THREE teenagers have made history for the Ursuline Secondary School in Thurles by each achieving the perfect score of 12 straight As in their Junior Cert, more straight As than anywhere else in the country.
Isabella Harold Barry, Hannah Stapleton and Jane Ryan made national headlines on Thursday last week when they amassed an impressive 36 As between the three of them. The girls said the secret to their success was a rounded regime of study, sport, relaxation, and music.
Transition Year student Hannah told the Tipperary Star she was “shocked” to see the perfect results sheet when the envelope was opened on Wednesday morning last. “I was expecting about five A’s. I just wanted to do better than my Mocks.” Hannah says her mother, Cora, and father John, weren’t all that surprised with the straight As from their hardworking daughter. Hannah would like to follow in the footsteps of some of her favourite teachers in the Ursuline by becoming a Primary Teacher herself. Hannah singled out the music teacher Mary Rose McNally for special mention. When asked if she a special way to remember all those facts going into the exam, Hannah says she writes all the notes to memorise them in her head
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Jane, upon opening that all-important envelope. “I was speechless. I thought it was a dream.” A boarder at the school, Jane said she was expecting some As, but mostly “just Bs.” Before results night, Jane says most people were fine, up until about lunch time on the day of the results. Jane’s parents, Cyril and Cleona, were “really happy” with the results. The Ryan family celebrated with dinner in Chez Hans, Cashel.
“As long as you keep on top of the work, and if you don’t fall behind, you’ll do well. I don’t really believe in cramming.”
Isabella said it all felt a bit surreal. “I was so surprised,” said Jane who also celebrated in Chez Hans. Jane has three sisters, Antonia, a second year boarder in the Ursuline, Phillipa, who is in Third Class in Tipp town, and Miranda, who is in 1st class in St Josephs’s, Tipperary. Isabella’s favourite subjects are Art, under the watchful eye of Ms Anne Lawlor, and French with Teacher Ms Aoife Whelan. “I didn’t get that nervous.” Isabella helped herself to relax prior to exams by playing Tennis, and had a starring role in “The Sound of Music”, a musical produced by the students and staff of the Ursuline. Kay and Mark are Isabella’s proud parents.
All the girls agreed that it’s not all just about the study. “You have to get a break. Some people think that it’s all about the study, but it’s not,” says Isabella. “They definitely push you to do sports as well,” agreed Hannah. Hannah’s 12 subjects were Irish, English, Maths, French, Business, History, Geography, Science, Religion, CSP, German, and Music. Jane took the same, except with Home Economics instead of Music, while Isabella took Art instead of Music.