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Teen Theory headed State Side for their next ‘Rodeo’!





Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, Sixth Year students from Killarney Community College, were named SciFest STEM Champions in December 2022 in Dublin, for their Group Theoretic Approach to Pythagoras’ Theorem. This amazing trio are now heading for Dallas Texas in to representing Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF).

Their project takes possibly one of the most well-known theorems that everyone remembers from school, Pythagoras’ Theorem. It provides an alternate proof of it, while also highlighting how right-angled triangles naturally provide a link between two coordinate systems and how this special case can naturally recreate the Pythagorean Theorem.

Given these three were heading to Dallas, I decided to meet at Rob's Ranch House, Plukett Street, where we were treated to spicy wings, ribs and a gluten free burger for Liam with thanks to hostess Nikki Taddei.

Howdy y'all!! Wow, what a massive achievement Liam, Rachel & Luke. Congratulations!!!
"We're thrilled" Rachel replied. "Our school supports and enhances every talent so we couldn't have done it without Ms Dineen, Mr Lynch, Ms Spillane & Kerry ETB. Supported by Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific, SciFest was set up 17 years ago by Sheila Porter who put us in touch with our mentor Jim Cooke. " Rachel continued.
"The contents of the project are not in the curriculum. It is abstract algebra which is a different kind of geometry. It's a huge amount of work on top of the Leaving Cert but it's worth it" Liam said.
"Going to Texas with the people that I began this project with is a chance of a life time. Of course, it's lots of extra stress and effort but it's also a lifetime achievement that I am so excited to explore" Rachel said.

Tell me what lies ahead in Dallas for you three?
"We fly out on Saturday 13th May we will make a 16 round trip from Kerry to Dublin to Dallas Texas with our teachers Ms Spillane (Chemistry) & Ms Hughes (Music). The competition will run for the entire week but Wednesday is the day of judgement. Globally there are 120 countries taking place and we are one of three Irish teams representing Kerry and indeed Munster. Mathematics is the smallest category within the competition which makes it the most exclusive so we are really hoping we are in with a good chance" Luke explained.

What kind of prize have you fixed your eyes on in Dallas?
"Before talking brass tax, committing to this project could well have the opportunity to apply for a Naughton Scholarship (a scheme of scholarships to promote the study of engineering, science and technology at third level by students in Ireland). And state side you just never know who might be there scouting" Rachel replied.
"The money can vary from €5,000 within category to an overall prize of €75,000! I can't imagine what opportunities that would open state side not to mind what I would do with the money" Luke replied.

Given the success of the project, I'm assuming a mathematics or science based future is looming for you three?
"I am hoping to study Theatre and Performing Arts in Cork or to be a teacher. That's the dream!" Rachel replied.
"I am going to study physiotherapy next year" Luke said.
"Yes, I would love to study something in the lines of Mathematics, Physics & Science so as you can imagine, I am really enjoying this journey with Scifest".

Have any of you ever been to Dallas before?
"Never! We will have 6 days in Dallas so we will be in attendance daily for a few hours but after that we will get to enjoy the OMNI Hotel and we hope to get to visit John F Kennedy Memorial on Commerce street, on land donated by Dallas County. It is an open tomb structure that symbolises the freedom of President Kennedy's spirit" Liam replied.

I said goodbye to all three and thanked Nikki for allowing us her and Rob's time before wishing the trio all the best. Not their first 'rodeo' but truly hope it's their best!!



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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