Lumen News

June 2022: Site Update

It is a great pleasure to be able, at long last, to announce a comprehensive update of Lumen, our showcase for outstanding work by pupils of St Aloysius’ College. As with many other aspects of the school’s co-curricular life, Lumen experienced an enforced hiatus during the periods of lockdown and distance- and blended learning, due to the difficulty of balancing new approaches to teaching and learning with the process of gathering, collating and publishing new work on the website. However, throughout this period, the English department’s commitment to identifying, encouraging and helping to develop talent in creative and discursive writing among our pupils did not waver, and this is reflected in the quality of the thirty or so new pieces added to Lumen in the past three weeks.

The newly-published work is drawn from across all six years of the senior school and covers a variety of genres: prose fiction, persuasive writing, personal and reflective writing, and poetry. Perhaps inevitably, given the centrality of individual writing to assessed coursework in the upper school, pieces by pupils in S4-S6 predominate, but there is still ample evidence of the talent that exists among our younger pupils, from the evocative animal poems and imaginative responses to class texts produced by pupils in S1 and S2, to the hugely varied, always ambitious ‘tales of the unexpected’ created by our S3 writers: all are well worth taking the time to read. Pupils moving into S4, who are being confronted with the prospect of producing their first Writing Portfolio, would benefit from reading some of the creative, discursive and personal pieces produced by recent S4 and S5 pupils, to gain a sense of what can be achieved through careful planning and sustained commitment to writing and redrafting. However, these essays and stories are far more than simply models of excellence for the next exam cohort; they are skilful, eloquent, highly individual pieces, to be read and enjoyed by anyone.

As a new school year begins, with teaching and learning (hopefully) conducted without the restrictions of the past two-and-a-half years, and with writing competitions starting to open up again across Scotland, it is to be hoped that opportunities to encourage new writing among pupils of all ages will increase, and that the next update of Lumen will not be so long in coming. In the meantime, please take the time to enjoy the richness and variety of the new voices offered here, courtesy of our very talented pupils.

Andrew Young, Assistant Head of English

June 2019: Site Update

Round about now, Lumen, the website showcasing writing by pupils of St Aloysius’ College, celebrates its first birthday, and this has coincided with an opportunity to undertake an extensive update and development of the site. The response from pupils to the original launch of the site was very positive, whether or not their work was featured, and we hope that it has helped to provide some of them with additional motivation to aspire to excellence in their own writing, as well as allowing them to see the range and quality of work being produced by their peers.

Certainly, across the whole senior school, we have witnessed our pupils this year creating texts demonstrating boldness, ingenuity and dedication to the writing process in a range of different genres, and this is reflected in the pieces we have added to the website. There has been a notable increase in individuals willing to engage in writing poetry, a discipline often regarded as daunting, and some of the results have been striking, from the beautifully atmospheric Halloween poems of our S1 students Tiernan Blain and Callum Thomas, to the more varied and sophisticated work produced by upper-school pupils Catriona Chong, Charlie McCallum and Louisa Fenney. Many of our pupils also show a willingness to engage in depth with important, challenging ethical and geopolitical topics, and an ability to discuss them eloquently, as exemplified by Thomas Gillen’s call for greater accountability from governments and big business over recycling and climate change, and Madalena Loughlin-Gomes’s exploration into the controversial world of ‘transhumanism’. Meanwhile, there is a rich variety of ideas and styles on show among the pieces of short fiction, from the echoes of Conan Doyle in the work of Juliet McKay and James Barton, to the contrasting interior monologues created by Eva Pryce and Orla Morrow, to Lucy Gallagher’s and Lauren Boyle’s evocative period pieces with clever twists, Matilde Radice’s quartet of perspectives on love and finally Anthony Thompson’s ‘More Than Just a Stadium’: the first story I have encountered that is narrated by a football ground!

It is a particular pleasure to be able to add new pages displaying work by S1 and S2 pupils this year, and while these are still comparatively sparsely-populated, they will undoubtedly become fuller and richer as time goes on. It is hugely encouraging to see such imagination and commitment at work in these year groups – on the S2 page, Liam Kearney’s thoughtful reflection on his love of reading and reciting poetry is contrasted with the comic satire of Eva Black’s ‘The Village Idiot’ – a story influenced in equal parts by the tradition of the Shakespearean clown and Donald Trump’s election campaign. Meanwhile, two featured stories by S1 pupils, Niamh Stevenson’s ‘Project: Afton’ and Elise Keenan’s ‘Meat is Murder’ have been entered for the ASLS / Robert Burns World Federation short story competition; we wish them luck, and hope that they can emulate the success of Rachael Eadie, whose fine discursive essay ‘Give It a Rap!’, included on Lumen on the ‘S4 Discursive’ page, was earlier this year longlisted for the Scottish Schools’ Young Writer of the Year Award, and commended by the judges. It is a privilege to be able to bring such work, and that of all of our talented young writers, to a wider audience.

Andrew Young, Assistant Head of English