Scoil Aonghusa C.N.S pupils hangout in Silicon Valley, California

Last Friday night Scoil Aonghusa C.N.S. pupils from 1st to 6th class took part in a live video link up with penpals in Silicon Valley, California. We are running a cultural exchange pen pal project  via letter, email and online video link up with Forest Hill Elementary School in San Jose. The two schools connected using ‘Google Hangouts’ which is a communication platform that allows pupils to video chat.

It was a fun evening for all with our pupils enjoying pizza and chips donated by local businesses as they chatted with their American friends on laptops. Each pupil talked to their own pen pal, who they had recently received a letter from. The pupils were excited to share information about themselves and get the opportunity to see and chat directly with their pal. Nine year old Anna Palmer was delighted to hear that her penpal not only shared the same name but also enjoyed the same pastimes and favourite foods. The pupils were given a tour of the classroom and saw the school playground in the California school. The Forest Hill pupils are making and decorating ‘Holiday Season’ cards to send to their Irish penpals this week.

Amanda Haughs, Technology Coach and teacher in the Campbell Union School District in California commented “The 2nd and 4th graders at Forest Hill really enjoyed talking to their penpals in Ireland face-to-face with Google Hangouts. The video chat was a powerful learning opportunity for all the students– they were able to practice their speaking and listening skills in an engaging, real life situation while learning about the other children’s’ culture!”.  Mrs Mary O’Riordan, Principal of Scoil Aonghusa C.N.S. added “ The cultural exchange project is a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to engage with another all-inclusive multicultural school in Silicon Valley. The children are making friends and learning about other cultures whilst also developing their writing, speaking and listening skills”.


There are approximately 8,200 kilometers between Scoil Aonghusa C.N.S. and Forest Hill Elementary School.

In the next couple of weeks the Junior and Senior Infant classes will be making a short video greeting to send to their pals in California and another ‘Pizza and Hangouts’ evening will be held in January.  We would like to thank the Parents Association for their hard work and support for the project. The school would also like to thank Apache Pizza and Downtown takeaway Mallow for donations of food for the evening. Stand by for more news as the school year progresses.

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   Sharon chatting with her penpal Anna.                             Chloe ‘hanging out’ with Pasha.

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Jorja and Paetyn getting to know each other.                      Kaya making friends across the Atlantic.