Senior Film Club

This week in the senior film club, we watched Pan’s Labyrinth, by Guillermo Del Toro. The movie is set in Fascist Spain during 1944, and follows the young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer who escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

I found the film really enjoyable, the well written characters, detailed set pieces and the spell-binding creatures and costumes make up for a compelling movie that will maybe, just maybe, force you to shed a tear or two through a captivating narrative that blurs the genres of dark fantasy and war-torn drama combined with subtle echoes of a more grown-up version of Alice in Wonderland. It is the perfect movie to watch for the upcoming Halloween holidays, and its mesmeric gothic style would keep you hooked until the credits. It is truly a movie that is not to be missed.

About the Director:

Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He started making short films at an early age, experimenting with a Super 8 camera and some Planet of the Apes toys. His first feature film was released in 1993, at the age of 29, entitled “Cronos”, a film about a mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life that resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. Since then, Del Toro has since went on to direct movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and more recently, 2015’s Crimson Peak. He is known for his formalist style of filmmaking, including dark fantasies and a gothic approach to the styles he has made recognisable in his movies.


Ban on Energy Drinks?

Sweets, Chewing Gum and Energy Drinks.

As many of you probably know in school we aren’t allowed any chewing gum, sweets or energy drinks. Many of you more than likely think that this rule is incredibly pointless as we should be allowed to eat and drink whatever we want.

I would agree with this to an extent as it should be our decision to decide what we put into our bodies. However, in reality energy drinks are not good for our bodies at all due to their high caffeine levels and high sugar levels. The caffeine content in energy drinks can be as high as 300 milligrams per serving and they also have 35 grams of sugar! Many of these energy drinks will usually include some amount of taurine which is a type of amino acid that enhances neurological functions, but is an ingredient that is banned in many European countries!

Despite the fact that we usually all need something to wake us up every morning before school so we can pay attention in class energy drinks aren’t really the best way to do this. Energy drinks can have a negative effect on your body as they can increase your heart rate they can also affect your metabolism greatly.

Sweets and chewing gum can also have negative effects on our bodies as they can increase the risk of tooth decay etc. and can sometimes also lead to obesity or other health related problems. For these reasons maybe it is actually an advantage to us that the school does not allow sweets, gum or energy drinks!


School and Part-time Work

Katie tells us how she does it.

How to balance part time work whilst being at school?

In all honesty, it’s probably safe to say that you probably shouldn’t try and manage school work and part time work. However, many people need a part time job so the reality is that many people do need to balance both.

I work in the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle as a member of the function staff. As I usually work weekends it’s easy for me to balance work and school because I can focus on school work during the week and my job during the weekend.

Unfortunately, not everyone can only work weekends and sometimes you have to go in when asked or risk losing those valuable hours.

The past few weeks I have been working on school nights and I usually finish at around one in the morning which leaves me really tired and with little time for homework.

To ensure that I complete all my school work as well as going to work I never leave work until the last minute. Do the work as soon as you get it because even if the deadline isn’t for another week, something might come up which could prevent you from getting it done. Also take advantage of free classes because, instead of doing nothing during these classes, you could be doing homework. This means that you have less to do when you get home, so that you don’t have to rush out to work with no homework for the next day done.

It is possible to have both part-time work and good school grades but you do need to manage your time carefully.


Cakes, Buns, £500 in Funds???

Cake sale raises much needed funds.

As those of you who brought in the delicious sweet treats and those of you who got to enjoy them know, the annual St Louis coffee and cake morning for Macmillan Cancer Support was held last Friday morning (the 23rd of September). Macmillan is a life saving and changing charity, their work has helped thousands of people each year who suffer from cancer in taking back some control over their lives, financially, emotionally and physically.

This years bun sale was no disappointment with miles and piles of mouth-watering bakes being sold on Friday morning for both teachers and students alike to enjoy. From homemade brownies to freshly baked bread, the whole stock sold out in just one break time.

And how successful was the morning? Well, in the twenty minute break, the sale made £500.13 for the charity!

A massive thank you to all of you who supplied, bought and enjoyed every last crumb, as your support is going to an amazing cause that I’m sure everyone has some relation to in some way or another, be it through friends or family. Cancer is an ongoing fight in humanity, but even with small contributions such as this, we are fighting back.


You are fighting back.


…. With cake


… The absolute best way to fight.


Have a nice day


Once upon a time in America…

Who would have thunk it- a reality TV star, billionaire is starting to look like a realistic candidate for the US presidency. Eoin gives us a brief summary of what it is all about.

The next American president?

