Abbey Community College
Together Towards Excellence

Respect Week

Respect is free. Respect is key to life in the Abbey!

Respect Week took place in Abbey Community College from Monday 9th to Friday 13th January and was a great success.

It was an opportunity for our whole school community to start off the New Year with a positive focus on respect, whereby all members recognised their own uniqueness and engaged in positive relationships with each other.

In May 2022, we surveyed our students, staff and parents/guardians around Ethos and Wellbeing. Our parents/guardians, students and staff reacted in a very positive manner to the questions but the survey responses also highlighted areas for further development.

One such area for development was around peer to peer relationships. From focus groups, it appeared that as a direct response to the challenges that the Covid pandemic brought, our young people expressed that they often felt disconnected from their peers and that the lack of in person face to face contact had impacted on how they engage with each other.

As a result of this, for 2022-2023 we decided to set our focus on the core value of Respect and set about educating our students about respectful relationships and further promoting a respectful environment for all members of our school community.

Planning for Respect Week began in September 2022 culminating in our Respect Week in January 2023. It very much was a team effort and an initiative that allowed students and staff to work alongside one another enhancing our positive school culture further.

Respect Motto

In preparation for Respect Week, a lesson on Respect and school ethos / our core values was facilitated for all students in the school. We then ran a motto competition for all class groups with the winning entry coming from 3rd Year Lismore ‘Respect is free. Respect is key to life in the Abbey’. A banner was produced using this motto and is now displayed proudly in our school.

Respect Week Events

Each day, events took place to promote self-respect and respect for others. In preparation, we ran a motto competition for all class groups with the winning entry coming from 3rd Year Lismore ‘Respect is free. Respect is key to life in the Abbey’.

Our Amber Ambassadors were our student leaders for this initiative. These students modelled respectful behaviour and along with staff formed the core Respect Week team. They had an opportunity to use their voice and organise events for the week, liaise with guest speakers, act as role models and model respectful behaviour.


The fantastic Eoin Murphy, Kilkenny hurler and sporting legend, officially launched Respect Week. Eoin spoke to our students with incredible thought put into his words. He discussed the importance of self-respect for personal progression and how to be respectful of others’ opinions and views, not just on the sporting field but in all aspects of life.


On Tuesday, all year groups received a presentation from Chill Out Youth Project who work with LGBT young people in the South East. Here, students learned about support services available for young people who feel isolated or excluded. The key message was that we are all different and quite often not by choice. Each and every one of us has the right to be respected and feel safe in our environment.

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A Chat and Connect event took place on the Wednesday. Almost one thousand students spent time connecting with their peers getting to know them and finding out about their experience of life in the Abbey. Conversations overheard included first and sixth years reflecting on their time in our school, second and transition year students discussing the benefits of transition year as well as the Junior Cycle exams. Third and fifth year chat revolved mostly around senior cycle options. This was such a powerful community event whereby students practised respect, active listening and engagement with others.

Wednesday also saw our school rock band put on an electric performance. The band absolutely rocked with tunes chosen around the theme of respect and had the huge audience clapping, singing and dancing. Students and staff came together to form the rock band highlighting the positive relationships that exist and are promoted in Abbey Community College.


International Day took place on Thursday. With 40 different nationalities and cultures, our students showcased and shared theirs and their families’ cultures and traditions with our school community. Every student in every year group visited the sports hall to soak up the atmosphere and learn more about the countries and cultures that their fellow students come from. We were also treated to vocal and dance performances which were extremely entertaining.


Self-care and self-respect were actively promoted throughout the week. Take5at12 activities took place in all classes each day highlighting the importance of respecting ourselves and the uniqueness of each individual. A self-care wall was also created. The aim of this was to ask students to share how they connect back to themselves through one act of self-care they regularly engage in.


Throughout Respect Week, as a whole school, we took on the Walk and Talk challenge of walking the 8000km distance to Zambia, the location of our sister school, Sacred Heart of Mary, Zambia. Throughout the week, classes clocked up their distances to see how far we could walk as a school community to respect ourselves through exercise and show respect for others as we chatted and walked together. Students raised €1,000 for RSHM Zambia and Pieta House.


The week exemplified how connection and relationships based upon respect can impact positively on a whole school community. Reflecting on Respect Week and acknowledging the efforts of our students, staff, parents and guardians, we are so very proud of our school community who continue to live and promote our school ethos and ETBI’s core values with enthusiasm and commitment as we all work Together Towards Excellence.

National Winners at ETBI Excellence Awards

We were overjoyed to attend the ETB Excellence Awards in Croke Park in March where Abbey Community College won the runner up Excellence Award for Respect. Winning this award means so much to our school community as it recognises the relationships that exist within our school and the work that is done on a daily basis to promote our positive school culture. However, Respect Week itself was the real success story and it’s impact on our school community is longlasting. This is not the end of our journey but only a milestone en route!

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Pictured are Ms Eileen Curtis, Chief Executive KCETB; Ms Ellen Lynch, Abbey Community College Wellbeing Coordinator; Ms Michelle Jefford, Principal Abbey Community College; Ms Helen O’Connor, Deputy Principal Abbey Community College; Dr Pauline Egan, Director of Schools KCETB receiving the runner up Excellence Award for Respect at the ETB Excellence Awards.

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