Inspiration, perspiration secret of Synge Street success
Pupils from Synge Street CBS in Dublin's south inner city regularly beat the rest of Ireland, EU and even the world in competitions, carrying off top honours in 24 major events in less than a decade.
The 276-pupil Synge Street has students from 37 countries and 13pc of pupils have been diagnosed with a special educational need.
In its latest triumph, Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly carried off the top physics prize in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, with a project based on their victorious entry in the BT Young Scientist contest last January -- an unprecedented third win for the school.
The duo, whose project looked at the motion of the planets and how satellites can stay on the right flight path, did their Leaving Certificate in June and both are now studying Theoretical Physics: Eric in UCD and Mark in TCD.
Proud principal Michael Minnock admits: "There is no easy way to do this. It is inspiration coupled with perspiration."
The inspiration started with legendary Synge Street science teacher Jim Cooke, now retired. His baton was taken over by Kate Walsh, "a wonderful science teacher", according to Mr Minnock.
The principal said once boys volunteer for the Young Scientist competition "they take it on in the full knowledge that it is going to be a tough task".
That includes working on the project for 25 hours a week over the summer holidays and during mid-term break, with the help of their teacher. In the run-up to the January BT Young Scientist competition, Christmas Day is the only day off.
Inspiration and perspiration flow easily in an atmosphere where a love of science and maths is carefully nurtured.
It is school policy that all first, second and third year students study science and other timetabling takes second place.
All three science subjects, biology, physics and chemistry, are on offer for the Leaving Cert, with an impressive uptake.
Four years ago, alarm bells went off when no student took maths higher level in the Leaving Cert. The response was swift and effective and, by amalgamating fifth and sixth year higher level classes, they have succeeded in maintaining solid numbers.