Mercy Mounthawk Catholic Voluntary Secondary School is a witnessing community which fosters:
- The full potential of all staff and students
- A positive partnership between all members of the school and wider community
- The highest standards of teaching, learning and performance.’
Tuiscint – Understanding
We strive that our students may grow in wisdom, not just in the knowledge of subjects or in the skills needed for a job, but in a deep-seated understanding of their God given selves and the gift that they carry for the benefit of others.
Treoir – Direction and Guidance
We provide guidance through a full range of interventions and learning experiences, developmental in nature which assist all of our students to make informed choices in three key areas: Personal and social life, education and in relation to careers.
Trócaire – Mercy
We continue the rich tradition of Mercy education in Tralee. Our school brings together the wealth of experience from St. John’s Balloonagh and St. Mary’s Moyderwell, both established as ‘secondary top’ schools in 1925. Our roots are deep in Tralee and our education is imbued with the spirit of the Mercy Philosophy which is committed to the holistic development and the achievement of the full potential of each student.
The School Crest
Tuiscint, Treoir, Trócaire
Our School crest enshrines the values that we hold in educating our students.
Tuiscint, Treoir, Trócaire
Our School crest enshrines the values that we hold in educating our students.
Celebrating our Faith
As a Catholic Voluntary school we understand ourselves to have a role in the formation of young people in the faith. We support this development in a number of ways in the school.
Through timetabled Religion classes, there is a systematic programme in formation in religious knowledge and faith formation.
We mark the Church year in the school with a series of liturgies:
- a beginning of the year Mass to celebrate Mercy Day
- Penitential services in Advent and Lent
- a Carol Service at Christmas
- involvement with the Parish in the Easter ceremonies
- a graduation mass for our 6th years
Throughout the year, there are class and year assemblies to mark feast days and important seasons of the year.
We have retreats and reflection days for 4th and 5th year students.
We are lucky to have a wonderful prayer space designed when the school was opening – the gift of the Mercy Sisters in Tralee to the school. This Prayer room is used by religion classes to provide a quiet reflection space for meditation and prayer and as a space to hold liturgies to celebrate different moments in the liturgical year. Have a look at the gallery below…
Involvement in Social Justice
As part of student formation in Mercy Mounthawk, students are encouraged to deepen their understanding of Social Justice. we provide opportunities in Mounthawk for students to grow in their understanding of the challenges that face so many people in our own Irish society and further afield.
We encourage student s to get involved in social action projects in the school and to give of their time to charities and fundraising. And over the years students have shown themselves to be passionate about getting involved: bag packing, shaving heads, and all manner of creative tasks to help raise money….
One of our Projects was an immersion project in Kenya where we twinned with a school in Nairobi and helped raise funds for their new building.
Kenya Immersion project
Kenya Immersion Project
This project was headed by Mr. Sean Coffey and a team of teachers to twin Mounthawk school with Br. Beausang School in Nairobi. at home here we undertook to collect to support the building of a new school in Nairobi and each year a number of our students who were committed to the project would go to Kenya to visit the school and to gain a greater understanding of the responsibility we have in natural justice in the 1st world to redistribute wealth.
An account of the itinerary of the 2009 trip:
We travelled to Kenya for a total of 14 days last July, our travels commenced on the 3rd and finished on the 17th. On Wednesday the 3″” of July we started our travelling. We travelled by bus to cork airport. We travelled Cork to Heathrow, and spent overnight in Heathrow. In the small hours of the morning we left Heathrow and headed for Dubai. We had breakfast in Dubai, and then continued by boarding our last flight to Nairobi. Eventually we got through customs and headed back to our compound. In total we were over 31 hours travelling. We reached our compound in the afternoon of Thursday the 3rd of Julyread more …..OUR TRIP TO KENYA
Experiences such as this have a lasting impact on the students involved as is testified to in the following testimonies by two of the students who went to Kenya….
I was determined to ensure that our experience of Kenya was included in the yearbook. From exploring the country, teaching in the schools, mingling with the local community, visiting the local parks and even kissing giraffes, it was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is difficult to compact my experience into a short extract but I’ll do my best.
Kenya was a real eye opener. We saw the hardships which the entire population face on a daily basis. It made me appreciate my life a million times more. Despite the difficulties in their lives, their strength of spirit never wavered. They welcomed us with open arms and made us feel immediately at home.
This opportunity to immerse myself in the life of Kenya was the most life changing thing I have ever done. The children left a significant impact upon me. Teaching in both primary and secondary schools was an inspirational experience. I grew particularly close to one primary student, Mary. I formed a close bond with her and leaving her was the hardest thing I have ever done.
