Leaving Cert: Shrieks of joy echo through the halls as students celebrate
Frayed nerves and sleepless nights turn to relief in schools across the State
Suzanne Day, Aoife Moore and Charlotte Byrne delighted with their Leaving Certificate results and at Maryfield College, Whitehall. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Shrieks of joy echoed through the halls of Maryfield College in Drumcondra on Wednesday morning as the school’s Leaving Cert students celebrated the long-anticipated results of their final exams.
Kerri Dowdal felt sick to her stomach as she arrived at the gates of her former secondary school, ready to collect the results of months of hard work and sleepless nights.
“I was really nervous but when I saw the girls coming out that had got their results they were smiling. No one came out looking upset so that kind of helped and made me realise it’s not that bad.”
Dowdal says she is very happy with her results and hopes to have enough points to study biomedicine at the Dublin Institute of Technology in September. She says the Leaving Cert was a real struggle for everyone and places necessary stress on students. “But looking back on it now, it’s fine. I shouldn’t have worried. I did as much as I could.”
Ciara MacMahon, who was relieved to discover she had passed all her subjects, is looking forward to starting her hairdressing apprenticeship and says it finally feels like “all the stress was worth something”.
“I wasn’t looking for points exactly, I just wanted to pass everything and do as well as I could. It’s so much pressure and really nerve-wracking before it, during it, waiting for your results. There’s a lot pressure put on us.”
Unlike many of her peers, Caitlin Hyland says she had “the best sleep of my life” on Tuesday. “I was so tired from worrying all week and I just slept like a baby. I woke up and I knew I’d done well, there was no point in getting nervous. I’d put the work in and I got my results so I’m happy with that.”
Hyland is planning on doing a Post-Leaving Cert course (PLC) in history before studying English and history at DCU. “Then I want to go on to secondary school teaching. I enjoyed secondary school and loved all the banter we had with the teachers so hopefully I can be one of those teachers.”
Standing beside Hyland, Coleen Dunne-Kennedy is nervously picking at the sealed envelope in her hand. “I haven’t opened them yet,” she explains. “I’m gonna go home first, have a cup of tea, calm down and then open them.
“I literally just got off a plane yesterday so I didn’t think about it at all until last night and it was fine. It’s just like, what is meant to be will be.”
Speaking at the Maryfield College as the girls collected their results, Minister for Education Richard Bruton commended students who chose to take higher level papers at Leaving Cert following the introduction of a new marking system.
“It’s good to see more students take on these more challenging courses, said the minister, adding that the development of traineeships, apprenticeships and PLCs would offer students more pathways to fulfil their ambitions.
Asked if he was concerned about the failure rate among students taking ordinary level papers this year, Mr Bruton said he expected the standard to be “a little lower” as more young people opted to move up to higher level papers for the first time. He reiterated that the new grading system would not be a “dumbing down”of the exams, saying it did the opposite by encouraging students to choose “more challenging routes” of study.
In Cork, over half of the Leaving Certificate Students at Douglas Community School received A grades in Chemistry with overall strong performances in all science subjects.
Tom Janulevicius scored 602 points and is planning to study Medicine at UCC. He said Applied Maths was a tough paper but he pulled through and got the result he wanted.
“ I was doing three hours study a day. I was excited but fearful coming in to get my results.”
Christoph Wroblewski got 613 points and plans to study Maths at UCD.
“I got what I wanted. I was pretty happy because I thought I got 625 at the start because I saw six H1’s on the paper but then I realised English was Ordinary. So that was a bit of a disappointment but I got the course I wanted.”
Eoin Hodkinson got the required points for his desired course of Commerce. He said that Biology was “rather tough” this year and “shocked everyone” but luckily he came out with a strong mark in the end.
Meanwhile, students at Christ the King Girls School in Douglas were also celebrating having achieved impressive results. Rachel Coomey said she was delighted to receive 625 points.
“I really didn’t feel that the exams had gone my way and I wasn’t expecting much when I came in so I was absolutely delighted. I am hoping to go in to medical research so I am hoping to do Medicine at Trinity in September. I only needed about 530 so I am safe. It’s a shock but I am delighted.”
Ronan Hennessy from Montenotte, Cork was among the “delighted” Leaving Cert students at Christian Brothers College in Cork city and hopes his seven H1s will give him enough to study medicine.
The 18-year-old was particularly pleased as he had taken a year off from playing midfield with Cork City FC U-17s to concentrate on his studies and the sacrifice proved worthwhile when he achieved the top marks.
“I’m delighted – I got H1s in Irish, English, Maths, French, Biology, Chemistry and Physic – my first choice is to do medicine in UCC so hopefully I should be okay — I don’t have any family link with medicine but it’s what I want to do,” said Ronan, who hopes to get back playing soccer next season .
Christian Brothers College administrator, Tony McCarthy said maths and science were particularly good this year for the school which had 144 pupils sitting the exam.
Over at Presentation Brothers College on the Mardyke, Cork, Principal Aidan Twomey was analysing the results in between meeting the 106 students who sat the Leaving Certificate at the school and he was more than satisfied with the results, particularly in languages.
“There’s great excitement here this morning – the results are very solid and the kids delighted with what they’ve done . I think there may be a slight sense of bewilderment in terms of H1, H2 and H3 and the impact on the points requirement but the results would appear to very solid and very good
“Maths and languages were particularly strong — we offer French, German and Latin – we still offer Latin so we are still fighting the Barbarians and we had 14 doing it this year and the results were very good as they were with the other languages.
“I think the success in French and German is down to people getting use to the oral emphasis that they brought in a couple of years back – I think that’s beginning to kick in and people are getting their rewards for approaching that properly at this stage.