Jessica O’Shea hit a few high notes as she screamed with joy after getting eight higher level A1s.

The musical student at Regina Mundi in Douglas on Cork’s southside was in shock when she received her results.

As one of just six in Ireland to get the top grades in eight subjects, she is part of a very exclusive club.

“It’s a bit of a shock, some of the papers didn’t go as well as I would have liked at the time. I thought Maths Paper 2 was tough, but it’s always really hard to judge,” she said.

Among her eight subjects was music, which she studied outside of school. With a wide mix of other subjects in addition to English, Irish, and maths — German, biology, accounting, and geography — she had one goal in mind.

“I’m hoping to do primary school teaching at Mary Immaculate in Limerick,” explained the 18-year-old. “I just always wanted to be a teacher and I’ve always loved working with kids.”

She also teaches violin to children, having played the instrument since she was five. As well as her very proud mum and dad, Donal and Deirdre, Jessica was looking forward to celebrating with twin brother Ian.

“We’re really close. He’s hoping to study in UCC,” she said.

Her parents were collecting Ian’s results from nearby Rochestown College, as Ian was doing a music course in Limerick this week. His results should secure him the science degree place he hopes to pursue at University College Cork.

Jessica was joined by five others with eight higher level A1s in Leaving Certificate 2016. Among them was Niamh Ryan from Castleknock, a student of Loreto College on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green; others with the top results in the capital were students at Gonzaga College, Sandford Road, and Coláiste Eoin in Stillorgan.

Also with eight A1s in honours papers were students in Mount St Michael Secondary School, Claremorris, and Ballinrobe Community School, both in Co Mayo.

The group were followed closely by 34 students who got seven higher level A1s, while another 132 got potentially maximum points for the Central Applications Office. However, only if higher level maths was among the subjects will they have the ultimate 625 CAO points score.

Just over 1,300 of this year’s Leaving Certificate students got three or more A1s yesterday, down from 1,575 a year ago.

The total numbers who got results of the Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied were up less than 1% from last year, to nearly 58,500.

Students can appeal the grade they received in any subjects that they are not satisfied with up to Wednesday, September 7, but must apply by next Tuesday through their school if they want to view their marked exam script beforehand.

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