Magic Martina . . . from Russia with top marks
FROM Russia . . . to the top of Ireland's Leaving Certificate results table, in a few short years.
Martina Feyzrakhmanova, who joined the Irish second-level school system less than four years ago, was one of 11 students who achieved eight A1s in this year's exam.
The 18-year-old from Moscow had already earned a reputation for herself at Castleknock Community College, Dublin, as a member of debating and science competition teams.
And, while others may have allowed themselves some relaxation during fifth year, Martina studied for the Russian equivalent of the Leaving and returned to Moscow for a month last year to sit the exam.
But, she says, the main target of her studies was the Leaving Certificate and, armed with her spectacular result, she should have no difficulty getting a place in medicine in Trinity College Dublin.
Martina, whose parents work in the global aviation business, spent a short time in Ireland as a child, and the family returned three-and-a-half years ago. She has a younger brother, Marat (4).
She puts her success down to a "lot of study, great teachers and my mother, for her moral encouragement. Without her, it wouldn't have happened".
Asked to compare the Irish and Russian education systems, Martina said the exams in Ireland were "probably as hard as Russia and even harder, but the teaching is not as strict or pressurised".
Martina said she really enjoyed the less pressurised system "because it gives you more freedom".
Her subjects were English, German, Russian, Biology, Physics, Economics, Chemistry and Maths.