Eventually all will sweep to success

Time for the thinking cap

Comment and Opinion – By Jimmy Rhatigan

WELL DONE to our local student population that achieved magnificent results in the Leaving Certificate Examination.

The notion has to be that the boys and girls from schools in our city and county worked hard, dedicated themselves to study and in hundreds of cases achieved their goals.

That had to be reason to celebrate for the students themselves, their parents, brothers and sisters, more than likely grandparents too.

Many made the headlines with amazing points’ tallies so it is university here we come for big numbers of local teenagers.

At a time when there are so many sad and even tragic stories surrounding our health service, evictions from family homes, homelessness and myriad other problems, it is heartening to see young people in particular enjoying their day in the sun, as it were.

Time for the thinking cap

The success of the young guns bodes well for the future and hopefully the talented, astute and those with real vision may lean towards politics as a career.

We desperately need new blood in a profession that is so sadly lacking in leadership, decency, commonsense and is so disrespectful to the people who elect them.

But as the successful students count their points and their blessings perhaps, we should not forget those who were successful examination students in other ways.

We think in particular of those who did their damnedest, worked hard, studied diligently but did not cut the mustard, didn’t quite make what some over excited writers might term ‘star quality’.

We would disagree with the latter description, perhaps because this great group of students reminds us of our own school days when a pass with or without honours was a super achievement.

We remind young men and women who may not have garnered enough points to do a particular course, that they too are champions and indeed in many cases may have applied heart and soul to the task in hand with more pride and passion than some who hit the jackpot.

All of our students who sat the Leaving Certificate and indeed those who will go on to sit the State exam next year, should remember that an examination, any exam, is not the be all and end all of life.

Exams are merely exercises to put on paper what one would have learned during a school term. A good memory would be a great asset.

Some pupils are good, very good at that, blessed with photographic memories perhaps, others are very talented and there are those who may succumb to the pressures of exam time, those who may not relish being caged in an exam hall and asked to spew everything they know – just like that!, as comedian Tommy Cooper would have said.

Boys and girls are different in so many ways but at the end of the day they are mostly great people, our future, our great hope for an Ireland that badly needs a makeover.

Those who did not hit the headlines with their exam results should remember that they too will have their day, they will reach their goals and may well be the real entrepreneurs, planners and providers of another time.

Success is relevant. What is one man or woman’s meat may be another’s poison. There are horses for courses.

Some are champs of the exam hall, others may be kings or queens of the workplace, the leaders, the brains trust of a new company.

We think of the story of the often much maligned Christian Brother who continuously reminded a student in whom he had little faith, that the boy would end up sweeping the streets.

And so it came to pass that the follower of Kilkenny man Brother Edmund Ignatius Rice was correct, right on the button.

The good Brother, then retired, was cycling his trusty bike one day when he came across his prize pupil, who, guess what, was armed with a brush and doing an excellent job of keeping the streets of his city in pristine condition.

“I told you, I told you,” said the Brother, mentioning the boy’s name.

“I told you that you would end up sweeping the streets.”

“You did indeed sir,” said the boy, now a man.

“But you forget to tell me that I would get €600 a week for doing it.”

Need we say any more?