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“We need decisions to be made for our mental health”

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MAKE A DECISION: Leaving Cert student Mairead O'Donoghue from St Brigid's says State exam decisions need to be made as soon as possible for students' mental health.

 

As the decision around whether State exams will go ahead or not as the traditional sit down or calculated grades, this week St Brigid’s Secondary School student Mairead O’Donoghue, explains to Michelle Crean just how hard it is to prepare for her Leaving Cert while struggling to maintain a balance of school and study life and time away from the books.

“For the class of 2021, we have not experienced anything close to a “traditional” senior cycle. School online is not what I expected when going into my Leaving Cert year. This year comes with its own disadvantages of exam stress, constant studying, and preparation for exams at the end of the year, never mind all of that on top of living during a global pandemic.

I understand the Department of Education is trying to come up with alternative options on the traditional exam while considering our safety and the safety of our teachers and families. But as students, we need decisions to be made for our mental health as the uncertainty is increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Over 60,000 exam students are waiting for a decision to be made while struggling to maintain a balance of school and study life. For me, my mock exams were supposed to take place this Friday (today), a vote was taken by students and teachers in our school on whether or not to facilitate the mock exams when we return to school. The majority of teachers and students voted that the exams would be cancelled. I was relieved as it reduced the pressure I had to put myself under trying to revise old material as well as keep up with the online work given. Even though I was happy with the decision regarding the mocks, they are set in place to prepare us for the real exam and help improve exam technique as well as inform students of where they are in each subject. Once we return to school, we will be concentrating on finishing projects, practical exams and orals while completing the course and therefore trying to fit in a week of mocks would be a struggle.”

DILEMMA

The Department of Education and Minister for Education Norma Foley are in a dilemma, she explained.
However, she added they need to provide students and teachers with clarity.

“Nobody would have predicted before Christmas that we would be where we are now, and I find it hard to understand when Norma Foley says she thinks it will be feasible for students to sit a “traditional Leaving Cert”.

We have now spent 14 weeks outside of a traditional classroom setting and that is not including time taken away from students who had to isolate. As a Sixth Year group, we have overcome massive challenges in the past number of months regarding our education.

Since returning to online school after Christmas in my own experience I am finding it more manageable as I have more experience this time around. I have to say I would not be finding it so manageable only due to the support and encouragement given to us by the teachers and staff of St Brigid’s who are constantly trying to improve our experience.

Even though I try to stick to my school timetable attending classes and taking breaks as scheduled, I find myself completely drained at 4pm both mentally and physically, and then have to face into homework and study for the next couple of hours while sitting at the same desk all over again.
The decision we are all hoping to be made during this week or early next week will not satisfy every Leaving Cert student, but it will provide us with the clarity we need to continue working towards exams in June or for predicted grades or alternatives. I hope the Department of Education and the Minister for Education consider the stress and anxiety levels students are experiencing when making their decision on the future of our education as well as our, and our loved ones, health."

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Artists invited to showcase work at Wine and Art night

It’s back – and not before time – the hugely popular Killarney Rotary Club evening of Wine and Art will return this November. The pandemic enforced its absence and now […]

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It’s back – and not before time – the hugely popular Killarney Rotary Club evening of Wine and Art will return this November.

The pandemic enforced its absence and now every effort is being made to make up for lost time.

Widely regarded as one of the social highlights of the year in Killarney, this year’s gathering will take place in the Great Southern Killarney on Wednesday, November 30, commencing at 7.15pm.

Tickets, which will be available at the door, are priced at €20 and all proceeds raised on the night will go to deserving local charities and community organisations.

Over the years the evening of wine and art has raised tens of thousands of Euro for great causes and the 2022 proceeds will be of enormous benefit to the chosen groups.

This year, once again, the event is being held in association with Daly’s SuperValu and supported by Killarney Brewing and Distilling Company.

Rotary Club President, Rayla Tadjimatova, has appealed to all artists who might like to showcase their work on the night to get in touch with club members, as soon as possible, to guarantee inclusion.

“We are reaching out not only to artists who have supported the event in the past but to any new artists who wish to take the opportunity to place their work in front of a very appreciative local audience of up to one thousand people on the night,” she said.

Those interested should email killarneyrotaryclub@gmail.com as soon as possible.

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Gardai seek whereabouts of missing Kerry teen

Gardaí are asking the public for their help in locating a 15-year-old teenager. Nicolas O’Sullivan has been missing from Ballyvelly, Tralee, since Monday (October 3). He is described as being […]

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Gardaí are asking the public for their help in locating a 15-year-old teenager.

Nicolas O’Sullivan has been missing from Ballyvelly, Tralee, since Monday (October 3).

He is described as being approximately 6ft in height, of a slim build with brown hair and green eyes. When last seen Nicolas was wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a black hoody top. He was also carrying a black bag.

Anyone with information on Nicolas’ whereabouts is asked to contact Tralee Garda Station on 066 710 2300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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