East Cork Students Speak Out about the leaving Cert

By Joanne Delaney

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Ava Kate Beausang  is an East Cork Student, She like many of her peers do not agree with the new leaving certificate dates. Ava says, the government really crushed the leaving cert students of Ireland. The pushing back of the leaving cert exams to the 29th of July. This decision from Leo Varadkar, Joe McHugh, and many others in our government outraged many of the students throughout Ireland. We had been ignored once again by the people who were supposed to represent us, who some of us had even elected into the Dail.

In reaction to this, I set up a campaign that I called, "Hear Our Voices," where I gathered Leaving Cert students from all over the country to take a photo with a sign I created, and they posted it online using the hashtag #hearourvocies. I organised my friend Cian Pierce who is very talented at public speaking to create dialogue as well as voice the speech with his friend Kerry Rourke. We completed and posted this video on the 17th of April of this year and currently, it has just under 500 views on youtube and 2,000 views on Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

I started this campaign to try and protect the students of this country. To make sure we could avoid the loss of life during this time, the prevention of a mental health crisis, and have the fairest option out of all this unfairness. I acknowledge this is not fair for all, but it is the best option we have among all the realistic options. The leaving cert exams is an extremely stressful time for the students of Ireland, but now we have a worldwide pandemic on top of that. The exams that have initially been the bones of two weeks long are now 40 days long. This extension is unfair and extremely harsh on the students. We will have no support from our schools and teachers between the closing of schools for summer and the two weeks before school re-opens and that two week time, for most students, will be used to catch up on lost times on projects such as geography, history, ag science, and art. It should also be taken into account that students may lose parents, grandparents, siblings, and loved ones during this COVID-19 crisis or god forbid they contract the virus themselves. How is "fair" that students should be forced to do exams while also possible grieving, having anxiety of infecting others or being infected themselves and passing it onto their loved ones

I want to make sure the voices of my fellow Leaving Cert students are heard and that we can no longer be ignored and so I have attached a link to the video,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cuo3DcbLOW0&t=50s

We have lost so much from our leaving cert experience (graduation, debs/grads, leaving cert holidays, orals/practicals) the least we can be given is some sympathy.

We at East Cork Journal would like to take this opportunity to wish all leaving cert students the best of luck.

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