Limerick student achieves top marks in Leaving Certificate Applied exams

Ericia O'Donoghue, Garryowen, got 100% per cent in her Applied Leaving Cert at Limerick Youth Service. Photo: Brendan Gleeson

Limerick student Erica O’Donoghue cried tears of joy at the moment she learned she had achieved a distinction in her Leaving Cert Applied exams.

“Hard work pays off in the end,” said thrilled Erica, (19) from Limerick City.

Loosing her father Tony when she was 13 hit her hard but after a few “tough years” she eventually found solace at Limerick Youth Service (LYS), and a route back to education.

The LCA programme allowed Erica to study evening courses in her chosen career in healthcare, and placed her well on her way to earning her full qualifications as an assistant healthcare worker, specifically caring for elderly people.

It was an exciting morning at LYS as Erika and her fellow students opened envelopes containing their results.

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“I was confident that I was going to pass the exams, but not 100 per cent. I had been nervous all week,” said Erica.

“I was stunned, I actually started crying — 100 per cent like, thats big. I’m very proud of myself,” she said.

“The last two years of my life have been tough, they were never easy for me, but to get back this result from all of the work that I put in, it’s a major thing,” she added.

“It shows that I’m a lot more than I think I am, it shows that I can do things.”

“I’ve college coming up in September, I’m going to Central College Limerick, Sexton Street, to become a healthcare assistant. It will take me a year as I already have two of the course’s modules finished by already having attended evening courses at LCFE (Limerick College of further Education) – I got distinctions in them too.”

She has secured a job placement after college with Comfort Keepers home-care agency.

“I’ll be helping elderly people get dressed, wash them, make sure they have their medication, sit and have a chat with them,” added Erica.

Her message to others who left school early and would like to gain qualifications is to pursue that dream is: “Go back to school, it will be the best thing you will ever do.”

“Going to Limerick Youth Service was the best decision I ever made. When I was having bad days, and they were very bad, I had Limerick Youth Service to lean on and they supported me with everything; they push you to your limits, it’s an amazing place.”

Erica, thanked her family, her boyfriend Dylan and his family, as well as LYS staff Noreen Murphy and Ka Clancy “and all at Limerick Youth Service”, and her four pet dogs “Misty”, “Prince”, “Betty-Boo”, and “Chestnut”, who also helped her through hard times.

“The future is big. I’m going to go for a meal now to celebrate, and go home to my dogs,” Erica concluded.