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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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Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance

  Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]

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Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.

It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.

Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.

As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.

“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.

Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.

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Golf club launches Summer Series competition

By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.

The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”

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Investigation continues into New St fire

  Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week. The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7). It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting […]

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Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week.

The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7).

It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting and ducting on the first, second and third floors. There was heavy smoke throughout the hotel but all guests were evacuated safely.

The landmark hotel, which also houses the famous Danny Mann pub, has not yet reopened, and local Gardai are still investigating its cause.

“The investigation is ongoing,” a Killarney Gardai Station spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are establishing the full facts in relation to the fire.”

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