Consistency, a clear mind, and classical music may have helped some of the country’s top students secure their impressive exam results.
Michael O’Grady, a student at Christian Brothers College on Wellington Road, Cork, achieved eight H1s.
He is among the five students who scored the highest points in the country; students in Dublin, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Galway also received the maximum points on offer in each of their eight subjects.
For Michael, the secret to his academic success wasn’t cramming; it was swimming and playing the piano to help him relax.
“I did a bit of study every day,” he explained. “But I also made sure to put a bit of time aside when I could to try and take my mind off the stress. I’d go for a swim or play a bit of piano. I think it’s important not to get too bogged down with everything.
After the delight of his results, the student from Mallow is hoping to receive an offer to study medicine at University College Cork (UCC) when the CAO first-round offers are issued on Thursday.
Caoimhe Lyons, a student at St Aloysius’ College in Carrigtwohill who secured seven H1s and one H2, also tried to keep a clear head during her final school year.
“I just tried to be consistent with my work, I didn’t do any cramming and I tried not to stress,” she said.
“I was hoping to do well, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to be happy and get my course.
Caoimhe, who is from Glounthaune, wants to study engineering at UCC.
Annie O’Callaghan, from Crossbarry, is also hoping to secure a place at UCC on Thursday after achieving 625 points, including six H1s.
A student of Coláiste Na Toirbhirte in Bandon, Annie now wants to pursue a degree in medical and health science.
Her results were due to “hard work and good teachers’’ she told the Irish Examiner.
Opting to study music for her Leaving Cert, Annie is also a member of the Cork Youth Orchestra, where she plays the violin.
“When I had spare time this year, I played a lot of piano,” she added.
Gormfhlaith Ní Síocháin Ní Bheoláin, from Fermoy, received her results remotely as she is currently training with the Irish Youth Choir.
After securing 625 points, she hopes to go on to pursue a degree in Arts and Music in UCC, where she will specialise in Irish.
As well as classical piano, the Loreto Secondary School student also plays traditional tin whistle and sings sean-nós.
In West Cork, Fionn Ferreira, who was recently named the overall winner of a global science competition at Google HQ in California, returned to his school to pick up his results.
The Schull Community College student, who is from Ballydehob, was awarded a $50,000 bursary for his work on micro-plastics.
“I am hugely honoured to have received this special recognition (from Google) and a warm welcome back from the school. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” Fionn said.
Fionn, who currently works as a curator at the Schull Planetarium, now plans to attend university in The Netherlands.
During his time at Schull Community College, he collected 12 science fair awards and has even had a minor planet named after him by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Nationally, 61 students received seven H1s and 235 received six H1s. First-round offers will be issued to students by the Central Applications Office tomorrow.
With more than 3,700 students not meeting the Maths requirement to progress to university, there are a number of options available from institutions.
Cork Institute of Technology, Limerick Institute of Technology, the Universityof Limerick, Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology are among the institutions offering different types of maths qualifying exams in the coming weeks.
NUI Galway offers an Engineering maths qualifying exam which gives students a second chanceto pursue a career in engineering.
The exam, which takesplace on August 20, is for students who achievethe CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory Maths requirement. A full list ofall institutions offering qualifying exams can be found on www.CAO.ie
Leaving Cert student Darragh Cotter can hardly recognise the change in himself.
In just a few short years, he has gone from locking himself in his room due to incapacitating anxiety to speaking about climate action at the European Parliament.
The Mayfield teenager is one of 11 students who received their Leaving Cert results on Tuesday from the Cork Life Centre. “I’m very happy with myself,” he said.
“I got six passes and I’ve been accepted to the Cork College of Commerce. But for me, the results are not really important.
“The most important thing about this week is where I came from. A few years ago when I came to the Cork Life Centre first, I was in a really bad place.” Overwhelmed with anxiety as a young teenager, Darragh left his mainstream school within a few months of starting first year.
“I dropped out, by definition,” he said. “My anxiety started in primary school but I don’t know where it came from. I’m comfortable with friends but the transition from primary school to secondary school just hit me really hard.” His anxiety was so severe at times it would make him physically sick. “I couldn’t even leave my house, I locked myself in my room. I was lucky because my parents always supported me. I would try any excuse to get out of school, even to get out of school trips which usually children are really excited to go on.
Darragh also became involved with Fridays for Future. “In March, I travelled to Strasbourg to the European Parliament with 58 other young people and spoke to MEPs about climate action. The difference in myself now is staggering and I’m quite proud of it.” Cork Life Centre is a volunteer-led project in Sunday’s Well that offers an alternative for those who find themselves outside of mainstream education, according to its director Don O’Leary.
“All of our students who sat the Leaving Cert in the centre have done really well. It’s been a joy to watch them grow,” he said.
“The Leaving Cert isn’t the be all and end all; it’s another step for students to get where they are going to.”
- By Evelyn Ring
Rebecca Carter’s successful legal battle means that no student will lose a college place because of the time taken to check Leaving Certificate examination points.
The Wexford student won a High Court action last September that allowed her to go to University College Dublin to study veterinary medicine, as planned, because a points error was corrected in time.
The way the system worked then meant that even though a mistake had been made, the results of her appeal, under normal circumstances, would not be available in time for her to obtain her college place.
She described the weeks leading up to the final recount of her paper as “overwhelming.” There were many “low” moments, when she believed she had missed out on her dream of becoming a vet.
“I’ve always loved animals and, as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a vet,” Rebecca said, after being accepted into the college.
Her business paper was subsequently upgraded and that resulted in her exceeding the points needed to join her class at UCD.
The court ordered the State Examinations Commission to speed up its appeals process and a revised timeline this year has reduced the examination appeals process by three weeks.
The result of any student’s appeal will be available by the third week of September and the colleges have also guaranteed that no first-year course will begin before the middle of September.
- By Evelyn Ring
Rhona Butler’s call for compassion for students who lose loved ones during the Leaving Certificate examinations helped around 40 students to benefit from a new scheme this year.
The scheme allows students who suffer a close family bereavement during or just before their examination to sit alternative papers in July.
Rhona’s mother died on June 13 last year and the student from Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, had to sit a business examination the next day.
The funeral took place on a Saturday and Rhona completed an accounting examination on the following Monday.
“They see us as an examination number, but we’re so much more than that. There are people behind those numbers,” said Rhona, who is studying business and German at the University of Limerick.
“If I didn’t show up on the day, that was my problem. It wasn’t the department’s; they didn’t care,” she said in an interview with RTÉ’s Ryan Tubridy earlier this year.
The Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, met Rhona and thanked her for showing how bereaved Leaving Certificate students could be better supported.
The scheme introduced this year on a pilot basis allows a student to be absent from examinations for a three-day period during the June written state examinations timetable.
The three-day period starts from the date of the death of a close relative up to and including the day after the funeral. It will apply in cases where a close relative dies during examination time or in the two days before examinations start on June 5.
The scheme will be reviewed after this year’s examinations.