ONE DAY they’ll probably look back and remark on the novelty of it all, but this Wednesday the hundreds of Junior Certificate students who were collecting their results across West Limerick knew only the relief of having cleared the first real educational hurdle.
At the Desmond College in Newcastle West the morning was a personal milestone for recently appointed principal Vourneen Gavin-Barry, who saw 91 students receive State exam results for the first time under her watch.
“It’s very important for them. It’s their first taste of a formal exam, and it’s great preparation for what’s coming down the line for them”, she said.
“There’s always nerves from the students and their families. But the most important thing is that it’s part of a very good learning curve.”
Over at Scoil Mhuire agus Ide in Newcastle West, 80 students collected their results after lunch this Wednesday. Deputy principal Vincent Hanley admitted that the junior certificate is a “big step” for children who are now moving on to the transition year and leaving cert cycle.
“It’s a good test of their ability, and we’re absolutely delighted with the results we got this year. Thirty of last year’s third years are moving into the TY programme, which is a big take up.
“The junior cert is part of the process and provides a very good base for them to find out what subjects they like, what suits them and what they might want to do as a future career”.
Meanwhile, triplets Noel, Roisin and Grainne Malone collected their junior cert results from their father Noel, who is also their principal at Colaiste Chiarain in Croom.
The trio hit the headlines back in 1996 when they made front page news both in the Limerick Leader and national papers after they were the first triplets to be born that year.
Fifteen years on and it was a case of tears again - of joy of course - when they passed their first major academic milestone.
“It was a nervous time for the Malone household this morning. Even though I have been doing this now for 13 years, when it comes to your own door, obviously it’s a big thing,” said Mr Malone.
“There were tears of joy, thankfully. Their mum Siobhan and the family are delighted. There is great credit due to the staff over the years,” he added.
Noel Jnr received a manly handshake and a big smile from his proud dad when handed the all important piece of paper.
“I’m delighted. I got nine honours. I wasn’t that nervous last night but it hit me this morning,” smiled the teenager, the eldest of the triplets.