Cork ETB hosts online awards ceremony for students

16 April 2021
By Tom Collins

226 students honoured by Cork ETB at the first ‘Virtual’ Awards Ceremony for Achieving Excellence in the 2020 Leaving Certificate Examinations

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D., had glowing tributes for 226 Cork ETB students who were this evening honoured for displaying academic excellence in their Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied Examinations, as well as the Student of the Year for 2020.

For the first time ever, Cork ETB held the event virtually as they wanted to showcase that 2020 was especially notable by the sheer volume of students receiving accolades for attaining exceptional results during one of the most difficult and challenging periods to be undertaking exams since the introduction of the Leaving Certificate in 1925.

An Taoiseach recorded a special video message to the students of 2020 where he showed praise for their determination and dedication to succeed and excel in spite of an academic year of uncertainty.

The Taoiseach said: ‘I am delighted to be participating in the Cork Education and Training Board’s annual awards ceremony tonight. This is a great opportunity to recognise the overall achievements of the Leaving Cert class 2020 from 25 schools in the region and also to celebrate student awards. Tonight acknowledges the end of one chapter of your lives and the start of another’.

Addressing the challenges these students faced, Mr. Martin, T.D., continued in his video message ‘There is no doubt that Covid-19 has made the last 12 months a very difficult time for you. I have immense admiration for you, the class of 2020 and you should be very proud of yourselves. These awards are a timely and welcome reminder of what can be achieved through dedication and hard work’.

Closing off his address, An Taoiseach said ‘Cork ETB has been a progressive and dynamic force in Cork education and has been particularly effective through the Covid experiences. I congratulate you, the young people receiving these well-deserved awards in recognition of your achievements. I wish each of you every success in your chosen path and I look forward to watching your continued achievements in the coming years.’

The categories in which the two-hundred-and-twenty-five students that excelled and were recognized by Cork ETB for their accomplishments during the virtual awards ceremony were:

99 students receiving medals for the Leaving Certificate – from 625 points to 576 points across 19 Cork ETB schools.
69 students receiving Special Commendation Certificates for the Leaving Certificate, from 569 to 552, across 19 Cork ETB schools.
1 student receiving a medal from the Leaving Certificate Applied – 97%.
32 Students receiving Special Commendation Certificates for the Leaving Certificate Applied from 96% to 85% – across 7 Cork ETB schools.
25 Students receiving Student of the Year – across 24 Cork ETB schools.

Those in high spirits on the evening included 15 students who earned a staggering 625 points in last summer’s Leaving Certificate exams. Each of these students across Cork city and county received the prestigious Board Medal for their exemplary efforts. They were; Orla FitzMaurice of Coláiste Pobail Naomh Mhuire Buttevat, Seán Kelleher of Davis College Mallow, Elaine Daly and Róisín Kavanagh of Coláiste Treasa Kanturk, Elizabeth O’Connor and Seán Aodh O’Donoghue of Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig, Max O’Sullivan of Coláiste an Chraoibhín Fermoy, Rory Fox and Rory O’Callaghan of Coachford College, Donncha Ó Cróinín of Coláiste Ghobnatan Ballyvourney, Siobhán Moloney of St. Brogan’s College Bandon, Ellen Russell of Coláiste Fionnchua Mitchelstown, Daire O’Sullivan of Maria Immaculata Community College Dunmanway, Seán David Soden of Glanmire Community College and Hannah O’Driscoll of Schull Community College.

Praising each of the students on their achievements, Cork ETB Chief Executive, Denis Leamy congratulated them on their successes and the hard work that led to such high achievements, despite a very different approach to the norm for the traditional Leaving Certificate examination process:

“These awards mark the fantastic results achieved by students right across our 25 schools in the last year. 226 students have excelled in their results in the last year and with the last year being such a challenge for our schools, Principals and our teachers it is really brilliant, and we take such pride in marking their achievements.

We subscribe very much to values of care for our students. We value equality, access and we also very much value academic excellence.

Our schools have continually demonstrated academic excellence through their work and efforts and these awards are celebrating, not just the very high results but many, many other students for the progress they have made. The care of all students is critical to what we do in Cork ETB.

Although students may be disappointed at not having a formal graduation, the class of 2020 is likely to be remembered as one of the most famous classes in school history. They will have a unique story to tell throughout their lives about the circumstances of their final year.

I would like to pay a special thanks and tribute to the Principals and Teachers in each Cork ETB school. The students’ results are a testament to the quality of teaching, learning and leadership that we pride ourselves on in all of our schools.

This year has tested the innovation, adaptability, and leadership of all our schools and they too have surpassed all that could be reasonably expected of them.

The Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied Examinations are the start of lifelong learning and many students are continuing their education in Further Education, Institutes of Technology and Universities, so the best for them has yet to come.” Mr. Leamy concluded.

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