Public Speaking
Speaking in public can be quite a daunting prospect for a lot of people because they feel self conscious and uncomfortable. In Transition Year we encourage our students to conquer this fear by taking part in Public Speaking competitions organised by Toastmasters and the Cork Mental Health Foundation. In Toastmasters, students are encouraged to write speeches on any topic that interests them. The speeches must be informative and entertaining so humour is always appreciated. The Mental Health Public Speaking competition has a dual purpose. It requires students to use their research skills and their communication skills, while at the same time highlighting the importance of looking after their mental health. It is an excellent way of helping to remove the stigma attached to mental illness. In the Presentation Secondary School, academic achievement is important but we always remember that we are educating people, not just third level candidates. We strive to give students a true education, which is why we try to equip students with life skills. Promoting positive mental health and encouraging students to seek help if they have a problem will make students better able to cope with the challenges of life.

Build a Bank
Transition Year students compete in the National Build a Bank challenge annually. This challenge gives students the brief to come together as a team and run their own bank. This is run in association with a local bank who will support them through the challenge of setting up and operating a bank, from taking lodgements to keeping financial records – in fact, everything it takes to run a bank. Through the challenge, the students develop key business and literacy skills as well as important interpersonal skills such as interview techniques, leadership and teamwork. Students compete at a regional event with about 25 other schools and won the Best Customer Service Award last year.

The Mini-Company programme creates a learning environment designed to help develop skills and abilities in students, that will enhance the overall mission and aims of Transition Year. Students develop personality traits such as responsibility, leadership, confidence, self-reliance, and creativity. Students will experience the success and failures of their mini-company venture through simulating a “real-life” experience, from setting up the company to winding it down. Presentation Secondary School have over the last 3 years developed three very successful mini-companies that have not only generated healthy profits but have won awards at trade fairs.

Young Social Innovators
This Young Social Innovators competition was set up by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy to encourage students all over Ireland to highlight social problems at home and abroad. They are also encouraged to come up with an innovative response to these issues. The projects undertaken are diverse and cover topics like the Third World, health, safety, poverty etc. Over the last few years our Transition Years, have tackled bullying and the Millennium Development Goals for the Third World. This year they are looking at Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. They plan to raise awareness about this issue and to raise money for the Mater Hospital which provides screening for the families of victims of SAD.

Challenge to Change
The Presentation Order was set up by Nano Nagle to help the poor of Ireland the Challenge to Change project carries on this tradition by encouraging students from Presentation schools all over Ireland to try to make the world a better place. The Presentation Secondary School has been delighted to be a part of this project because it has enabled us to forge links with schools in the Mbula communities in Uganda. Mitchelstown has been involved with Partners in Learning for a number of years and this initiative has involved Transition Year students visiting Uganda and Ugandan students visiting our school last year. This year our Challenge to Change project involves making our school more environmentally friendly by encouraging students to recycle. We have also introduced a wormery which will provide us with compost that we can use to plant trees and shrubs around our school. We will fundraise to send trees to the Mbula community to emphasise the importance of trees to our environment.

Cork Schools’ History Project
The Cork Schools’ History project has been in existence since 2006 and the Presentation Secondary School has always enjoyed huge success. For the past three years we have won prizes in the Junior Cert category for projects on places of local historical significance like New Square, Kingston College and St. Fanahan’s Well. In 2008/09 our Second Years took first place in the Junior Cert Class section for a project on Mitchelstown Caves and got a prize of a trip to Dublin. On this trip they visited places of historical significance like Kilmainham Gaol and went on the Viking Splash tour of Dublin. This year our Second Year history students are again taking part in this competition and we wish them good luck.