'I'm completely shocked!' - Six students get 12 As as long wait ends for Junior Cert results
Almost 60,000 students will receive their Junior Certificate exam results today, including six students who achieved the top grades with 12 As.
Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan congratulated the 59,522 students, saying: "I hope that your results reflect the hard work you have put into your studies and give you a solid foundation to continue your studies in the coming years."
The Labour TD added: "I would like to acknowledge the work of the teachers in preparing their students over the three-year cycle and also acknowledge the key role that parents and the wider family play in supporting the students."
While the number of students receiving honours in languages such as French and English more or less stayed the same, the numbers receiving honours in higher level Irish has increased from 78.4pc in 2013 to 84.5pc in 2015.
Arron O'Connor, from Mercy Secondary School in Ballymahon in Co Longford, was one of the exclusive group of six who received the coveted 12 As.
Speaking to Independent.ie, he said he was 'shocked' by the result.
"I'm completely shocked - it's more than I ever could have imaged", he said.
Despite not getting too nervous during June's exams - he said there were some nerves this morning opening the envelope.
"I was definitely nervous this morning. I just opened the envelope really slowly and revealed one result at a time.
He said when he saw the A in Irish he knew he had done well, as he hadn't got an A in the mocks.
"When I saw the A in Irish I knew I was doing well - I hadn't got that in the mocks so I realised I was doing better."
Arron is now taking part in TY - although he hopes to study something related to Chemistry after his Leaving Cert in three years.
"I've decided I definitely want to do something related to Chemistry, I've a huge passion for science and in TY Ill get to explore some areas more closely."
His father Colm said he was 'overwhelmed and delighted' for him.
"He didn't work too hard, he wasn't beavering away for four hours every night at a desk - but he did work hard," he joked.
School principal Josephine Donohue described Arron as a “fantastic student; maths is a hobby to him”.
This is the fourth year in the past five that the Ballymahon school has produced one of the top-performing Junior Cert students.
Mairanda Faul from Colasite Lorcain in Castledermot also achieved 12 As.
“I was hoping to do well and I was really happy with the results”, she said.
“I worked really hard studying, but I also made sure to take time out for other interests and fun with my friends” she added.
She also praised her school and teachers.
“It’s quite a small school but it’s a really nice school. The teachers are great and give you lots of attention and are very supportive.
Her mum Anna also praised the school, saying she was ‘thrilled’ with the result.
“I’m thilled for her but not completely surprised; she did very well in her mock exams and that set up the expectations.
“But she worked consistently hard throughout the year and I knew she’d do it.”
School principal Eric Gaughran said: “We’re very proud of Mairanda, for any student at 15 years of age to get 12 As is an incredible achievement.
“It’s a great day for her and we’re very proud, as we are of all our students.”
There was a bit of brotherly slagging in the Deasy home in Douglas, Cork last night as 15-year-old Cian awaited his Junior Cert results today.
His older bother, Hugh, had a very good Junior Cert outcome last year and suggested to Cian that it would be hard to beat.
But beat it , he did. “ At most, I would have been happy to match it; not in my wildest dreams did I think I would get 12As. I wasn’t aiming for that, but I wanted to do my best” said Cian .
The modest pupil says his recipe for success was working steadily all the way from first year. “You don’t have to kill yourself” he said.
School principal Jim Long called Cian aside to deliver the good news, ahead of the general release of results in the school today and when Cian shared his news with his brother, Hugh “we had a good laugh”.
Cian is planning to celebrate at a special Junior Cert disco in Cork City hall tonight. “I wouldn’t usually be going to a disco, but I will today”.
The third sibling in the family, another brother, Cathal, will be sitting his Junior Cert next year.
A second Cork student celebrating 12As today is Anne O’Farrell of Mounty Mercy College, Model Farm Road
This may be due to the increased numbers taking the optional Irish oral exam which has risen from 339 in 2007 to 16,529 this year. The numbers sitting the optional oral in other languages, such as Spanish and Italian have also risen.
Meanwhile the percentage of students sitting higher level maths has increased from 44.9pc in 2010 to 55.3pc this year.
The increase in numbers doing the subject may be due to the added appeal of higher level maths, given the extra 25 bonus points students will potentially receive if they go on to take Leaving Cert higher level maths.
Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Clive Byrne welcomed the increase in students taking maths at higher level.
"More students recognise that, by taking the higher-level maths paper in the Junior Cert exam, they may be better prepared for the challenge of the Leaving Cert, and the 'Project Maths' initiative, as well as greater opportunities to follow a successful career pathway."
However, with more students who would otherwise have done ordinary level taking the subject at higher level, the proportion achieving the top grades is slightly down with 74.7pc receiving an honour this year compared with 77.7pc in 2010.
Six Junior Cert students overall have earned the top grade of an astonishing 12 higher level but ASTI President Maire G Ní Chiarba reminds students that whatever their grade, receiving their Junior Cert results is an important educational milestone.
"The Junior Cert is valued by students and their parents because it is an independent State-certified validation of students' knowledge, skills and efforts mid-way through their second-level education. (It) is invaluable in guiding students as they prepare for Senior Cycle, the Leaving Cert and beyond.
"It teaches students about their interests and competencies and how they can set and achieve goals in their lives," she said.
There were jubilant scenes outside Loretto College on St Stephens Green where independent.ie spoke to two students who achieved 11 A1s.
Jane Loughrey (15) from Ranelagh and Maebh Kelly (15) from Howth were both celebrating outside the school this morning with their friends. Jane says she's eventually hoping to do medicine in college, while Maebh will consider her options over the next few years.
Laoise Beatty (15) from Clontarf says she did well, especially in her favourite subjects science and maths which gives her confidence for the leaving cert cycle.
Ava Johnston (15) and Emily O'Reilly (16) were both thrilled with their all-honours results and will celebrate in the Wright Venue tonight.
Meanwhile, proud parent Marie Maverley was outside Loretto to congratulate her daughter Katie. She described this morning as nerve wracking for students, but she said the results had brought relief and happiness as well.
Meanwhile, Katie Ní Fhaoileain from Colaiste Pobail Osrai in Kilkenny city was thrilled with her result of ten A1s.
Despite the big achievement for students around the country, Alcohol Action Ireland have warned that alcohol should play no part in tonight's celebrations.
They warned that that 84pc of 15 and 16-year-olds reported that alcohol was 'very easy' or 'fairly easy' to get and urge parents to talk openly with their children about their plans for the night if they are going out to celebrate.