NEW ERA PROGRAMME
New Era in St Tiernan’s Community School
2010 marks the 10th Year of St Tiernan’s Community School’s participation in UCD’s New Era programme. The programme aims to offer young people an opportunity to explore university life before leaving school. Students from St Tiernan’s have been enthusiastic participants in the wide range of activities organised annually by the New Era team.
While the main focus of the programme is on the senior students in 5th and 6th Years, pupils as young as 12 or 13 years have been involved and enjoyed a wide range of experiences at the university.
First Year French students accompanied by their teacher Ms. Anne Towey have participated in French language activities with college students and also learned how to find their way around the Belfield campus in the course of a fun-filled treasure hunt.
Second year Science students, with their teacher Ms. Una McLysaght visited the UCD Science faculty last spring. In the course of an interesting and enjoyable day they visited laboratories, lecture theatres, the library and sports facilities, as they discovered the wonders of university life.
The facilities of the Chemistry Department have been made available to Sixth Year students from St Tiernan’s, as they prepared for their Leaving Certificate. There were major benefits to students in having hands-on experience in the laboratories of a third level institution with the world reputation of UCD.
Each year the month of February brings one of the highlights of the school year for 5th year students, New Era’s Student Shadowing Day. Five of our students get to spend a day on campus in the company of a UCD undergraduate student. The aim of the day is to offer prospective students an opportunity to learn more about their chosen area of study and to experience student life first hand.
This is what Ms. Anne-Marie Whelan, Bachelor of Law and Barrister, a past-pupil of St Tiernan’s had to say about her involvement in the New Era programme:-
“Attending the Shadowing Day in UCD was hugely beneficial as it gave me a full insight into the life of a Law student. I got to sit in on lectures, speak to students and had use of the college facilities. Being partnered with an existing student allowed me to literally live as a college student for one day.
The Shadowing Day was during my 5th year and it helped to focus my mind on the next step beyond secondary school. It confirmed to me that I really wanted to go to university to study Law. I think all of the summer programs run by New ERA are very effective in opening up college life to secondary school students and planting seeds in students’ minds about further education.
One of the other benefits I received from the New ERA program was being able to participate in their orientation program just before starting my studies. It afforded me a "settling in period" before the UCD campus became inundated with the 20,000 plus students that would be attending that year. I got to know my way around campus, I got to know the facilities - where they were and how to use them and most importantly got to know people and make friends before I'd even sat my first lecture. University was no longer a daunting prospect and there was little chance of me getting lost on the way to a lecture!”
Every year students from St Tiernan’s take part in New Era’s summer schools. Uni-for-you is aimed at Second Year students and is held in early June and lasts for one week. Those taking part attend UCD for a variety of activities and exploration of the opportunities available at University.
Fifth Year students are invited to attend the university for two weeks; they get help with their academic work and they are introduced to college life in all it varied aspects.
This is how one recent past-pupil described the summer school:-
“Each day we did something fun and exciting, the classes in the morning were a brilliant help and the revision notes we got were a great reminder of the topics we covered during Fifth Year. The classes we attended covered subjects such as Maths, Irish and Science which gave us a head start for the Leaving Cert.
Activities after lunch were so enjoyable because there is a wide variety of sports facilities on campus such as the astroturf football pitch, basketball courts, trampolines and the climbing wall. In the evenings we went to the theatre, bowling, took part in a table quiz and even played the drums! We were very well taken care of and a huge amount of effort was put into each day. At the end of the Summer School, certificates were given to everyone and prizes given out. All in all it was a fantastic experience!”