11 Leaving Cert students of Cork Life Centre look to the future

11 Leaving Cert students of Cork Life Centre look to the future
Don O'Leary, director, Cork Life Centre

ELEVEN students, who overcame a myriad of diverse issues to complete their Leaving Certificate at the Cork Life Centre this year are heading off to pastures-a-new.

The Cork Life Centre, which is a voluntary organization that offers an alternative learning environment to young people who find themselves outside the mainstream education, brought 11 students to successful completion of the Leaving Cert this year.

Of the 11, one is going on to study Law, another will be studying Arts while a third will be focusing on Criminology.

Six others are taking on Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses and another individual has already acquired full-time employment.

One student is assessing his options for further education and unfortunately, one individual is not in a position to pursue third level education due to asylum seeker status.

Director of the Cork Life Centre Don O’Leary said he was extremely proud of all his students for achieving so much against the odds but said it was saddening to see one of their students in limbo due to his asylum seeker status.

“We are sad that one of our students is in limbo at present in relation to his further education in spite of his incredible work and commitment completing his exams with just seven months of part-time tuition.” 

Despite this Mr O’Leary said he was “extremely proud” of all his students.

“These students have demonstrated extraordinary courage and personal strength during their journey to Leaving Cert.

“Each had their own journey with individual struggles and challenges to overcome in the face of which many would not have had the strength or perseverance to continue.” 

Mr O’Leary said it showed extraordinary resilience on the part of the students to battle against the odds to secure their education.

“It is with immense pride we have seen these young people prove anyone who doubted them wrong and how they and their families have demonstrated the power of refusing to take no for an answer.” 

Speaking about the success of the Cork Life Centre, Mr O’Leary said the centre offers young people the opportunity to explore more than just education in their learning.

“Our young people are encouraged and allowed to grow personally and socially as well as academically, indeed this is given equal, if not more importance, than academic pursuits.” 

Looking to next year, Mr O’Leary said the centre has 16 people taking the all important State exam.

“Our hope for the group is that they strike the right balance between pursuing their academic, social and personal goals and do not value one above the other.

Offering sage advice to the coming year of students, Mr O’Leary said: “We always encourage students to keep Leaving Cert exams in perspective and to recognise there are a number of ways to reach their future goals.”

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