Clinton close to breaking 'the highest glass ceiling'
Published 08/06/2016 | 02:30
In 1869, Wyoming's territorial legislature became the first in the US to grant women the vote. It is strange to think that in the home of the free it has taken 147 years for a woman to become the first leader of a major political party.
That historic honour fell to Hillary Clinton yesterday when she became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Unwilling to give a hostage to fortune by declaring before the results were official, she merely said that she was on the brink of a "historic, unprecedented moment".
Nobody can argue that Ms Clinton's journey has been easy, she has come through hours of gruelling testimony, and she still has to weather the storm over personal emails.
But she has proven to be nothing if not resilient.
Apart from Ms Clinton being the first female candidate, the 2016 race for the White House has been remarkable for the triumph of Donald Trump, who saw off all comers on the Republican side, against enormous odds.
Pretty soon Ms Clinton will be training her formidable intellect on the rambunctious billionaire. Up until now, Mr Trump has owned the limelight and generated the excitement of the 2016 race. Cutting off his oxygen will be her first priority. Eight years ago in an emotional concession speech to Barack Obama, she noted she was unable to "shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling".
Only time will tell whether she takes the next step.
'Leaving' is a signpost, you chart your path
Today, thousands of students will sit down to do the Leaving Cert. Once upon a time, the exam marked the finishing point for the majority of students, hence its name. Today, it is just a bend on a path, and, thankfully, most of those who sit it will continue down the road of education.
Like most situations in life, all you can do is start from where you are, and keep going forward, knowing that no single exam will define you, or set limits on ambitions only you can chart. Many today will understandably be feeling a little nervous; this is completely normal. If things go a bit wrong, that's fine, you must just keep going. You are the one in charge.
For those who have done all the preparation, there is a chance to show what you can do, and for those who have done less than they feel they might, you too can do your best, knowing you can always try again. The point to bear in mind is that by seeking and blundering we learn.
It's said that one ought to live as if life may end tomorrow, and learn as if you might live forever. So when it comes to education, learning and, indeed, life, there is no real "Leaving Cert".
There is a cycle of preparation and challenge; there are triumphs and defeats and each one must be met head on. There is bouncing back, and battling on, and, above all, no giving up. The Leaving Cert is, at best, a sign post; but the direction you choose to take and the decision as to how far you wish to go, is yours to determine.
There is a freedom in that. There have never been so many choices to fit every level of ability. Sometimes, you may hear hollow talk of making the grade; but, as a person, you are not here to be graded by anyone, you are here to be yourself and that is the best any of us can hope to be.
Too many build bridges out of worries they will never have to cross. So write your number on the paper, and take a deep breath. See, you've made a brilliant start. Good luck.