The Exam Squad: Meath students to share exam highs and lows
(Video) The Irish Times has selected its Leaving Cert squad: the class of 2013 at Dunshaughlin Community College.
The Exam Squad: Leaving Certificate students at Dunshaughlin Community College, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath. From left; Linda McCormack, Stuart Bridgett, Catherine Vance, Sarah Keane, Aaron Gilmartin and Albert Wilkinson.Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Stuart Bridgett: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: Whatever is on TV or Breaking Bad; MY SUMMER PLANS: Look for summer work, and go on a city break if I can get money together; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Politics, economics, and international relations at DCU; MY LIFE ONLINE: I check Facebook now and again and I use it for chat; MY DREAM JOB: UN diplomat; MY WEAKNESS: Oreos and bacon-flavoured crispsMY STUDY SPACE: I set up an “endurance studying” space. I’ll do an hour a day – or six hours a day if the mood takes me; FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S ALL OVER: Sleep, eat and do nothing for a few days. EXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? I’ll give the notes to my younger brother if they are of use Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill
Albert Wilkinson: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: Dirty Paws, by Monsters and Men; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: US murder mystery Castle; MY SUMMER PLANS: Get a job; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Engineering in UCD; MY DREAM JOB: War correspondent with ReutersMY LIFE ONLINE: Occasional Twitter and Facebook use; MY WEAKNESS: Pancakes. MY STUDY SPACE: Put on noise-isolating headphones to drown out my brother’s noise, and find a quiet spotFIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S ALL OVER: Relish the freedom to make my decisions and have some independenceEXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? Put them in a box, they might come in handy for someone else. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill
Aaron Gilmartin: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: Meow by Anamanguchi; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: Animouse; MY SUMMER PLANS: Nottingham to meet my gaming friends. Get an internship with Riot Games; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Games development and design at Griffith College Dublin; MY DREAM JOB: Head scriptwriter for NintendoMY LIFE ONLINE: I get paid to play League of Legends at pro-player level so I communicate frequently with other players through Mumble; MY WEAKNESS: Coke Zero; MY STUDY SPACE: My four-zoned bedroom: clothes, instruments, study, clothes. FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S OVER: Play bass, go to Navan; EXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? Lock them in a safe and throw them into the ocean.Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill
Linda McCormack: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: Sixteen and Pregnant, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo; MY SUMMER PLANS: Fundraise to cover two weeks of volunteering in India with the Girl Guides; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Home economics and economics at St Angela’s, Sligo; MY DREAM JOB: Film critic; MY STUDY SPACE: A desk covered in yellow Post-it notes; MY LIFE ONLINE: I’m a bit addicted to Twitter for rants and news; MY WEAKNESS: Doritos and Lucozade; FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S ALL OVER: I’ve got to raise more money for India; EXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? eBay, and then, when they don’t sell, green bin Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Sarah Keane: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: No Diggety, Ed Sheeran and Passenger; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: Hannibal; MY SUMMER PLANS: Go to Arklow in a caravan; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Psychology at DCU; MY DREAM JOB: A job that combines art therapy and criminology. I might have to invent it; MY LIFE ONLINE: Twitter and Facebook but not compulsively. I get bored quicklyMY WEAKNESS: Extreme food like Crazy Sour Skittles; MY STUDY SPACE: A massive mess of a room by the kitchen. Excavation will begin shortly; FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S OVER: Nothing; EXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? Might be hard to find them under the rubble. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill
Catherine Vance: MY SONG OF THE LEAVING CERT: For Good, from the musical Wicked; WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING WHEN I SHOULD BE STUDYING: Revenge; MY SUMMER PLANS: Finish my novel, Tears Backstage; WHAT I WANT TO STUDY: Primary school teaching at Marino College; MY DREAM JOB: Actor or author; MY LIFE ONLINE: Occasional Facebook user; MY WEAKNESS: Chocolate; MY STUDY SPACE: My highly organised bedroom, glowing with highlighter pens; FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN IT’S OVER: Start rehearsals for A Chorus LineEXAM NOTES: eBay or green bin? Bonfire. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill
Dublin casts a long shadow over Dunshaughlin Community College in Co Meath. Rising property prices during the boom led many of the students’ parents to move from the capital to one of the many estates that were built at the time.
A small number of pupils retain a sense of connection to Dublin, even if they have never lived there, but most have grown up in Meath, support Meath sports clubs, and feel their primary allegiance to the county.
The school has grown hugely since its establishment 37 years ago, with numbers rising from 700 to about 1,000 in the past few years. It is undergoing a €7 million redevelopment. It employs about 50 permanent staff, plus 30 part-time and contract staff, and is under the auspices of Meath VEC.
It is in Meath East, widely regarded by political observers as a bellwether constituency. The students seem relatively indifferent to politics, however.
The college boasts strong academic results, with 90 per cent of the last year’s class progressing to publicly funded colleges or universities.
The classrooms are very mixed, with the children of farmers sitting alongside those whose parents commute to work in some of the many multinational firms dotting the M50.
This year, 145 students will sit the Leaving Certificate at the school, while 200 will sit the Junior Cert. The Irish Times will follow six Leaving Cert students at the school, from before the exams through to their results. Each student will write an exam diary.