Currently in America, the most important democratic decision for the next four years is about to be made. Soon there will be a new president, a stranger in one of the most powerful positions in the world.

The US presidential election 2016 will take place on the 8th of November in possibly the most unlikely, unfortunate race to the white house of all time.

Running for the Republican Party is the infamous Donald Trump. Faced with constant accusations of sexism, racism and general bigotry, he stands by his claims to ‘make America great again’ proposing such ideas as tax cuts for big businesses (such as his own) and building a wall between the US and Mexico.

With most of his backers now pulling support and facing multiple claims of sexual assault against him, Trump’s surprising progress towards president seems doomed to fail. However, he could still pull off an unlikely victory, as he was never expected to get this far in the first place.

Running for the Democratic Party is ex-first lady Hillary Clinton. With actual political experience she is the most endorsed and most likely candidate for the position. In her term as secretary of state she leaked some 30,000 confidential emails however, narrowly avoiding prison time.

With the front-runners both having experienced a tad of criminal offenses, it looks more and more like a no win situation, foreign relations tattered by the rest of the world’s confusion as to how the ‘world’s greatest democracy’ could get itself into this situation.

With third parties having no shot in the first past the post voting situation, this could possibly be the last election the US holds as its doom seems sealed.

Who will win? In a presidential race between two of the least popular candidates in the history of democracy in America it really does seem to be time to look at just how successful the “greatest democracy in the world” really is.

National Dessert Day! Thank you very much!!

Caitlin gives us a simple dessert recipe to celebrate but don’t forget to share!

National Dessert Day on 14th October – Banana Pancakes

What’s a better way to celebrate national Dessert Day than healthy but tasty banana pancakes? Here’s how you can cook this simple but delicious recipe at home:

  • ¼ cup of plain flour
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • some butter for the pan


  • In a bowl, mash up the banana with a and beat an egg and mix the two together
  • Mix flour, cinnamon and flour together
  • Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients together to make a pancake mix
  • Pour pancake mix into pan and cook like a regular pancake



Top 5 Must-have Apps

From homework, exercise, hydration and even meditation there is an app to have, Caitlin and Sian give us a run-down of what they have found the most useful apps around at the minute.

Our to 5 must-have app’s

Sian and Caitlin give you their favourite apps of the year!!

These days most teenagers have a phone, whether it’s an apple IPhone or android, we all have them. Everyone is obsessed with the latest apps to come out so we thought we’d introduce you to the must-have apps of 2016! No they aren’t cool games or social media (sorry to disappoint) but they will really benefit you and help in your everyday life so give them a try!

Sian’s favourites:

  1. Depop

Depop is an app that allows you to buy and sell all sorts of items for a cheap price.

It’s basically like EBay but better!! It’s a perfect way to make money easily and safely by selling the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Found a dress online but it’s too expensive? Try Depop to find it for cheaper!

  1. depopDaily Workouts FREE

This workout app allows you to have your own personal trainer wherever you are! Simply choose your workout length and which body part you want to focus on and you’re ready to go. The video tutorials are easy to use and best of all its free. This is perfect for during the winter months when you’d rather not leave the house to exercise.


Caitlin’s favourites:

  1. St Louis G.S. (the school app)

This app is surprisingly very helpful as sometimes you may not be able to access a computer when you need to for school purposes but this app lets you access the School VLE, pupil blog and a variety of other school related websites and materials.

  1. stlouisSkedule

This app is hugely beneficial for me as it allows me to enter my school timetable and homework entries entirely from my phone rather than hauling my planner out of my bag every class.

  1. skeduleiHydrate

We all know that hydration is up there with the most important things that needs to be maintained in a person as well as food and sleep. This app allows you to enter how much water you drink when you drink it so you are able to make sure that you get at least 2 litres of water a day.


Never Ignore Bullying!

Caitlin reminds us that 3rd October was National Bullying Prevention Day.

As we all know, bullying is an incredibly huge issue that is faced in education – be it in school, university and even in the workplace. It is everywhere and we cannot avoid it. But how many people would actually interfere when they witness bullying?

Here are some quick tips for those bystanders who are unsure what to do when they see bullying in school or online:

  • Stand up to the bully. The majority of the time, bullies will back down when they see that they are outnumbered, so stick in a group and stick together.
  • Talk to the victim. If you witness the aftermath of bullying, ask them if they’re okay and if they need any help or cheering up. Believe me, they would be thankful that somebody noticed what they’re going through and that they’re not alone.
  • Anonymously tell a teacher. If you aren’t comfortable with confidently telling the teacher that you witnessed bullying/are being bullied, ask somebody to go in for you and the teacher can at least be on the look out for the tell-tale signs they might have been unaware of.

