EMOTIONS ran high this Friday morning in hundreds of schools across the country as thousands of students received their Junior Certificate results.
In Ard Mhuire Secondary School, Corbally, 90 students eagerly and anxiously anticipated their long-awaited grades in the school’s cafeteria.
The girls, some seemingly unfazed while others wrung their hands and tapped their feet impatiently, listened to their prinicpal’s careful address of advice and reassurance.
“I know you’re nervous girls, it’s been a long few months wait but you’ve nothing to worry about,” said Ms Bríd Herbert, “we’ve seen your results and they’re brilliant, we’re very proud of you.”
“Judging by the fake tan, I’m guessing there is a disco tonight which some of you will be going to,” added Ms Herbert, a comment which was received with laughter and knowing glances.
“Girls, you are 15 - so please celebrate accordingly and in a dignified way,” she warned, urging the teenagers to act responsibly. "It is a day to celebrate with friends and family, but please be ladylike and stay safe.”
And with that, at approximately 10am, the first of 90 names was called out and the all-important white A4 envelopes were distributed individually with an exchange of a nervous grin and a brisk handshake before heading outside.
Before long, shrieks were emitted from the drizzly schoolyard - the echo of which cast a look of dread among those still waiting for their name to be called.
Outside the cafeteria was a flurry of tears, smiles, hugs and “oh my god!”’s as the girls envelopes were opened and the all-familiar documents saw the light of day and were soon speckled with fat raindrops.
“I was shaking when I got them, because I thought I failed maths,” said a still-visibly-shaking Kellie Dumas from Garryowen, “but I got a B and I’m so happy, because I was convinced I’d failed something but I didn’t.”
“I was like ‘I don’t care’ but last night the nerves really hit me, I couldn’t sleep at all.”
Meanwhile, Kayleigh Corbett Keane from Corbally is just about to open her envelope, and starts tearing away at the seal before slowly sliding the page out.
“Okay yeah, yeah I’m really happy,” she said, “I’m beaming oh my god, I got good results!”
“We’re so proud of her, she worked so hard,” said the parents of an emotional, yet relieved Alison Joyce, who could barely muster one-word answers when asked if she was happy with the results.
Laura Collins, deputy principal said: “I’m so proud of all the girls, they put in three years of hard work and they deserve to be happy here today.”
In preparation for Storm Lorenzo, which took full-effect last night over the county, the State Exams Commission gave all students a pin number to enable them to view their results online should they need to.
“All the students are here today, so it all worked out,” Ms Collins added.
Principal Bríd Herbert, like many teachers, was on-hand for hugs and congratulatory words of praise.
“They really out-did themselves, our teachers are so committed to these students and that really showed today,” she said.
This year, students nationwide had to wait a few weeks longer than usual for the results, and received them on a Friday instead of a Wednesday.
“One thing I noticed this morning was that they were very anxious, and it’s built up over the last few weeks and they were a lot more stressed than they would have normally been,” the principal added.
“The longer wait has had an effect, definitely. We were worried the longer wait would mean it would lose its momentum but I don’t think it’s lost its impact.”
The students have now returned home to celebrate with family and friends, with gardaí urging caution to the 64,330 students who received results today.
“As thousands of teenagers throughout the country get set to celebrate their Junior Cert results, Gardaí would urge students and their parents to be mindful about the dangers of drinking and taking drugs,” said a garda spokesperson.
“Many teens will be in high spirits as they head out to celebrate with their friends this evening and it is our hope that each and every one of them has a safe and enjoyable night.
“We are asking everyone to take a few simple precautions to ensure this: Have a plan for the evening. How are you getting home? Are you taking a taxi, getting a lift or staying with a friend? Be mindful of your property. Keep your phone, wallet or purse on you at all times.
“If you find yourself in a scenario and sense there could be trouble, walk away. Call the Gardaí immediately if you feel the situation is getting out of hand.,” they added, “think of the consequences for both yourself and others if you were to hit someone.
“Additional Gardaí will be patrolling from early this evening. We will be operating in a uniform and also plain clothes capacity and will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to anyone found behaving in an anti-social manner.”