giving a presentation detailing the various types of drugs, along with their makeup, origins, side effects and the physical signs of using them.

There was a huge amount of information on the night with the overriding theme being the importance of communication between parents and their sons, which includes checking in with them regularly to make sure that they are okay. Greg also spoke about the need for positive role models in our children’s lives, be it a sports coach, parent, relation, teacher, etc. There were many questions on the night with frank and open discussion.

Should you require further information, help can be accessed at:

 An Garda Síochána Drugs Awareness fact sheet. (see health)
 HSE - “Alcohol and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide”
 HRB National Drugs Library on Health Research Board website.
 Page 27 of the Student Journal (parents are asked at the beginning of the school year to read and sign the code of behaviour)
Belvedere Parents Handbook specifically page 35 to 36
SPHE modules on the Belvedere website. Topics covered include alcohol and substance abuse
Belvedere Parent Resources – Alcohol and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide
 Crosscare Drug & Alcohol Programme (DAP) 01 8360 911
 Teenline 1800 833 634
 Childline 1800 666 666
 Yourmentalhealth
 Parent Line 1890 927 277
 No Name Club

Thank you to everyone involved in organising this event and to all for attending. A special word of thanks to Garda McGovern.

PA Unveil New Piano 5th December 2019

There was quite a bit of excitement in the lead up to Christmas when the Parents’ Association donated a piano to the College. On numerous occasions we have all walked through the foyer to the sounds of music reverberating throughout the school. With its history so entwined with the arts we thought it a fitting presentation and a lovely opportunity for anyone passing the piano to give an impromptu performance. For this very reason the piano has been placed in the foyer where it is accessible to every single student and member of staff who might be inclined to belt out a tune as they are passing. In fact there has even been a few random singalongs as well as some hidden talents discovered! It is a wonderful way for the students to come together and unwind while playing the piano.

Here is a video of our students playing Bohemian Rhapsody on the day the piano was set up in the foyer.

The accompanying photograph shows Chairperson of the Parents’ Association, Karin Ennis making the presentation along with Fr Paddy Greene, Deputy Headmaster Tom Doyle, Daniel Dunne and Aisling Bridgeman from the Music Department, Esther Hoban, PA Secretary and Claire Burke, Vice Chair with music students from the College.

We would like to thank Fiona O’ Byrne for all her work and research into procuring the piano.

Elements Parents Social Evening
Elements Parents Social Evening with parents, teachers and members of this year’s PA including Karin Ennis, PA Chair 2019/2020

Weatherwise, Monday 14th of October was a horrible day, it seemed to rain incessantly. However, at 6pm the rain had stopped and by 7pm the parents of Elements students made their way to the Ref for the Social Evening.

Upon checking in, parents were greeted with a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine!

It was lovely to watch as parents mingled and spoke to one another; making new friendships, rekindling old ones and swapping stories and anecdotes about their sons first weeks in Belvedere College - relieved to hear that their sons were getting on well and settling into school. Laughter abounded as parents learned that their sons weren’t the only ones to have misplaced a jumper, a book or a pair of shoes! Parents passed on all sorts of information to each other on this wonderful informal night.

A special word of thanks to Paul Bryce, Deputy Principal and Karin Ennis, Chairperson of the Parents’ Association who both spoke on the evening and to Headmaster Gerry Foley for welcoming all on the night.

Every class should by now have set up a WhatsApp group for each of the six year groups: Aylmer, Finlay, Kenney, Loyola, Scully and Xavier. This is a helpful way for parents to share information with each other.

We were delighted by the large attendance on the night. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their help. It was a great evening had by all.

-PA Committee 2019-2020

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