Italian students complete lockdown Leaving Cert in Cork

Two exceptional Italian teenagers stayed in a Cork school as their home country went into lockdown to complete their Leaving Cert throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Italian students complete lockdown Leaving Cert in Cork
Italian students Sabino Saraceno (front) and (rear left) Camilla Corti who come to Ireland on an International Student Exchange programme to study at Nagle Community College, Mahon, Cork. Also present at the school was Principal Jim O'Sullivan (at rear right) Picture: Larry Cummins

Two exceptional Italian teenagers stayed in a Cork school as their home country went into lockdown to complete their Leaving Cert throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sabino Sacareno, 17, skipped fifith year, squeezing the two-year syllabus into one, and was reaching 500 points in his pre-Leaving Cert exams after just six months studying through a foreign language at Nagle Community College in Mahon, Cork.

Camilla Corti, a talented artist, is so happy in Ireland that she has already decided to study art at the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork next year.

Sabino, an ambitious teenager from Puglia in southern Italy, came to Ireland last August to start fifth year but quickly decided to enter 6th year instead so he could sit the Leaving Cert one year early and begin a medicine degree in September.

When the Coronavirus hit his home country, devastating entire regions, Sabino made the difficult decision to stay in Ireland without his family to complete his exams.

“My family were worried about me being in a different country but the Irish State coped so well with Covid-19, keeping the infection number low, so they trusted me and they trusted Ireland,” Sabino said.

“Studying for the Leaving Cert distracted me from the situation. The school was really helpful and was always available if I had any problems and my host family were very kind and supported me.

So it was easy enough because I was surrounded by good people.

Now that the exams have been cancelled, Sabino has booked a flight home on May 31 and hopes that Italy will accept the Leaving Cert as equivalent to Italian state exams.

He trusts his teachers, he says, who in the few short months have gotten to know him well, both personally and academically.

“If they do not accept the Leaving Cert I will have to do another year at secondary school. But I hope to go straight into university as a gateway to getting a job in the future.

“Coming into fifth Year, a lot of people said, ‘you’re crazy trying to do the Leaving Cert in one year, it’s a tough challenge.’ But my family believed in me and supported me and I’m very happy I did it now.

“My secret is to be consistent. Spend a small part of each day studying, even if it’s one hour a day for seven days. It adds up and you still have time to see your friends."

Before he leaves, he will say goodbye to friends and teachers via video call, before he “turns the page on this chapter of life.”

Jim O'Sullivan, Principal of Nagle Community College, said that Sabino is a truly exceptional young man.

"He's a hero, a bit of a warrior,” Mr O’Sullivan said. "And Camilla is a hugely talented artist. She loves Ireland so much that she's going to stay and study art at the Crawford.

She has a very bright future ahead of her.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.