Tuesday 22 October 2019

Meet the class of 2017: 'We have a broad mindset and are more accepting of change'


Alice Murphy, Finn McCarthy, Rebecca Ludden, Aine Gillespie
Alice Murphy, Finn McCarthy, Rebecca Ludden, Aine Gillespie
Dylan McCarthy
Aine Gillespie
Eva Diver
Finn McCarthy
Jack Keaney
Rebecca Ludden
Alice Murphy
Aoife Flouch

The country's 60,000 Leaving Cert students have one thing on their minds this week - their results, and whether those results are good enough to secure them the course they want when the CAO offers come out on Monday.

But these bright young people are far more than just a collection of grades on a score card. With that in mind, we decided to ask them a few burning questions - not about how many points they got, but about what they love in life. About their passions, their fears, their hopes and their dreams. Will the class of 2017 change the world? Let's find out.

Aine Gillespie (18)

Donegal Town

Aine Gillespie

"Music has always been my passion and what I'm most looking forward to in the future is broadening and improving my music knowledge. The piano is my instrument and it will be great to study with so many people equally enthusiastic about the subject.

"I will loudly and proudly admit that I love Strictly Come Dancing. I enjoy the entertainment factor, the glitz, the glam and the drama. It looks like I'm off to St Pat's Drumcondra to study music and geography. It's my first choice, so I'm delighted. I hope to qualify as a second level teacher.

"Will the class of 2017 change the world? Well, we're already making a difference. We're more open to different cultures, nationalities and relationships. This sets us apart in a very good way."

Dylan McCarthy (19)

Booterstown, Co Dublin

Dylan McCarthy

"My passion in life is physics. I have always found it fascinating and I'm hoping to study Theoretical Physics in Trinity, as the spectrum of jobs available from this degree is quite broad.

"I find news and current affairs a bit depressing to be honest as there isn't anything I can actually do about things happening around the world. I read the newspaper and watch the news now and again, but I am not a big fan and would generally know what is going on from social media.

"I don't think my generation is too different from the last, but we are probably more tolerant today than people in my parents' day.

"I'm sure there will be someone from the Class of 2017 who makes a great breakthrough, but in the grand scheme of life, the world will go on just as it is."

Jack Keaney (18)


Jack Keaney

"Sport is my passion, soccer in particular. I intend to pursue university in the near future, but for now, I'm dedicating my time to sport.

"I previously decided to defer my CAO choice of science in UCD and I've just signed a contract to play for Sligo Rovers for the year. I feel like I'm living the dream.

"I believe our generation will change the world. The Leaving Cert year students at my school - the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal - are competent, enthusiastic, able and innovative. We have an open mindset and we're able to think outside the box."

Rebecca Ludden (18)


"My passion in life is science and I am very keen on helping others and using my education to make a difference. I'm hoping to go to King's College in London to study medicine.

"I have always kept on top of current affairs and do watch the news on a regular basis. I am becoming more interested in Irish politics and Brexit as it is likely to have an impact on my future.

"I think my generation differ from my parents' one because nowadays most people go to college, so it is much harder to get a job, whereas in my parents day, if you had a degree, you were pretty much guaranteed a job. But I do think the Class of 2017 will make an impact on the world - we have lots of different ideas."

Alice Murphy (18)

Borrisokane, Tipperary

Alice Murphy

"I'm hoping to go to UL to study Food Science & Health as I have an interest in Biology and Chemistry, and also nutrition and diet and how they affect both our physical and mental health.

"I've had a passion for fashion since a young age. I used to love designing my own outfits on dolls and putting random things together out of my wardrobe. I even designed my own debs dress. It's just something I really enjoy and think it's a good way to use your imagination and creativity

"I've never had much of an interest in current affairs, especially for the last year. I didn't really find the time, to tell the truth. I think you hear a lot of negative things about our generation, but we are more open-minded towards new things in comparison to our parents and how they would have been at our age."

Finn McCarthy (18)

Ennis, Co Clare

Finn McCarthy

"I am hoping to start a course in UL studying Product Design and Technology. My passion in life is art as I really enjoy drawing, but I also love music.

"I'm quite a relaxed person and tend not to get too bothered about the long term picture, but instead, I get slightly anxious about smaller things.

"I don't know if my generation is that different to my parents' generation, but I do believe we are quite accepting of everyone which is a great thing.

"The class of every year will change the world to some extent but judging how the world has evolved over the past 100 years, everything is getting better all the time - I know bad news makes headlines, but there is a lot of good news happening as well."

Aoife Flouch (18)

Ennis, Co Clare

Aoife Flouch

"I'm hoping to do international languages in UCD. My passion in life is sailing. The fact my boyfriend loves it as well is great because it is important we have something we can do together.

"I do think my generation is different from my parents' in many ways, but the one that stands is the fact I think younger people are more accepting and more open to different ideas and lifestyles. The Class of 2017 will change the world simply by being themselves, as collectively we are a very smart bunch and have a lot to give."

Eva Diver (18)


Eva Diver

"I'm so excited about the future. I want to study Speech Therapy in Trinity, which is my first choice and I'm hoping to secure a place.

"I come from a strong sporting background and am passionate about both football and basketball. I'm highly involved in both and plan to continue this throughout third level. To date I've had little interest in politics. However, I am becoming more curious about the workings of politics and our role and responsibility in society. I believe in fairness.

"Without a doubt, the class of 2017 will make a difference. We have a broad mindset, we're not tied down to traditions like previous generations and we're more accepting of change. We have strong passions and beliefs that are diverse. When you put these together, yes we can change the world!"

Interviews by Arlene Harris and Celine Naughton

Irish Independent

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