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Wicklow student awarded Gwenda Hurst Memorial Medal for outstanding Leaving Cert Geography paper

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Paul Cullen, Ann Cullen (Grandparents), Erin (Anna's Sister), Hazel Cloney (Mum), Anna Cloney, Ivan Cloney (dad), Anne Cloney (Grandmother), Joanne Cullen (God Mother).

Paul Cullen, Ann Cullen (Grandparents), Erin (Anna's Sister), Hazel Cloney (Mum), Anna Cloney, Ivan Cloney (dad), Anne Cloney (Grandmother), Joanne Cullen (God Mother).

Mum and dad, Hazel and Ivan Cloney with Geography Medal winner Anna Cloney.

Mum and dad, Hazel and Ivan Cloney with Geography Medal winner Anna Cloney.

Peter Lydon, Anna Cloney, Lisa Hamilton (Teacher) and Arthur Travers.

Peter Lydon, Anna Cloney, Lisa Hamilton (Teacher) and Arthur Travers.

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Paul Cullen, Ann Cullen (Grandparents), Erin (Anna's Sister), Hazel Cloney (Mum), Anna Cloney, Ivan Cloney (dad), Anne Cloney (Grandmother), Joanne Cullen (God Mother).

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Bray’s Anna Cloney has been awarded the Gwenda Hurst Memorial Medal for her Higher Level Geography paper in the 2021 Leaving Certificate exams.

The prestigious medal is presented to just one student in Ireland that, in the opinion of the State Examination Commission, submitted the most meritorious Leaving Certificate Higher Level Geography examination paper in a given year.

The Gwenda Hurst Memorial Medal is an award made in memory of the Association of Geography Teachers of Ireland’s founder.

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Anna sat the Leaving Cert exam at Loreto Secondary School in 2021, despite having the option to not sit the exam and take an assessed grade. Anna always loved geography and says she was confident she would do well. She scored the maximum 500 out of 500.

Attaining the maximum score in an exam is not a unique occurrence in Ireland, so what made her paper stand out above other high achievers?

Loreto Bray, Deputy Principal, Frances Ward said: “It was the manner Anna answered the exam questions that conveyed a supreme understanding of the subject. We are so proud of this achievement. Well done Anna.”

It will come as no surprise that Anna is now studying Geography at University College Dublin.

She said: “I always loved the subject and enjoyed doing exams. I’m doing geography in UCD along with communications. As of now I have no idea of what job I might do after college.”

Anna was joined by her former geography teacher Mrs. Lisa Hamilton in the geography room at Loreto when being presented with her prestigious award. 

Chairperson of the Board of Management, Mr Michael Denny, Mr. Peter Lydon of Wesley College, Mr. Arthur Travers of Kings Hospital, her parents, sisters, grandparents and God mother were also present. 


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