Wednesday, 25 April 2012
[UPDATE] The results came in: 3rd - Portugal, 2nd - Greece, 1st - Scotland. No prize for the Limerick team but the students learned an enormous amount the last few days. Well done to all the teams and thanks to the organisers.
The data analysis and presentation preparation went on into the night, though not too late (by engineering standards, that is!) The Cansat came back almost perfectly intact and in reusable condition, so not much explanation of what went wrong etc… Our accelerometer gave us enough information to build a narrative picture of the launch and then we did some work on data loss analysis and suggested improvements in future launches etc.
If you haven't done so already, take a look at the Crescent Cansat team blog at http://crescentcansat.blogspot.com/.
Monday, 23 April 2012
No pictures yet from me, I’m afraid. Though I’ve been clicking away on my phone camera, I forgot to bring a USB cable with me to upload them; so you’ll have to wait until I get back to Limerick.
We left Limerick yesterday morning around 8 a.m. for Dublin. I took the M7 Express along with Anne O’Dea, the other staff member accompanying the team; while the students were dropped off at Dublin Airport by one of the parents. From Dublin, we first flew to Oslo; then had to go through customs and check-in again for the domestic flight to Bodø. The stopover at Oslo gave us enough time to have a pizza.
At Bodø, another stopover (this time doing a rehearsal of the presentation for this morning), before a short flight in a twin-propeller to Andenes, Andøya Island, Norway – within the Arctic Circle. Although the light was fading (though not completely – the sun hadn’t completely set even by the time we went to bed around one in the morning!), the views from the plane of snow-covered mountains rising from the sea were simply stunning.
Then a quick sandwich before dumping luggage in rooms and last-minute preparation work for today’s presentation and inspection of kits.
Read the students’ POV here.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Well, technically, Andøya is just south of the Arctic circle. But that’s where I will be over the next week with Crescent College’s own Team Rocket. Back in November, we won the Irish national Cansat competition to design a Coke can-sized satellite and now we will be competing against teams from Austria, Denmark, Spain, Portugal etc.
You can check out the students’ blog here.
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Relax to the point of complete inertia
I’ve spent most of the last week vegging out in the community (when I’m not at or preparing for or reflecting on the Holy Week liturgies, that is.) A bit of reading, plenty of DVDs and box-sets, some surfing (of the electronic variety).
Working in a school environment where I am constantly on the go, it’s easy not to notice just how much of my energy derives from the young people I am constantly in contact with.
So, holidays come as something of a shock to the system. A welcome shock, mind you, but a shock nevertheless. During term-time, there’s almost not enough time in the day. There’s class preparation, correction, organising school events and trips, being present at or participating in extracurricular activities etc. etc. (but mostly class preparation for me).
Weekends can be quite busy too. In the last few months, there have been a number of meetings of Jesuits on during the weekends, which can mean a bit of travelling. Jesuit life is not for the couch potatoes!
There is great joy to be found in working with young people. The energy and enthusiasm, as I’ve indicated, is infectious. But their openness and idealism can be quite refreshing too – especially in these hard times. Which is not to say I shouldn’t keep my eyes open! Discipline is the least pleasant aspect of my ministry, but an extremely necessary one. All that energy, if not channelled into constructive activities, can be wasted at best, or turned to destructive purposes at worst.
In reminiscing about his time at Manresa, St. Ignatius of Loyola felt that God dealt with him as a teacher instructing his pupil (Autobiography, Chapter III). Maybe that’s why Jesuits are so involved in education – the roots of our spirituality lie in a student-teacher (or, in Indian terms, guru-shishya) relationship with God. God not only gives us gifts and graces, but also teaches us what to do with them.
Next week, I’m back to Britain for a meeting of younger Jesuits; and then it’s back to school for the final, hectic term before the summer break – so I hope to enjoy my “vegging” time as best I can for now!
Friday, 6 April 2012
Monday, 19 March 2012
Pictures from the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick city centre:-
A few from the Indian community here in Limerick, featuring a number from God’s Own Country:-
The variety of GAA clubs, charities, businesses, Beavers/Guides etc. etc. gives one a sense of Limerick life. For me personally, a great part of the day was looking around and recognising students and teachers from the Crescent.