Leaving Cert 2020 results: Covid-19 brings anti-climactic end to school years

Students feel ‘hard done by’ due to lack of celebration as tame nights planned

Leaving Cert students Micah Darcy and Robert Meehan, from Malahide Community School in Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Leaving Cert students Micah Darcy and Robert Meehan, from Malahide Community School in Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

 

Micah Darcy didn’t want to view her Leaving Cert results online because it felt too anti-climactic after several years of hard work.

Instead she gave her mum Bernice details for the examinations website, asked her to print out the results, place them into an envelope and hand it to her – in order to recreate the moment she had imagined.

“We really wanted to try and create the same experience we would have gotten in previous years,” she said.“I know loads of my friends were saying they went online and it just felt surreal because suddenly their grades popped up on the screen and it didn’t feel the same.”

She added: “I’m really glad I got to experience actually opening an envelope and having a tangible piece of paper to reflect my grades.”

Darcy, who attended Malahide community school in Dublin, received 601 points, which she hopes will earn her a place in Management Science and Information System Studies in Trinity College.

“I was pleasantly surprised. I really didn’t know how it was going to go because of the predicted grades but it was what I would have wanted in an ideal situation if I sat the exam,” she added.

Overall, students and teachers seemed relatively happy with the way in which the grades were standardised.

Gerry Cullen, principal at Mount Carmel Secondary School, Kings Inns Street, Dublin 1, said they had offered one-on-one appointments to students who might need support following the publication of results, but “very few” students had taken up the option.

“We had three appointments, out of about 80 students who received results. Those appointments were mainly about calculating points,” he said. “Students and teachers were very happy.”

Grade inflation

However, he added that he expects that more students will seek advice and support on Friday, when the CAO offers come out, as grade inflation could result in higher points for certain courses.

Rob Meehan, who is also from Malahide Community School, said while he was happy with the results, he feels “hard done by” due to the lack of celebration.

“As it goes on, the more things get cancelled. At first we thought our graduation was just being pushed back but now it’s September and there’s no sign of it,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a pain, but we’re trying to make the best of it. I’m going out for a nice meal with my close friends now.”

Luke Casserly, from Longford, said “uncertainty has been the buzzword for the past few months”, but his results were a “nice end to the [academic] year”.

He, like most other Leaving Cert recipients, is having to forego a big night out due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I’m just going to take it easy today and have dinner with the family. It will be very tame. It’s definitely a blow, but I guess you can’t miss what you never had.”

He added, with a laugh: “We didn’t have to do the Leaving Cert so I guess that’s what we get for not having to do the exams. We had to sacrifice something.”

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