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'The virus helped me decide' - meet the Leaving Cert high achievers inspired by the fight against Covid-19 to study science

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Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert
Pic:Mark Condren
7.9.2020

Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

SOME of the highest achieving students in this year’s Leaving Cert are ready to take on the challenges of the post-Covid world - with several inspired to study medicine and science.

Jack O’Sullivan (19), a now former pupil of Christian Brothers Boys’ Secondary School in Cork, received 625 points with eight H1s, in Irish, English, maths, French, chemistry, physics, applied maths and accounting.

And now Jack has his sights set firmly on studying medicine at UCC.

“I was kind of shocked when I logged on for my results,” he said.

“I want to study medicine at UCC and I’m just buzzing for college.”

His classmate Alex Sheehan (19), also bagged eight H1s, in Irish, English, maths, history, geography, business, economics and French.

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Former students who achieved 8 A1's were Jack O'Sullivan and Alex Sheehan pictured after receiving their Leaving Cert 2020 results at Christian Brothers Cork.
Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Former students who achieved 8 A1's were Jack O'Sullivan and Alex Sheehan pictured after receiving their Leaving Cert 2020 results at Christian Brothers Cork. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Former students who achieved 8 A1's were Jack O'Sullivan and Alex Sheehan pictured after receiving their Leaving Cert 2020 results at Christian Brothers Cork. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

“I’m happy it’s all over and I can move on with my life and get to college,” Alex said.

“Obviously it wasn’t very conventional the way the Leaving Cert happened.

“There was a lot of uncertainty but I’m relieved now.”

Alex intends to study law and French at UCC with a view to one day working in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Elizabeth Dorr (18), a former pupil of Sandford Park School in Ranelagh, Dublin, achieved seven H1s, in Irish, English, French, biology, chemistry, physics and Spanish and a H2 in maths.

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Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert
Pic:Mark Condren
7.9.2020

Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

Elizabeth Dorr who received seven H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

She hopes to study biological and biomedical sciences at Trinity College.

“The pandemic really helped me to decide what I was most interested in - specifically immunology and epidemiology.

“I was always interested in biology but the virus did help me decide because it allowed me to see the important role statistics, modelling and biology, as a whole, can play in combating a potential national disaster.

“I hope to work in a lab in the future but the nature of biology is constantly changing, so I really couldn’t say for certain. I’m really happy with my grades.”

Her schoolmate Roisin Long (19) received eight H1s, in Irish, English, maths, French, biology, chemistry, art and accounting.

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Roisin Long who received eight H1's in her leaving cert
Pic:Mark Condren
7.9.2020

Roisin Long who received eight H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

Roisin Long who received eight H1's in her leaving cert Pic:Mark Condren 7.9.2020

“I will hopefully study biology and biomedical science at Trinity,” she said.

“These subjects are really important, especially now, with everything that’s going on with Covid-19.

“I love biology and I find it interesting how the world of genetics works.

“I think I deserved my grades but I was still shocked.

“I feel the class of 2020 are a really resilient year. We missed out on a lot but I feel we’ll be able to deal with life’s problems better than before the pandemic.”

Adam O’Leary (18), a former pupil of Castleknock College, Dublin, got six H1s, in English, maths, history, Spanish, applied maths and accounting.

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Castleknock College student Adam O Leary [18] who recieved 6 H1s [ 625 points] in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home near Maynooth.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
7/9/20

Castleknock College student Adam O Leary [18] who recieved 6 H1s [ 625 points] in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home near Maynooth.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 7/9/20

Castleknock College student Adam O Leary [18] who recieved 6 H1s [ 625 points] in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home near Maynooth.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 7/9/20

“I’m delighted, really happy with that, I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my results.

“I’m hoping to go to study law and business at UCD - it’s my dream course.

“It’s really empowering being part of the class of 2020. I’d love to go into law after college and my dream is to become a TD. A political hero of mine is Leo Varadkar.”

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Castleknock College student Ronan McCooey [18] who recieved 8 H1s  in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home in Castleknock.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
7/9/20

Castleknock College student Ronan McCooey [18] who recieved 8 H1s in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home in Castleknock.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 7/9/20

Castleknock College student Ronan McCooey [18] who recieved 8 H1s in his Leaving Cert results, picture at his home in Castleknock.Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 7/9/20

His schoolmate Ronan McCooey (18) bagged eight H1s, in English, Irish, maths, applied maths, German, chemistry, physics and accounting. He wants to study economics and finance at UCD.

“It was weird going on the computer this morning to get the results and the website crashed.

“But we are the class of 2020 and it means we have achieved a lot. I think it’s time to have a little socially distanced celebration.

“And maybe after this year, they might consider continuous assessment. Perhaps there’s too much make-or-break with the final exams.”


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