Much elation and a little uncertainty for our Adamstown diarists

This was the first ever Leaving Cert class for new school Adamstown Community College. How did our exam diarists get on?

The Leaving Cert students from Adamstown Community College who reported on the exams in The Irish Times this June: from left, Natalia Staroscinska, Keith Coffey, Mumtaz Rostam, Emily Kane, Henry Kareem and Evelina Siaulyte. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The Leaving Cert students from Adamstown Community College who reported on the exams in The Irish Times this June: from left, Natalia Staroscinska, Keith Coffey, Mumtaz Rostam, Emily Kane, Henry Kareem and Evelina Siaulyte. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Des Newton had a tricky task. Last week, the principal of Adamstown Community College greeted the school’s first-ever Leaving Cert students to hand out the results. He had to strike a balance between making the day special for the students while keeping it relatively low-key to avoid stress. And he had to contend with expectations from parents who, six years ago, sent their children to a brand-new school with no academic record or reputation.

“It was a big day for the school,” he says. “A lot of teachers as well as the school’s two guidance counsellors were here, so the students could talk to them about the results, be reassured and be instructed on the possibility of viewing scripts.”

A clear blue sky and a bright sunny day pierced some of the tensions and lifted spirits, with students picking up their results from around 10am. Some came with one or both of their parents, and tentatively opened the envelope in the car. Others met groups of friends and walked in to school together. As with every one of the 700-plus second-level schools around Ireland, there was a mix of elation, satisfaction and disappointment.

We caught up with this year’s Irish Times Leaving Cert diarists to see how they got on.

 

Natalia Staroscinska

Sleepless nights all around before the results came out, but not for me. This summer, I’ve been working as a housekeeper for a hotel, so by the time the day was over, I was tired and had no problem resting.

I was one of the first people at the school when it opened at 10am. It was a gorgeous day, so I walked in with some classmates. Brown envelope in hand, I sat down and gently pulled out the little white slip that would determine so much.

I scanned the grades first. An A2 in biology – great! A B3 in English, which was much more than I expected. And I passed chemistry, which hadn’t been my strongest subject. When I added all the grades, it came to 400 points.

I’m so, so delighted. I’ve had my heart set on art in IADT and, because I already secured 600 points for my portfolio, this should easily take me over the line.

I’m so excited about college now. Cannot wait.

 

Emily Kane

I got 470 points – 10 less than I need for my second choice, law at Maynooth University. Or at least I think so: I won’t know for sure until the CAO first round offers. Maybe the points requirement will fall. I’m pretty sure my first choice – law in Trinity College – is off the table; last year it required 530 points.

I’m considering whether or not to appeal some grades, particularly English, where I thought I might do better. If I don’t get law, I will pick one of my lower preferences. These are all science, pharma and biotech courses, so they’re a world away from law.

I was really happy with some of my grades though – especially my A in biology. But it’s really just a waiting game now.

 

Mumtaz Rostam

I spent most of the summer visiting family and friends in Malaysia and only got back a few days before the results. I had such a great time, spending a few weeks in Kuala Lumpur and some time in Malacca. There was even a day trip to Thailand. But, for all the fun, it’s been a long wait.

The night before the results, I didn’t sleep very well. I kept waking up. Then on the morning itself, I headed into the school with my dad, filled with trepidation. We opened the results together in the car.

My first choice is medicine, and the points are high. When I added up all my grades, my points probably won’t be high enough, so I don’t think that I will get it. Yes, it’s a bit disappointing, but it’s not completely over yet: I’ll see when the first round CAO offers come out and I’ll also consider appealing some grades.

Overall, I did very well and got high points, and I’m proud of biology which was my best subject. If not medicine, then it looks like I’ll be studying a business subject like commerce or maybe accounting.

 

Henry Kareem

I was so incredibly nervous going into the school to pick up my results. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Nobody was. But when I opened that envelope, one word: relief. My head is still racing, and it’s such a shock because you put so much work into it and feel such a mix of emotions throughout the whole process.

I went to the school with my mum and I opened the dreaded envelope with the school principal. Straight away, I was delighted. I got 270 points and I only needed around 200 to do music production at IADT. I’ll be going to college in Temple Bar in Dublin and I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone is telling me I’ll meet loads of different and interesting people.

I was especially happy with my grades in English, Irish and geography. One disappointment was my mark for ordinary level maths. I would have liked a slightly higher score, but you can’t win everything.

My parents were delighted too. My mum brought me to McDonald’s for an impromptu celebration but there will be more celebrations to come.

 

Keith Coffey

I sit at home with the results, looking at them again and again. Before I collected that envelope, I slept okay but woke up and felt sick. I went in by myself and my mam waited in the car. I brought them back and opened them up with her.

I am a bit disappointed. I had my heart set on studying theology with arts at St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra. Last year, it required 305 points. I got 285 points, just 20 off what I need. I didn’t come near what I need for some of my other choices, including arts in Maynooth University.

I was happy with my C1 in higher level English, but less so with a D1 in business and a D2 in the combined physics and chemistry paper, where I’d hoped to do a bit better. I might appeal those two.

Now? I wait. I see if the points fall. I consider repeating some subjects. I go for a PLC course that could provide a route to university. But, most of all, I’ll clear my head and get a handle on what’s next.

 

Evelina Siaulyte

This summer was one of the best summers I’ve ever had. I am really happy with my results and some even surprised me. My best result was an A2 in Russian. I got 465 points. I can’t wait to see what places I am offered. I think I might not be offered my first choice, but I’m more than sure I’ll get into some course of nursing that I’d like to do. For now, since I’m still in Lithuania, I feel like I’m still on holidays. Fingers crossed all my friends who did their Leaving Cert are happy with their results because I’m still feeling a light shock because of what I got – but it’s a nice kind of a shock.

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