Leaving Cert: 'I wasn't expecting to get eight H1s' says Cork student

Update 3.40pm:

By Darragh Bermingham and Rob McNamara

Two Cork students were amongst the seven nationwide to receive eight H1s as more than 57,000 students nationwide picked up their Leaving Cert results.

Alex Burke from Montenotte at Christian Brothers College was one who received top marks.

Speaking this morning to the Evening Echo, Alex said it was all a bit of a shock.

Alex Burke with his results. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"I wasn't expecting to get eight H1s. The exams were so long ago that I was thinking of a million ways it could go wrong but I'm very happy. Medicinal chemistry is a passion of mine and it would be a dream to pursue a career in that."

CBC Principal Dr Larry Jordan said it was one of the best years they have had.

"We are particularly proud of Alex Burke from Montennote who is one of the seven students in the country that got eight H1 results."

It is my last year as principal but in the first school that I worked in St Joseph's in Cahir Tipperary, I taught Alex's father Eamonn. It is by pure coincidence I am giving his son his Leaving Cert results in 2018 – 41 years later in Cork.

Alex's mother Margerie Burke said they were bursting with pride. "He worked so hard. Alex has been working for this since first year. He enjoys life but he is just a very hard worker and extremely diligent."`

Midleton student Liam Mariga also achieved eight H1s in his results.

A triplet, Liam collected his results today along with his brother Cathal and sister Katie.

Triplets, Liam Mariga (centre), from Gortroe, Youghal, 8 H1's in his results with sister, Katie and brother, Cathal. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Principal at Midleton College, Edward Gash praised Liam for his efforts, saying he worked consistently for the past two years.

“We’ve had very strong results from all our students and the teachers and myself are very happy,” he added.

“We offer 22 different subjects and we achieved at least one H1 in all of them.”

The school also achieved 10 H1s and six H2s in Politics and Society, which was offered for the first time this year.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Evening Echo.

Mum Anne Deacon gives her son Harry a congratulatory kiss after he achieved 8 A1's in his Leaving Cert. The pair are puictured at Harry's school, St. Andrews College, Blackrock in Dublin. Picture: Collins

Update 11.22am:

By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent

Two of the seven students with eight top Leaving Certificate grades collected their results from Cork schools this morning.

The eight H1s - at least 90% in higher level subjects - make Midleton College's Liam Mariga and Alex Burke from Christian Brothers College in Cork city part of a very small club within the 57,000 students getting their exam results today.

Liam is preparing himself now to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin with his maximum 625 CAO points and one of the top scores earlier this year in the HPAT aptitude test for medical school applicants.

Liam Mariga, from Gortroe, Youghal, who got eight H1s in the Leaving Cert. Picture: Jim Coughlan

For Alex Burke, who is also school captain at CBC Cork, the results he received this morning were a huge surprise.

He will not now have to wait until Monday to see if he is offered a science degree at University College Dublin where he wants to study medicinal chemistry, as he has maximum 625 points as his results include a H1 in higher level maths.

"It's a nice relief to have. I wasn't expecting this at all, I was really surprised," said Alex, one of 140 students who did the Leaving Certificate at his school.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said that seven students got eight H1s this year, and they are among 53 with seven or more top grades.

Alex Burke from Montenotte in Cork city, a student at Christian Brothers College in the city, receiving his Leaving Cert results from principal Dr Larry Jordan. Alex was one of seven students nationwide to receive eight H1s.

The other five students got their eight H1s at Yeats College in Galway, and at four Dublin schools: Coláiste Pádraig in Lucan, Oatlands College in Mount Merrion, Christian Brothers College Monkstown, and St Andrew's College in Booterstown.

The group are part of the 189 Leaving Certificate students who got at least six H1 grades, giving them guaranteed entry to almost every college course, although some may not have the maximum 625 CAO points if their top grades do not include higher level maths which earns a recipient 25 bonus points.

Almost 7,500 of the 54,440 students who did the traditional Leaving Certificate got at least one H1 this year.

The CAO will make its Round 1 offers on Monday morning, when applicants can log in from 6am to check if they have been offered a place on one of their chosen courses.

Update - 9.12am: It has emerged that almost 4,000 pupils appear to have failed maths.

A breakdown of the figures shows that works out as around 10% of all those who sat the ordinary level paper.

However, Education Minister Richard Bruton does not think there is a problem with how maths is being taught.

Mr Bruton said: "I don't think that's fair, we're not disappointed with Honours maths, but it is a reality that some people in a test of this nature will fail to reach the standard that is being set.

"The chief examiner will examine this and report to us each year on what's happening, it does feed back then into the upskilling of teachers."

Pupils are now able to find out what they got by going into school - they will have to wait until midday though if they want to look them up online.

Students at Deerpark CBS in Cork city, George Long, Jamie Geasley, Setanta Walsh, Shane O’Connor and Ethan MacSweeney with principal Kevin Barry and vice-principal Aaron Wolfe after they received their Leaving Cert results this morning. Pic: Dan LInehan

7.11am: Seven students secure eight H1 grades in exams

By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent

More than 57,000 students have been congratulated and advised to take pride in whatever their achievements in Leaving Certificate results being issued this morning.

They include more than 2,700 who did the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme over the past two years, which opens opportunities to progress to further training and apprenticeships.

The remaining 54,440 did the traditional Leaving Certificate in June, and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has managed to issue their results on time despite continuing pressure to find enough teachers to correct exams this summer.

For seven of those students, they are in the rare group whose efforts earned them eight H1 grades for at least 90% in higher level exams. They are among 189 students to get at least 6 H1s in their results today, 11 more than a year ago, and 7,490 with the top grade in one or more subjects at higher level.

But, Education Minister Richard Bruton said, results day is the culmination of many years of hard work for the entire class of 2018, who should be proud of their work and achievements.

He also highlighted the awarding of first results in Leaving Certificate politics and society, which was examined at 41 schools in June and is now open to be offered at any second-level school. Among 867 students getting their results today, nearly 90% chose the higher level paper and more than 6% (almost 50) of those candidates got the top H1 grade for 90% or higher.

For more than 47,000 of the 54,440 students who did the mainstream Leaving Certificate, their hopes are pinned on applications for college places which will begin issuing next Monday. The Central Applications Office (CAO) will make its Round 1 offers from 6am, with the cut-off points for all courses to be listed in a special Choices for College supplement in Monday’s Irish Examiner.

The Institute of Guidance Counsellors encouraged students to physically collect their results from school and share their achievements with friends and teachers.

“Allow them to support you through the decision-making process of the next few weeks,” said IGC president Beatrice Dooley.

Education and Training Boards Ireland general secretary Nessa White said the 16 member boards have a wide range of adult, community, further education and apprenticeship programmes, many of which can be found at a dedicated website, www.fetchcourses.ie

We wish all those who received their Leaving Certificate results continued success, and remind them that this is not the end, but rather a gateway to a myriad of amazing opportunities yet to be revealed,” she said.

For students who are away or unable to attend their school or other education centre, an online results service is available from the SEC website from midday. When logging on to www.examinations.ie, students should have their exam number and a unique PIN number issued to them previously.

The National Parents Council-Post Primary Leaving Certificate helpline, staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, is operating again this year. Last year, it handled over 4,300 queries from more than 1,600 callers, with a big focus on results day around calcluating points, appealing Leaving Certificate grades and how to organise to view an exam script.

The helpline (1800 265 165) is open 10am-7pm today and tomorrow, 10am-1pm on Friday, 8am-7pm next Monday and Tuesday, and 10am-1pm next Wednesday.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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