Weekends at The King's Hospital School are packed with fun activities for all the 7-day boarders, and the past few months have been no exception. Although COVID-19 has imposed many restrictions on us, the Weekend Team have worked hard to continue offering safe and fun activities to all the students. However, staff cannot take all the credit, all 7-day boarders have really co-operated and got involved, making every activity even more fun. As a team, we are extremely proud of their perseverance and resilience during these unprecedented times and we want to say THANK YOU.
Why not take a look at some of the activities that have taken place during the weekends so far? These are some of the highlights:
The last weekend before midterm, our friends from Killary adventure centre came to school. Let's say this weekend was not for the faint hearted. Some of the activities included orienteering, archery, bush craft, Killary challenge and rafting in the river Liffey. Students had the best time trying out all these activities. We could say it felt like it was a weekend away in Connemara.
Did you know Halloween originated in Ireland? That is one of the reasons why we like to go all out at the King's Hospital for this festivity. This year we started the weekend carving some pumpkins to decorate the school. All the pumpkins were lit up at night-time, which definitely got everyone into the Halloween mood. We topped the weekend off with what the students have referred to as the scariest school tour. The weekend team put together the spookiest haunted corridor tour that went all the way from the home economics classrooms, through the library and ending in the music corridor. Rev. Campion was the narrator of our story and members of the weekend team were hiding and providing scares along the way. We finished off the evening with some pizza and treats.
Ice-cream shops forced to close? Why not bring an ice-cream van to the school? It was the perfect weekend for those with a sweet tooth. The Irish weather did not stop staff and students from enjoying some 99 ice-creams. For those who do not know, these ice-creams are iconic in Ireland, made with the best Irish cream and with a flake chocolate bar on top. Fun fact the reason why this type of ice-cream is called 99 is because they used to only cost 99 pennies!!!!
Phoenix Park is the biggest inner city park in Europe and we are very lucky that it is only a ten-minute drive from the school. There is no better place to be when it is sunny in Dublin. In addition to this, we are located close to many scenic parks and count ourselves very lucky that we have got the chance to bring all of our boarders. These include Waterstown Park and St Catherines Park, where we first stopped off for McFlurry’s and hot chocolate on the way.
Despite all the restrictions faced at the moment, the weekends are still action packed. All 7-day boarders get to choose between a wide range of activities that they can get involved in on Saturday and Sunday morning. Some of the activities on offer include: hip-hop, zumba, kickboxing, gym classes, football, badminton, volleyball, science experiments, recycling workshops, and arts and crafts. Our two kickboxing classes of 2020 received their first grade. Our hip-hop class worked towards learning a very difficult routine set out for them at the start of the year by our dance instructor. We are happy to say that there is something for everyone. We will be adding some fresh activities in the new year including a swim club, baking, meditation, yoga, chess club and new sports including Gaelic football!
We are very lucky to be located so near to Liffey Valley Shopping Centre. Liffey Valley has a huge range of shops and food outlets and students enjoy going over at the weekends. Vue cinemas which are located at the shopping centre were allowed to open at the beginning of December. The students got the chance to go see a Christmas movie before finishing up for the holidays and we hope this can be a regular outing in the new year. In addition to this, we still offer many activities in the afternoons and evenings. We try to find a fine balance between entertaining the students and leaving some scheduled time for them to wind down for the week ahead. Some of those activities include:
Movie nights: Very similar to a cinema, we have a great set up in the Wilson Wright Hall. There is a giant projector screen and comfy seats that make you feel like you are actually at the cinema.
Games room: At the weekends, the Mahony room turns into the game room. This is probably one of the most popular social activities. Students can play some Mario Kart or Just dance with the school's Nintendo switch or enjoy a game of table tennis or pool. We also have a dozen board games.
Take away: On a few occasions already, we have closed down our kitchens and ordered in chinese takeaway or pizza for all of our boarders. Every Saturday students also get a chance to order some pizza from our local takeaway for themselves.
Hot chocolate and treats: Every Saturday our colleagues from the kitchen prepare us some hot chocolate and treats. There is really nothing better than some hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies on a winter evening. Seeing 100+ students chatting in groups with their hot chocolate is a very pleasant sight.
The weekend team is not only here to plan and supervise activities. Our role also involves pastoral care. Now more than ever, we support our students who may be homesick or need some encouragement or a friendly ear. Many members of the weekend team are past pupils themselves so they know what it is like to be a boarder and are able to support students who may need it.
Aaron Doyle - Weekend Manager