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Cross-county celebrations for Leaving Certs

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EXAM SUCCESS Pictured outside St Gerald’s College in Castlebar were, back, from left: Callum Hill, Talha Adeeb, Enda Moran, Cathal Cosgrave and Luke Howley, who all got 625 points. At the front is Mr Seán Burke, Principal with Emmanuel Safo-Ankoma, who got eight H1s.

Students achieve great results as they rise to challenge of Covid restrictions

Áine Ryan, Anton McNulty and Edwin McGreal

FOR the second year in a row Leaving Certificate students all across Co Mayo had to decide whether they would sit their final secondary school exams or accept accredited grades. Official numbers state that 1,605 students in the county opted for the latter, whilst 1,424 sat their exams back in June. Indeed, some of these students chose the hybrid option of sitting some exams and accepting accredited grades for other subjects.
An additional 107 student in the county chose the Leaving Cert Applied option.  
The results of their efforts online and in classrooms, where the restrictions imposed by the pandemic were still in operation, were published last Friday, September 3, with the overall trend for higher grades achieved.       
Among the stellar students in Co Mayo whose incredible results – nine H1s – was the subject of both local and national media coverage was Hana Ueno (18), from Castlebar.
She attended St Louis Community School, Kiltimagh and told The Irish Independent: “I was quietly confident in myself because I knew how much work I’d put into it.
“I had nine subjects and I decided to sit four of them – maths, physics, applied maths and Japanese,” Hana said. “My dad is Japanese, so we were curious to see how it would go.”
She plans to study engineering at Trinity College, Dublin.

Dedication and diligence
SPEAKING after the results announcement, the Principal of St Mary’s Secondary School, Belmullet, Edmund Holmes, praised the dedication of the students, whilst experiencing  ‘lots of interruption to their senior cycle education over the last two years’.
“However, the students never wavered in their diligent approach to learning either in school or online and they are now rewarded with some excellent Leaving Cert results that they can carry forward with pride.  
“As the results were revealed, on Friday morning, the students were delighted with how well they had done across the board and they felt that the combination of the written exams accredited grades process while challenging was fair. Almost all students are very confident of getting their first choice course in third level when the CAO offers come out,” Mr Holmes said.
He detailed how two students had  achieved 613 points; with 18 percent achieving over  over 550 points; 36 percent over 500 points; 41 percent over 450 points; 68 percent over 400 points; and 95 percent over 350 points.
He also noted that 100 percent of the students who completed the Leaving Cert Applied Programme had achieved a distinction grade.
“It is a great day for Our Lady’s Secondary School. Since the sudden closure of schools in March 2020, It has been very challenging for the students, and particularly with all of the uncertainty surrounding school during the past academic year, There’s immense pride throughout the school in how well the students dealt with each challenge along the way.  
We are  delighted that all of our students were so happy with their results. They are all leaving here with a great sense of achievement and that makes us very proud of each and every one of them. As Principal, I want to wish them well in their futures and say thank you to the all of parents for their support over the years. I also want to acknowledge the great work done by the excellent team of teachers in Our Lady’s and thank them for their huge dedication to the students over the last number of years.
We hope these students will retain fond memories of their time in secondary school and continue to use the school as a source of support in the years to come.”

Resilience to uncertainty
MEANWHILE the Principal of Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh, Pauline Moran, said all at the school were ‘delighted with how our 66 students performed in the Leaving Cert at Sancta Maria College’.
“It was a year of uncertainty and stress for all students and their families  but they proved to themselves and to us how resilient they were during that time. Many students received excellent results.  These results are a happy and affirming conclusion to their time with us at Sancta Maria. We wish all students the very best of luck in whatever career or direction they wish to take in the months and years ahead.”
Ms Moran added that the staff would also like to remind all the students that they are ‘here to support them especially on receiving their CAO offers’.
“They were a wonderful and hardworking group who showed remarkable leadership and resilience. We are very proud of you all,” Pauline Moran told The Mayo News.

Castlebar credit
The Principal of St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, Seán Burke is certainly very proud of all his Leaving Cert students and has encouraged them ‘not to be strangers’ in the future.
Among them was Emmanuel Safo-Ankoma, who achieved a whopping eight H1s and now plans to attend Warwick University to pursue a degree in Maths and Statistics.
He said his parents had been wonderful in encouraging and helping him along the way, as well as making opportunities for him.
“It is their victory as well as mine. There was shouting and jumping in the house when the results came. It was definitely a surprise, I was pushing towards it.”
His teachers and class mates were also a great support.
“My time at St Gerald’s was great, definitely, because I had a class that was very competitive, which pushed. There were teachers who were very good. Even during the lockdown we were in contact daily, we had classes still running which stopped it from being disjointed. I think that is why St Gerald’s did so well in the country overall.”