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Róisín Ní Fhallúin, Ballyea, contemplates her achievement of 625 points at Ghaelcholáiste an Chláir in Ennis. Photograph by Arthur Ellis.

Students celebrate top class exam results

BALLYEA resident Róisín Ní Fhallúin has achieved one of the highest scores in the country in the Leaving Certificate, having received seven H1 grades yielding a maximum of 625 points.

The Gaelcholáiste an Chláir student is one of 63 in the country to receive the maximum grade in seven subjects and is now preparing to embark on a course in psychology and maths at Trinity College Dublin.

Principal Denis O’Rourke with Ciara Kenny, Coolmeen and Michael Donnellan, Kildysart, who both received 613 points at St John Bosco Community College in Kildysart. Photograph by Arthur Ellis.

Róisín said she wasn’t expecting to do so well and was hoping for points in the region of 570, in order to do her chosen CAO course.
“My course was 570, so I was hoping I had got 577. I was hoping for two or three H1s. I can’t believe I got it in English because I just didn’t think it went well for me at all.”

Róisín said she enjoyed the experience of going in to collect her results. “It was lovely going in. Everyone was nervous going there and a few of my friends had already opened their results and they were happy, so that was nice. It was nice to see some of our teachers there too because they have been great to me over the years,” she said.

As for her future career hopes, she said her course is broad, so she is hoping either psychology or maths will be for her.

Gaelcholáiste an Chláir principal Brian O’Donoghue expressed his delight at Róisín’s result and paid tribute to her hard work and dedication. “It’s a great day for our students and a tribute to their hard work and dedication to see their efforts recognised in this morning’s results. Many of them are planning to study engineering, science, music, teaching and a range of other options. We’re looking forward to the CAO offers next week and we wish them well in their future endeavours,” said Mr O’Donoghue.

Meanwhile, two St John Bosco Kildysart Community College students achieved more than 600 points. Ciara Kenny, who is from Coolmeen, has pharmacy at UCC down as her first choice, while Michael Donnellan, Kildysart, will study financial mathematics at UL.

Sinéad Ní Dhubhghiolla celebrates her 510 points with her four-year-old sister Adele.

“I was nervous but I think I was more nervous before the actual exams. There wasn’t much point in being nervous today. It wasn’t going to change what was going to happen. I was a bit worried about the maths because I was doing higher level. It’s one of those subjects that you never really know how you’re going to get on. English is also very subjective but I’m delighted now. I was really happy with how I did,” Ciara told The Clare Champion on Wednesday.

“I really enjoyed my time in school but I think I’m ready to move on to a new challenge. We had brilliant teachers and because it’s a small school, our teachers had great time for us. For maths, for example, our teacher stayed back with us every single week to help us.

“The teachers give up so much of their free time to help us. I really liked the atmosphere in the school,” Ciara added.
Michael Donnellan was somewhat surprised to achieve more than 600 points.

“I’d have been happy to get over 500 but to get over 600, I was shocked more than anything. I wasn’t so confident about English but I got a H1 in that. I was iffy enough about the maths too but I got the H1. I was delighted,” he said.
School principal Denis O’Rourke paid tribute to his staff and the parents of all children who sat the exams in Kildysart.

“We’re delighted that Ciara and Michael got over 600 and we have a number of students that got over 500. There is a history of a high transfer into third level and this year’s results are in line with that. It’s a credit to the teachers and the parents, who support the school and the students,” Mr O’Rourke said.

In East Clare, there were celebrations in Scariff as students achieved exceptional results, with H1 grades appearing right across the spectrum of subjects. School principal Angela McNamara said they were delighted to record a 100% success rate in maths.

She commented, “The new grading system takes getting used to but it seems to have worked well, benefiting in particular those students who may have at times found higher level challenging. They all now have a very solid start to the next chapter in their lives and I wish each and every one of them the very best in the future.”

Tara Gleeson and Aoife Tuohy collect their results at St Joseph’s Secondary School Tulla.

In Tulla, principal of St Joseph’s Secondary School Margaret O’Brien handed out her last batch of Leaving Certificates, as she prepares to retire at the end of the month.

She said that a notable difference this year seemed to be that a lot of students had apprenticeships lined up, as the improved economic conditions means there are more choices available for students.

In Shannon, deputy principal of St Caimin’s Alan Cunningham said that results had been good, particularly in French, maths, DCG and engineering. He said that students were happy, even though the new points system caused a little bit of confusion.

“The reaction has been very good. The new system throws them a bit. When they open it first, they just get a number and that throws them until they have a chance to put it into their phones and work out their points. Once they do that, they are much, much happier.”

While the Leaving Cert is generally associated with young people, 26 people also received results in Clare having studied under the Back to Education Initiative. Some of these students were in their 70s this year, while they attended classes both during the day and evening.

In Lisdoonvarna, principal of Mary Immaculate Secondary School John O’Loughlin said he was “delighted with the results across all the range of student abilities”.

He said that taking up college offers was by no means the “most appropriate pathway” for everyone and that there are excellent further education opportunities, which could lead students back to the CAO system in August 2018 when they are more mature and more ready to benefit from third-level education.

“Every student’s result is a cause for celebration,” he added.


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