On setting out from Mounthawk on the morning of the 3rd July, I never imagined what experiences and emotions lay ahead. Thanks to my companions (Aisling, Caoimhe, Cian, Martina, and Niamh) on the journey. You are friends for life! I would like to offer a warm hearted thank you to the teachers who travelled with us, Ms. Burke and Mr. Geary.Thank you to Mr. Coffey, Ms. Sexton and Mr. O’Roarke.
Most of all, I wish to thank Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan whose presence was a vital success in the progression of this project. From sharing his knowledge of the country and the people to playing cards in the evening, he kept us entertained at every moment. Without you, I would not have had the chance to enjoy such an exhilarating opportunity.
My experience of Kenya was indescribable but I will try to capture some of the essence of the trip. It is a country which is beyond everything you see in the media and the books. A country which must be experienced to be believed.
I will start by saying thank you to all my friends, family, neighbours, teachers and the greater school community for supporting this project through their generous donations. I would ask you to continue supporting this worthwhile cause as miracles don’t come in weeks but in years.
The most educational and inspirational aspect of the trip was encountering the tremendous faith of the Kenyan people. Mass is often two to three hours long but the time passes quickly. The mass is filled with rhythm and feelings of joy and hope. There were dancers in the aisles, musicians playing and fabulous choirs singing. It was a very uplifting experience and I have never felt more at home. I was proud to be a Catholic and part of this event.
I would like to thank the Br. Beausang schools; the Kilteegan Fathers; Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan; all the school management, especially Mr. Coffey; Ms. Burke; my fellow companions and their parents.Without every one of these pivotal people, this experience would not have been possible. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This trip has changed me in many ways, especially my perspective on the world, and for that I am very grateful.
As a school we are concerned that we are preparing the leaders of tomorrow, the young people who in their turn will guide this country through the better part of this century. And so we provide our students with opportunities to get involved in organisations and challenges and competitions that will support them in developing their capacity to lead.
Students in the school are involved in:
The Presidents Gaisce awards
The Rotary Club and its young branch Interact
The Lions Club
The Garda Youth Achievement Awards.
The Students’ Council in the school
Involvement in these groups and organisations helps students to see beyond the cares of their own lives to the call to serve their communities and to use their abilities and talents for the benefit of others – in short to become leaders.
The TY class in the school are encouraged to participate in the GAISCE awards and indeed they have great fun in the process. For more information on Gaise and the experience of students who participate in it read the following account…. Gaisce Awards 2
ROTARY AND LIONS CLUB
Students who participate in either the Lions or Interact Clubs speak positively of their involvement as in this testimony from a former pupil:
Recognising and encouraging character development
Each year we celebrate the achievements, the dedication and the potential of our students with an annual awards night. Behind each of the awards is a person with a set of character strengths which we want to acknowledge in this school. These strengths are important qualities that we nurture in our young people to build strong resilient personalities. Take for instance the ‘attendance awards’: – attending school each day speaks of dedication, a sense of duty and dependability – very significant traits that distinguish the young people who have achieved this award. Consider the ‘Comhar awards’, which celebrate those students who have that generosity of spirit to help others – they display compassion and a sense of empathy. It might be easy to overlook the academic awards – but these awards are achieved by young people who have a sense of curiosity which drives them to learn, they have dedication and self discipline and are well on the way to building wisdom.
Every year in the school, there are significant achievements that we also celebrate from All Ireland titles in basketball and athletics, to debating, to drama to music. It would be a mistake to forget that all of these achievements too are built on strengths of character; commitment to practice, self-discipline, an ability to work as a team player, the guts and determination and fight to push for the winning basket or goal. There is a challenge in looking under the surface of awards and achievements to identify and acknowledge the qualities of character in which those achievements are rooted.
Education is Leading out
As some of us will remember from our secondary school Latin, the word ‘educare’, the old latin root of our English word ‘to educate’ means ‘to lead out’, and some would say that this the really important work in supporting young people to grow. It is our role, as adults and educators, to recognise and draw out those great strengths of character that are the true potential in our young people. It is our role to ‘en-courage’ (my hyphen), by which I mean that it is our role to validate the great qualities in our young people because in doing so we give them the courage to trust in those qualities and value them and life out of those strengths of character. So, I invite you to consider whether the following statements might be true for you:
I believe that I should be on the lookout for other people’s strengths.
I regularly recognise the qualities and strengths of character in other people.
I get a buzz from encouraging others to use their strengths of character.
Today I praised a quality or strength in someone and encouraged them.