Local students are top cats in Leaving Cert success

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By Naoise Coogan

The Leaving Cert students of Kilkenny are celebrating this week following the delivery of some excellent results throughout the county on Wednesday last.

A Kilkenny student from Castlecomer was among the 141 students nation-wide to secure 600 points which equates to six A1s in this year’s State exams.

Marianna Kelly from Cruttenclugh/Coon was ecstatic to hear that she had eight As in her Leaving Cert — six of those A1s will be counted towards her points. She hopes to go on to study languages in Trinity.

“We are extremely proud of Marianne,” said Castlecomer Community School principal Seamus Connor. “ She can do whatever she wants now and she is a lovely girl on top of it. I am absolutely delighted with the results from the school over all. The students worked very hard and most of them saw the fruits of their labour on results day. We were particularly delighted with music in the school. Some 12- 15 students took the subject and eight of those got As while the others did very well under the instruction of music teacher Fiona McPhillips,” he added.

“This is a great boost for the school really and I’m very proud of all of our students. We are a community school so we also teach woodwork, engineering and design and graphics as practical subjects and the students did very well in these subjects too with a number of As recorded.”

The principal of the Presentation Secondary School in Kilkenny city was equally thrilled with the results from his school. Shane Hallahan said, “we had a great group of girls this year who all put in a lot of work and thankfully this appears to have paid off.”

Although Mr Hallahan was as proud of the students who reached their potential as those who topped the polls, he said that the school was very proud that eight students had got between 570 and 590 points this year. These students hope to go on to study subjects such as medicine, law and science.

“This is really an outstanding performance and I would say to anyone who has done their Leaving Cert this year not to compare themselves to those who have received very high points as these people really are exceptional and so many people have done extremely well with 350 or 400 points. It is only important that people reach their potential and I am happy to report that the girls this year who really worked hard, did well and I’m a firm believer in the fact that if you work hard, you will do well.

“I have to say I was nervous about how we would do as a school in maths and science but there was clearly no cause for concern as the girls did particularly well in science. Maths was very strong too, which is great and it shows their strength in an area that the government is particularly concerned about at present.”

However, Mr Hallahan is not convinced that the Leaving Cert is the correct method of assessment for third level. He would rather see third level institutes offer their own exams as an entrance test to see who would be most suited to their courses.

“I think that the students could get a much more rounded education if the curriculum was not points-driven. At the end of the day we are looking for a well rounded student to come out of secondary school and this could be better achieved without a points driven system,” he added.

Both principals agreed that the best performing students were those that took part in other school activities along with concentrating on their studies.

“You can’t expect students to just study and do nothing else and I think the best performing students are those who have a good work/play balance.” said Mr Hallahan.

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