Over the course of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning more than 1000 parents, pupils, past pupils and members of the local community were present at the two 2016 Dominican Christmas Carol services.
For weeks, under the care of Mr Cloughley, Mrs Campbell, Mrs Culbertson and Miss Doherty our Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Senior chamber choirs had rehearsed the varied musical programme of classic and contemporary carols.
Most people left Star of the Sea church uplifted with a sense of the true spirit of Christmas. The inclusive nature of our school was reflected in the readings by pupils who have celebrated Christmas in a diverse range of places worldwide.
The staff of Dominican College would like to take this opportunity to wish all our pupils and their families a very happy Christmas.
Mr Eugene Kelly was a welcome returning visitor to Dominican College on Tuesday 13th December on behalf of our local branch of Saint Vincent DePaul. He described his joy at seeing all the gifts of toys and hampers which pupils had worked so hard again to collect in the Dominican foyer. He told pupils that the drive for social justice is more evident in our than anywhere else and reminded them that, in the midst of harsh austerity measures like the recent cut in benefits, we need to try to help the poor as best we can. He explained that the role of SVP is to give people in need back a little dignity and read a poem entitled “The Other Side of Christmas” written by a local primary school pupil.
The poem asked the provocative question- do you ever think of the other side of Christmas- with its images of famine, disease, war and suffering and concluded that: “Not everyone sees Christmas the way you do”.
He told pupils that the SVP society are active in more than 167 countries and how they have recently helped with crises in areas such as Nepal and Syria.
Eugene explained the types of spiritual, financial and material help given at a local level by the SVP and how all the visits and donations to more than 120 local homes; “Are only made possible by you”. Of the £10,500 raised last year, assistance was given to local people in need in the form of cash, oil, gas, coal and gifts and vouchers at this most difficult time of year and throughout the year the SVP group locally was able to organise events such as senior outings, Christmas lunches, clothing drives and sharing funds.
Concluding yesterday’s assembly Eugene thanked Dominican pupils and their families for their “astounding generosity” and all the money they had raised both during the toy and hamper appeals and during the sponsored walk which would “ help alleviate what goes on on the other side of Christmas”.
“From the bottom of our hearts we wish to thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to support the work of SVP. This year you have surpassed our expectations. Please keep it up.”
Well done to Mrs Willighan, Miss Smyth and the RE Department for their leadership in this work and to all members of our junior and senior SVP groups for leading by example.
Pupils from all years in the school are going through their final rehearsals for this Year’s annual Dominican Christmas Carol Service. Mr Terry Cloughley and his musical team are working incredibly hard to ensure that this year’s Carol Service matches the stunning successes of our recent events.
Mr Cloughley promises a wide and varied of musical styles and a balance of traditional beautiful choral music and more modern and contemporary Christmas carols and our RE Department are working hard to complement the wonderful music in a liturgical celebration which will reflect the unique and diverse nature of our school community in words and symbolism.
All members of the wider Dominican family, friends of the school, past pupils and members of Star of the Sea parish will be warmly welcomed at the event which, in recent years, has seen the church full to capacity.
The Carol Service for members of the public will be in St Mary’s Star of The Sea at 7.30 pm on the evening of Tuesday 20th December and we would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our Dominican family and the wider community a very happy Christmas and to invite them to what will be a stunning evening of song and music.
The Carol Service for our own school pupils will be on at 11.00 am on Wednesday 21st December- whilst members of the public are invited to this also- seating will be limited.
A current parent wrote the following words about last years’ service -
“I went to the Carol concert this year for the first time and thank goodness I did. It was stunning, simply stunning. I found it incredibly beautiful and deeply moving ... if I can help it, I’ll never miss it again. Please pass on my congratulations to your talented students – I realise that an incredible amount of work has gone into what was a perfect, effortless concert”
Please come along on the evening of the 20th to escape the stresses and strains of the festive season and to revel and relax in what will be a beautiful Carol service harnessing the talents of approximately a third of our pupils as we approach the eve of our centenary celebrations which will conclude in the 2017 Carol Service.
The school would like to thank Fr Austin and the Parishioners of Star of the Sea for enabling us to use the church and for all the support we have received throughout this year of their centenary.
On Friday 18th November, two teams from Dominican College Portstewart travelled to North Coast Integrated College in Coleraine. One Year 8 and one Year 9 team competed in the NEBSSA Camogie Blitz. Both teams showed great team work playing against North Coast Integrated, St. Joseph's College and Sperrin Integrated, Magherafelt.
DCP's Year 8 team displayed great skill and determination throughout all games and were delighted to reach the final of their first camogie competition. They were defeated by a very strong and worthy winning St. Joseph's College team, all schools involved showed great skill and grew in confidence throughout the day.
The Year 9 team for DCP began their winning campaign early and showed their vibrant skills throughout the day. Their teamwork and positivity grew as the day progressed and were very happy to reach the final after their very tight drawing match against Sperrin Integrated, Magherafelt. It was very evident that both school teams had a variety of talented players and the final would be a great display of camogie. Sperrin Integrated, Magherafelt were brilliant opponents and the girls were delighted to come away with the trophy after a very tough fought game.
The competition was brilliantly organised and promoted the sport of camogie at the highest level. A huge thank-you to Ms McGarry and Mrs Creelman at North Coast Integrated College for organising the blitz.