National title for Davis College at prestigious awards

GAA Future Leaders course participants from Davis College pictured with teacher Brian Moylan and Principal Stephen Gilbert.

The National finals of the Young Economist of the Year were held virtually last Thursday, May 20th, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The competition is run by the PDST in partnership with Trinity College, the School of Education UCD, UCC, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, the University of Limerick, the Irish Economic Association, Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service and the Central Bank. Those invited to attend were the successful students who had previously been shortlisted. Devine Ubogu, a Davis College transition year student picked up a silver award for her project ‘Equal Pay: How Covid-19 has impacted on gender pay in Ireland’. A second-year student, David Oskwarek, received gold for an outstanding project which investigated the digitalisation of business and enterprise in response to a computerised society, whilst also examining this issue through the lens of Covid-19. David went on to win the overall title in the second year category, beating off stiff competition from exceptionally impressive entries. Congratulations to David and Devine.

GAA Future Leaders Davis College 2021
Written by Muireann O’Brien, Dylan O’Flaherty, Andrew Griffin, James Dunne and James Browne.
Expectations: We elected to study the GAA Future Leaders Course as we were interested in the modules entailed in the course. We were intrigued by the event management module and the sports journalism module. Event management seemed interesting as we always wondered with big events, whether it’s a local table quiz, or an All-Ireland final, how much planning and preparation is actually required. Our perception of event management was that everything comes together, but we quickly found out that the reality is quite different. As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. We knew we’d be interested in sports journalism as we always wondered how journalists could make these already amazing matches sound ten times better than they already are – with their use of metaphors and analogies, they could be talking about something completely different to GAA, with no correlation to sport in general, but it would still be as clear as day that they’re relating it to the match. We found that really cool. While these modules are great, the nutrition module will definitely be the most helpful in our eyes, as throughout our lives keeping healthy is one of the, if not the most valuable aspects of life. And while exercise and life habits are important, good nutrition is essential to having a long and healthy life. If this module can even give us one tip about good nutrition, it’ll be worth it and we can definitely use that in the future.

Penalty Competition: As part of the event management module we had to organise an event in the local community, but due to Covid we couldn’t go outside of the school, so the alternative was that we created an event with the first-year students. As a group we collectively decided on a penalty competition. We had multiple days of this event with over 180 students participating. We split it into two groups, one group doing the penalty competition on one half of the hall, and the other group playing dodgeball. Overall there were three winners from the penalty competition. We learned a lot about how to organise an event with a big group of people and most importantly everyone had fun.

Covid: The most difficult part of this programme was trying to find a way to have fun while also adhering to the COVID 19 guidelines. This threw a spanner in the works as it meant we would be unable to engage with local primary schools for coaching workshops or organise events in the community. Ultimately we just had to work in line with the restrictions, it was a bit more challenging and we had to appoint COVID compliance officers but in the end we managed to pull it off.

Online Nutrition Course: In order to get our Future Leaders certificate we had to do an Online Nutrition Course. This course helped us track and record our diets and educate us on how to make improve-ments. Our whole class really benefited from this course. We found ourselves subconsciously making healthier food choices. Bringing this information back to our homes really impacted our lives for the better. The whole class really got involved and gave it their all to improve their diets indefinitely.

Back to school: Following the three-month closure of schools due to the spike in Covid 19 cases, we returned to the school grounds on March 12th. Although we were back in the classroom, restrictions remained in place. This meant we would still be unable to leave the school to coach or organise events off campus. Though this was a large setback in our overall plan for the year it would not prevent us from organising coaching events with first years in our school in the weeks that would follow.

Referee interview: Due to Covid regulations we had to improvise by interviewing one referee through Zoom. We recorded the interview which was very beneficial when it came to typing up the transcript. We all learned things we never knew about referees from the interview. The interview was very interesting as everyone hears about the players and their routines but never the referees, from their routines or the abuse they get.

Coaching: The original plan was to go to different primary schools to gain coaching experience but, due to COVID, we adapted and decided to coach first year PE classes. So we came up with lesson plans for each session and we fine-tuned our methods. Throughout the session we improvised the activities depending on the students’ needs and athletic abilities. It was also a great opportunity to introduce some of these first years to GAA as some of them had never played before. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Our overall favourite event/module: As a group I think our favourite module/event was the coaching. At first, when we heard we weren’t going to be able to go to the primary schools to coach like other GAA classes would have done before Covid, we were disappointed. So, we found an alternative way to undertake the coaching module. Through discussion we decided to coach 1st year students in school. I think the reason why we enjoyed it so much was because we still found a way to do it even with the current restrictions. We had great fun training the first years and had a bit of a laugh while doing it. It also made it easier that we had already covered the event management module and held a penalty competition so we were better prepared to host and take control of an event with a large number of people.

To conclude: Even though the situation this year with Covid was difficult, challenging and frustrating, we managed to adapt, to still have fun, complete all of the required modules and go outside to play a little bit of GAA ourselves.