'Lights, camera, action' - Offaly school live streams Transition Year open night


Students and teachers who took part in the live stream

It has been lights, camera, action at the Sacred Heart School as Transition Year students have been hard at work preparing their exclusively student-led live stream for their Transition Year Open Night.

The TY Open Night is normally held on school grounds where parents of prospective students are invited to look at the exemplar work done in Transition Year.

Due to Covid restrictions with the dismay of the students, the event had been cancelled. That was, until the current students felt a duty to continue the tradition irrespective of the lengths they had to go to.

Some of the team that brought the stream to pass include students Emily O’Brien, Doretea Bukvic, and Claire Hendy.

Claire outlined: “The 2020 Open Night was the moment many of us decided we wanted to do TY. We felt that our 3rd Year classmates should experience that moment and we wanted them to understand why the Transition Year programme is a unique experience here at the Sacred Heart School.”

The live stream event premiered on Thursday 20th. Anyone who missed the live stream should not worry as the recorded broadcast has been made available on the Sacred Heart School’s social media accounts.

Doretea stated: “This streaming project didn’t come without its challenges but we knew we had to do something to bring the Open Night to life while also breaking some of the misconceptions attributed to the TY programme.”

Emily commented: “Transition Year nationwide often gets a bad reputation as a year where students don’t do anything. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Emily added: “In fact, we had complete ownership of the Open Night streaming project. It was our responsibility to delegate large groups of people. I personally had to learn how to report, edit and make decisions about sound effects, camera angles all while collaborating with other TY co-ordinators and that was all before lunch.”

Claire echoed Emily’s words: “Whether the project is a success or not falls on us. In a sense, we were thrown in the deep end, but it is from these experiences that you learn the most. It is what makes Transition Year unique.”

Doretea agreed: “I believe these experiences will stay with me long beyond my time in secondary school. I’m just glad I got to do it in the Sacred Heart School.”

Emily concluded: “These are memories that will last forever. Whoever says that TY is a throwaway year does not realise the extent of possibilities the year provides. The live stream project is just one example of the activities we were afforded.”

TY facilitators Ms Meleady and Ms Hand have commended the girls on their initiative and drive. Ms Meleady said: “The TY programme is about pushing students out of their comfort zone so that they may develop a more holistic version of themselves. Our current TY students prove that and I would challenge anybody who feels differently to take the time to look at the recorded stream on our social media platforms. I have a feeling they will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of our students’ work and the subjects which are provided.”

To carry out the live stream, the TY students received training from digital experts from Offaly County Council Information Technology department and Offaly Libraries. The 5-week workshop provided the students with the skills needed to confidently record, edit, and stream the event as well as understand the technicalities of camera features. Similarly, the training focused on the use and functionality of apps like OBS and Movavi Video Editor and the steps needed to successfully broadcast live on YouTube.

According to one of the participants, Claire, “the work and knowledge of Mr Bell and Ms Cronly offloaded a lot of technical worries we had which meant we could focus our attention to the content of the stream.”

Doretea explained how the content creation process worked. “We wanted the stream to be a celebration of TY as a year. So, we got into teams of 2-4 girls. Each group reported on what they enjoyed most about the year. There was a lot to choose from.” She continues “As you’ll see on the video, we have topics ranging from photography, architecture, film studies, cultural dance, the Croatian language, Young Social Innovators Pals, and Lilliput excursions. This year has been full of active learning experiences and I am hoping the video shows that. TY is a year for everybody no matter what your interest.”

The stream also has a few surprises, one of which is the return of a past pupil who reflects on the benefits of TY and the lasting impact of the year.

Emily remarked: “We were incredibly lucky to get in contact with one particular special guest. Aisling Kearns is a past pupil and professional actor known for her work in ‘Darklands.’ It was a joy to have her return in a virtual capacity to discuss how her TY year shaped her future. Aisling also discussed other trending topics which can only be seen on the TY Open Night Video online.” Current student, Dorothea, reflected on her year by saying “The time flies in TY. You get out of it what you put into it and I think our involvement with Gaisce is an example of that.”

Claire added: “Gaisce is a programme that promotes young people’s role in society. It enables them to make a change, while empowering young people to find their path in life.” She says, “We have a long-standing tradition with the programme and this year is no different. In fact, we have been truly fortunate to receive “The President’s Award” and along with it a letter from President Michael D. Higgins commending us on our work and encouraging us to continue making a difference in the world around us.”

Doretea concluded: “The year has been life-changing, and we want to thank our teachers who helped make this year, despite the circumstances, an incredible one!” The Sacred Heart School Transition Year Open Night is now available to watch online and can be found on the Sacred Heart School social media accounts.

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