If you experience bullying online, the best course of action is to block the bully so they can no longer contact you, and again, tell a teacher, year head or the school counsellor and they have plenty of resources to take action to stop it from happening to you again. Remember:



World Teachers Day? What…?

Aine does a little research as to what this special occasion is really all about and does a little soul searching about how we should think about the teachers we are surrounded by here at St Louis.

UNESCO proclaimed 5th October to be World Teachers’ Day in 1994, celebrating the great step made for teachers on 5 October 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This recommendation set the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions.

The theme this year is about valuing teachers and improving their status, and, if we’re all honest, isn’t it time we started valuing the teachers in our own school? I’m sure we’ve all been a little guilty of bad mouthing a teacher in the past, whether it be because of a bad note you TOTALLY didn’t deserve or because you didn’t get the grade you wanted in an assessment, but do we ever take the time to stop and think about all the things our teachers do for us?

All the weekends they’ve given up to mark work, all the after school classes they’ve held for us, which were a huge help especially at GCSE and A-level. Those that go above and beyond to hold extracurricular activities for our benefit, whether it be organizing the school blog, coaching the debate team, training the football and camogie team and many more, we owe these teachers a lot more credit than we give. Not forgetting those teachers that go above and beyond to help students who are struggling, whether it be with home or school life. They all deserve our utmost respect and our thanks.

From the whole student body, thank you for expanding our minds and giving us the foundation for our future. The work you do is FUNdamental.



You Tube and Short Film- The New Wave

Aisling reviews some of the latest and most interesting short films to be shown on You Tube and points us in the right direction for what’s new on the tube.

From thought provoking dramas to side splitting comedies, a new crop of young and exciting directors are creating innovative and daring pictures that are cheap to make, easy to share, and find an audience as never before.

The past decade has seen an explosion of video online. The rise of YouTube and more high-brow sharing sites such as Vimeo means that, now, the humble short has a mainstream, global audience. A film that strikes a chord can be watched by hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, who will offer feedback and support and perhaps recommend it to their friends.

Here are some of my personal favourites and the aspiring youtubers that created them.

  • The Imp Of The Perverse by Benjamin Cook (2015)


This formalist style short film proved to be a great debut from Benjamin Cook about an eighteen year old boy who has captured the “Imp of the Perverse” in his wardrobe, the imp of the perverse being a metaphor for a little voice inside out head telling you to do wrong from an Edgar Allan Poe short story. I love the way this was short from the spilt screens to the additional pieces of animation throughout, I thought this added a fun and comic style to it while dealing with quite complex themes .He uses atmospheric lighting and music in each scene to set a specific tone and is also deliberately non-specific to allow us to conjure our own idea if the ‘Imp’ and this is another excellent film technique that makes this an engaging and thoughtful piece.

  • Let It Be by Bertie Gilbert (2016)


This magical Realist film made by Bertie Gilbert is an absolute must watch! Starring himself, Dodie Clark, Savannah Brown and Jack Howard, Bertie presents a beautifully filmed and artistically presented story of what happens when a troubled relationship comes face-to-face with Death itself. The film portrays Death as a naive black haired girl played by Savannah Brown, sick of her eternal career of killing good people, this really creates a strong premise for the film. The cinematography produced by Ciaran O’Brien, was stunning. This is definitely a strong point in all of Gilbert’s films. The colours brought some lightness into a darker theme but managed not to overplay it.

  • Ghost Fighting Corporation by Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs (2015)


This comedic formalist film follows two friends living together in an apartment that is incidentally also inhabited by a supernatural presence. This piece has a witty and engaging script that puts a unique twist on a stereotypically story and tells it like it’s never been before. The use of well timed humour and artistic shots used for comedic effect are what make it stand out among the other ghost related short films.

  • The Fleeting Little Life Of Peter Wright by Tim Hautekiet and Sammy Paul (2015)


This realist short film addresses mental illness in a positive and refreshing way, it touches upon suicide in a way that doesn’t scare you, doesn’t offend you and does not look over the topic. Particular techniques used that stay stuck in my head as adding to the impact of the film would be sound and editing. Both of these elements were used to create an emotional impact during a montage scene towards the end that contains a speech and non-diegetic music which adds to the overall message attempting to be put across. The film is considerably comedic and light hearted despite the gravitas of the subject matter and I believe this approach helps to create a bigger impact on the audience.

Enjoy- but be warned some of the themes are complex and may not be suitable for everyone.