SCENES were a little bit unrecognisable outside Creagh College last Friday morning as students gathered to mark receiving their Leaving Certificate results.
There were no brown envelopes in sight as all students received the results online at 10 a.m., but by about 10.20 a.m. smiling eyes could be seen on masked young people and their families.
Speaking outside the school, James Keys said that he was delighted to receive 579 points.
“I’m unbelievably over the moon like everyone here and it means I’ll get my top choice of Philosophy and History at Trinity so what else could you want?” he said.
“The results were what I was hoping for but I didn’t expect to get it, I expected to get a lot lower. I sat every exam except Irish but I was still really happy with my predicted grade for Irish.
“It’s been a tough and unpredictable two years to say the least. We never knew what was going to happen so we were in a constant state of limbo but in the end, we got the best of both worlds and it worked out for everyone.
“I came here today as I wanted to see the teachers that have got me to this point. Everyone here in Creagh has contributed a bit, so it’s only fair that I’d come up here and share the success. Everyone wants to get the envelope and have that anticipation, but the results are the same at the end of the day and that’s what matters,” he said.
Nikitta Woolcock hopes to go into hairdressing.
“I’m really happy with the results and I did better than I expected. The grades will help me get into college and also help me figure out what I want to do. At the moment my idea is to do hairdressing or something in the area of beauty but I’m not sure yet.
“It’s great that we got to come up to Creagh today as there’s a really happy atmosphere. I found the last two years very stressful but I’m glad it worked out in the end and I’d like to thank my mam and my teachers”.
Friends Ciara Wilkinson, Sadhbh Doyle, Amy Costello, Aoife Byrne and Eimear Kavanagh were delighted to be together again to celebrate their results.
“The Leaving Cert is a rite of passage but this morning instead of nerves there was anticipation,” said Sadhbh.
“Normally with the brown envelope you get that slow reveal but this morning it was just bam, it was there on the screen. I’m hoping to do primary school teaching so I hope I’ll get in to DCU.”
Ciara, who hopes to do engineering teaching, said she couldn’t sleep the night before due to nerves.
“We came here today to see everyone again and have a last goodbye. Because of Covid, even though we were in school we didn’t get to see many people over the summer. We had to adapt this year in school to a one way system, cleaning tables and masks so it was difficult”.
Eimear, who hopes to study at Gorey School of Art, agreed that it was a challenge doing the Leaving Cert during Covid but the teachers really helped a lot.
Amy and Aoife, who both received 613 points and plan to go to UCD together, said that it had been a strange year.
Luke O’Connor said that he sat every exam and got his predicted grades too.
“I’m happier than I thought I would be, I was expecting to get lower grades as it has been very difficult to study over the last two years.
“I want to be a hairdresser or barber and I’m going to do a PLC in Enniscorthy and I did the exams and the predicted grades as I wanted to prove to myself that I could do them.
“Really with the government intervention around predicted grades and the exams, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. My family always say that points aren’t the only way to get into courses but I’m confident that I got what I wanted for my course and the way I look at it, if you’re persistent and know what you want you’ll get through it”.
Stephen Wall hopes to go to NUI Maynooth to study business later this month.
“It was a hard year but I was delighted with how it all went in the end as it all worked out. I got my points and was even a little bit over what I needed .
“When we first went into lockdown in fifth year and were missing all our coursework, my mates and I didn’t know how we’d possibly do a Leaving Cert when we’d missed so much. I didn’t think the online learning was as good, but the schools tried their best and the government did come on board in the end which is what matters.
“It’s not the same coming here today but everyone is trying their best in these circumstances and it was great that everyone came out to be together. I would have rather had the big brown envelope with the results, but it’s the same thing either way. I want to thank my family as they were always there with me and I’d like to thank Mr Doyle for being so good to us”.
Creagh College was the only school in Gorey to ask students to attend the school on Friday morning and Deputy Principal Declan O’Toole said that it was important to give students the space to meet and discuss their results.
He added that the school hopes to celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021 at a later date as neither of them had graduations due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Over at Gorey Community School, students were not asked to attend the school to mark the results but guidance counsellors were available to provide both practical and emotional support to young people.
“It was a pity but the advice from the management bodies was not to bring the students into school on Friday as it would inevitably lead to congregating. It’s a day we all love to enjoy usually, and we saw some students who came in for support but with just over 260 students this year, having them on site would have led to congregating.
“Across the board the points are up, and we had ten students who got over 600 points and six students that got the maximum 625. It’s amazing but those results are also unusual, as we had eight LCA students out of a class of 18 that got distinctions.
“I hope that next year things will return to normal as students need to go back to enjoying school and extra curricular activities. Today with CAO offers, I would tell our former students not to hesitate to contact guidance counsellors for advice and to take each day as it comes. For those celebrating their results, I would say Covid is still around and we’d ask students to celebrate safely.
Speaking on Friday, Gorey Community School student Emma Stacey said she was surprised to get more points than she expected.
“Getting more points than I had hoped for makes it easier as I should have more opportunity now to do more things. I’m hoping to do an arts degree in NUI Maynooth.
“I was hoping that we’d get to go to the school and get an envelope with it as it’d be more formal but it’s okay as we can still go and see our friends.
“Doing the Leaving Cert during the pandemic has been difficult particularly when it came to finding the motivation. When you’re at home with your family they might not realise that you’re trying to study the whole time. The teachers were amazing through the whole thing, particularly with the online schooling they were so helpful. If I needed help in a subject and my teacher wasn’t online, I’d just ask my friends,” she said.