Breathing exercise on hand as students in County Limerick school sit first exam 

Breathing exercise on hand as students in County Limerick school sit first exam 

Aisling O’Shaughnessy, Anna Behan, Chloe Keyes, Emma Bourke, Abby O’Brien and Principal Paddy O’Neill were pictured at Salesian’s College, Pallaskenry on first day of exams | Picture: Marie Keating

BREATHING exercises and rescue remedy are the go-to tricks for the students of Salesian Secondary College in Pallaskenry, as they look to tackle the Leaving Cert nerves. 

With English paper one done and dusted, 18-year-old Niamh Quinn has her mind firmly set on her Home Economics exam which is set for later in the day. She was however, relieved at how her first exam had gone.

“It was a good paper with a lot of variety. Some of the stuff that came up really links in with paper two. For example, we had to talk about how a moment from our recommended reading affected us. This meant we could talk about the poems and books we had studied for paper two,” said Niamh.

As well as her Home Economics exam, Niamh, who is from Ballybrown, will also be preparing for her English paper two honours exam. 

“I will be cramming tonight but I think I should be ok. I’m hoping that Sylvia Plath comes up. I focused on her. I also studied Bishop and a few others so I have cover,” said Niamh. 

As is expected, nerves were high for students prior to the exams. But this year the school offered the students the chance to learn some coping techniques.

“I was very nervous before the exams started. But the school brought in a woman who taught us all breathing techniques,” said Niamh. 

Another young student who sat the English paper one at Salesian Secondary College was 18-year-old Anna Behan from Kilcornan. 

“I was very panicky at the start. But the exam went well and I found the questions easy enough. I’ve been trying not to stress about it all too much. I keep saying, what will be will be,” said Anna. 

“I’m hoping to do music in college, after I am finished school. I actually have a place in DCU. I had to do an interview and I got it, so all going well I am off to Dublin,” she added.

For Paddy O’Neill, Principal of Salesian Secondary College, this year’s Leaving Cert will be one he remembers forever. 

“This will be my last year as principal of the school. As well as that, it marks 100 years since the school first opened,” said Mr O’Neill. 

This year, around 100 Leaving Cert Students and 150  Junior Cert students will sit their exams at the Pallaskenry school. 

“They are nervous, but they all stayed quite calm. It was there first exam so they were bound to be nervous, but now it is over they can continue on strong. The Leaving Cert is a rite of passage, and we like to remind them that plenty of others have gone through it before. It helps them settle into it,” said Mr O’Neill. 

This year has seen something that is quite uncommon for the Leaving Cert, a lack of the ‘Leaving Cert weather’.

“This is ideal weather for the students to sit the exams. No sunshine means no distractions,” the principal joked.

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