Wednesday 7 December 2016

'We thought it might be a bit strange for housemates if the two of us were living in the same house'

Our Story Helen and Catherine Kelly Arts (Helen), Science Education (Catherine), maynooth University

Published 12/08/2015 | 02:30

Twins Helen Kelly and Catherine Kelly at St Louis Secondary School, Carrickmacross
Twins Helen Kelly and Catherine Kelly at St Louis Secondary School, Carrickmacross

Twins Helen and Catherine Kelly would both like to be teachers, but had very different ideas about what they wanted to study in college.

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While Catherine loves maths, Helen has a passion for languages, her bond with Gaeilge cementing after her first trip to the Gaeltacht.

And it was that first trip to the Gaeltacht that also made up Helen's mind about her future career path: "I knew I wanted to be a teacher."

The 19-year-old Co Monaghan sisters, former pupils of St Louis Secondary School, Carrickmacross, both made Maynooth University their top choice, remembering it as "nice and friendly when we visited on open days".

Helen opted for the BA Arts - and will specialise in Irish and French when she enters second year in September.

Meanwhile, Catherine plumped for the BSc Science (with education), which is broad enough to prepare graduates for industry or, if they prefer, a career in teaching.

One of the benefits of this science education degree is that, after graduating with a BSc, students may progress automatically to an optional fifth year and gain a Professional Master of Education (PME), which has replaced the PDE/HDip.

That means qualifying as a teacher in five years, rather than six because of an automatic exemption from the first year of the PME.

Both exceptional students, with more than 550 points each, they were eligible for entrance scholarships on the basis of their Leaving Certificate results, when they started in Maynooth last year.

As well as cash awards of €1,000, the scholarship also guaranteed them a place in campus accommodation.

Catherine said they knew about the scholarship scheme before they applied and it influenced their decision to choose Maynooth. And they have no regrets - the sisters love Maynooth. "It has a great atmosphere," says Helen

It was when it came to college living, that the twins decided to split up. "We thought it might be a bit strange for housemates if the two of us were living in the same house," says Catherine.

So, rather than being under the same roof, they opted to live in adjoining houses. When it comes to third year, the distance will be greater as Helen will spend the year in France as part of her studies.

Irish Independent

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