Martin Fitzpatrick with his parents Geraldine and Paddy
An outstanding Laois student who got top marks in the Leaving Cert is prepared for the strange start to university life as Covid-19 continues to affect education.
Martin Fitzpatrick from Sconce, Ballyfin, a student at Mountrath Community School, got the maximum possible grade of seven H1s, leading to a perfect 625 points.
A son of Geraldine and Paddy Fitzpatrick, Martin has been accepted to study for a BA in Science in NUI Galway.
"It will be very different than other first years. I will have only four hours a week in a classroom, it is strange to think about. A lot of my lectures will be online. It's still exciting, but not as exciting," he said.
He was delighted to get a perfect score in his grade.
"I was suprised a bit, especially at English, and very happy as well," he said.
Looking back on the difficult year for Leaving Certs, he describes it as "very weird", especially without marking the traditional end of school ceremonies and celebrations.
"As it was for everyone else, it was very tough. In 6th year you do a lot of hard work but later in the year you get to the nice bit of 6th year. Instead everything was put on hold," he said.
"I found it hard to self police my studies working at home, it was so difficult," he said.
A modest Martin put his result down to schoolwork being his strong point.
"I am strong in school, that's my thing. I'm not gifted at sport. I'd like to thank my parents, they helped me a lot not just this year but the whole way through. All my teachers in Mountrath were very good, I really liked them, and I am thankful for them, the whole school was very supportive," he said.
Covid-19 also put paid to any big celebrations for Leaving Certs, but Martin hopes everyone can reunite at their Debs, now deferred to next March.
"I met some friends that evening but you can't do a huge amount now. If the debs goes ahead that would be a proper send-off," he said.