Sunday 28 May 2017

'I never thought I would get 12 As' - Six students celebrate top marks as Junior Cert results are revealed

Amy Molloy, David Kearns and Greg Harkin

More than 60,000 students are celebrating the beginning of the end of the Junior Certificate.

And it was all happy smiles for six students who achieved a massive 12 As.

Marisol Walsh-Subiran was brimming with pride as her daughter Alba Walsh-Subiran (16), who goes to Ratoath College in Co. Meath, achieved a whopping 12 top grades.

"It is absolutely brilliant. It is the best thing that could happen. Both her and the school deserved it after their hard work," she told Independent.ie.

Alba Walsh-Subiran (16), who goes to Ratoath College in Co. Meath, achieved a whopping 12 top grades
Alba Walsh-Subiran (16), who goes to Ratoath College in Co. Meath, achieved a whopping 12 top grades

"I would like to thank her school, Ratoath College, for the great support given all these three years to her. It has been a fabulous experience for Alba that she has enjoyed greatly.

"She is talking about studying medicine. She loves medicine and children so she wants to become a paediatrician.”

Proud mum Mhairi Gaine with daughter Julie Gaine, student at Mercy College Sligo, who was one of six students in the country to achieve a maximum 12 A's in her Junior Cert exam.
Photo: James Connolly
Proud mum Mhairi Gaine with daughter Julie Gaine, student at Mercy College Sligo, who was one of six students in the country to achieve a maximum 12 A's in her Junior Cert exam. Photo: James Connolly

Aspiring paediatrician Alba was close to tears when she saw what was written on her results sheet.

“I started counting them and began to choke up, 12 As. 12! I couldn’t believe it. I knew I’d do well, after all I’ve been studying for the last three years, but I was expecting at least some Bs.”

Alba, from Ratoath town, goes to Ratoath College in Meath, and her principal Una Prendergast had nothing but praise for the top student.

“Alba was exceptional, we’re very proud of her. We’re proud of everyone in fact, they all did superbly.”

Now in fifth year, Alba said she was looking forward to the Leaving Cert. “I’ve always enjoying sitting down and getting my work done so I’m not intimidated for what is ahead of me.

“It’s taken me a long time to decide what I might want to study later but now I really want to be a doctor because I’d love to spend my life helping people.”

Gemma O'Dwyer
Gemma O'Dwyer

Alba's school principal, Una Prendergast added: "All the students have headed off to Funtasia for the day now as reward for their hard work. Alba was exceptional, but everyone did superbly. We are very happy with all our students."

Another student who achieved top grades put her success down to hard work, her family and her school.

Delighted Julie Gaine, (15), says she’s still in shock after getting her results at Mercy College in Sligo this morning.

“I still can’t believe it,” she told Independent.ie

“I never thought I would get 12 As. I thought I would do well because I worked hard throughout the year.

“I think that’s the best approach, rather than cramming it all in at the last minute.”

Julie, from Strandhill, credited her dad Dr Bill Baine, an orthopaedic surgeon and mum Mhairi with helping and encouraging her as well as big sister Emily, a fifth year pupil at Mercy College.

“My teachers are brilliant and there is a great homework club after school every day so I would stay on and do my study there and get a lift home with dad later and that really worked out,” she said.

The bright teenager, who also plays hockey and plays the piano, violin and harp, was accompanied to get her results by her mum.

“Mum is over the moon too. Dad is at a conference in Belfast so I rang him to tell him and he was absolutely delighted too,” said Julie.

The teenager is planning to celebrate with friends this evening and looking forward to her Transition Year with trips to China and France on the agenda.

And she’s still mulling over future career options.

“I’m thinking about medicine or accountancy,” said Julie who attended Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré in Sligo before going to Mercy College.

Proud Mercy College principal Colette O’Hagan said: “We are absolutely delighted for Julie.

“She is such a well-grounded and well-rounded girl and totally unassuming. We are so pleased for her, and we are so proud of her, as we are for all of our girls who sat Junior Cert this year.”

Gemma O'Dwyer (15) from Clochar Na Nursulach in Thurles, Co Tipperary said she was "shocked" to hear of her results.

"I was really shocked. I didn’t think I would have done as well as I did. I didn’t think I got an A in history because I messed up one of the questions.

"I’m going to celebrate by going with my friends to a disco in Cashel tonight," she said.

When asked about her plans for the future, she replied: "I was thinking of maybe doing law in college. I would love to do that because I’m really into debating and public speaking.

"I haven’t even spoken to my friends yet about my results but my mam and dad are so happy."

Her principal Mary Butler said: “We are thrilled for Gemma, she is a great girl. She’s sporty, she’s a debater, she does everything and she’s a great worker. It’s great for her.

“After last week, it is a bit of good news for the town.”

“I don’t think there’s a person in Cork who hasn’t heard about my results,” laughed Holly Collins (15), a student at Schull Community College.

“Mum hasn’t been off the phone telling everyone. I think she’s happier than me.”

Trembling as she torn open her results envelope, the young guitarist said she never expected to see 12 As listed one after another. “I blinked a few times because it didn’t seem real but then other people saw it and started cheering so it kind of stunk in then.”

Her principal Brendan Drinan said it was an “extraordinary achievement for a marvellous girl”.

Having been listed amongst the top students in the country, Holly admitted she’d been much more nervous preparing for the exams than actually sitting them.

“It’s not something I’m looking forward to repeating anytime soon, even doing as well as I did,” she joked.

The release of outcomes for the 2016 exam marks the last year that students will receive the results in the current form.

The traditional certificate will be replaced next year with the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA), offering a blend of exam grades and other learning achievements that are assessed in school.

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