Hayleigh Nugent, a student from Garryowen who achieved the top marks in this year’s Leaving Cert Applied (LCA), was presented with the Fergal Quinn Award at the Leaving Cert Applied National Conference in Athlone recently.
Hayleigh, who got 98% in the exam was joined at the LCA National Conference by her family and staff from Limerick Youth Service where she studied.
When asked what drew her to the LCA course, Hayleigh said ‘I left school in Fifth Year as I just didn’t feel it was for her me at the time’ adding ‘however, when I’d go for job interviews I would always be asked did I have my Leaving Cert and I started to feel I was missing out on something.’
After doing some homework as to the educational opportunities available to her, Hayleigh enrolled with LYS’ former Abbey Youth Local Training Initiative in 2015 and from there her pathway led to the LCA programme at LYS where she studied a variety of subjects citing Maths and IT as her two favourite.
Hayleigh was full of praise for the LCA programme saying that ‘more young people should be made aware of it (LCA) as a course option after their Junior Cert.’
‘I loved my time with LYS,’ said Hayleigh adding ‘the staff were very supportive and always encouraged us whether in class or during our placements.’
Hayleigh is currently studying Child Care in Central College, Limerick and plans to study for a BA in Early Childhood Care & Education a then postgrad in education.
‘My dream is to become a teacher and with the LCA programme I’ve just chosen a different way of getting there,’ said Hayleigh.
Hayleigh’s outstanding achievement was acknowledged by Noreen Murphy, LCA coordinator at LYS who was full of praise for the young student.
‘Hayleigh is a great student and thoroughly deservers her recognition,’ said Noreen adding ‘she is a great role model for her peers.’
Delivered over a two year cycle the LCA focuses on the talents of each individual student and helps them apply what they learn in the real world.
‘It is continually assessed with a strong emphasis on recognising the talents of all students and giving them opportunities, through the subjects and modules, to develop personal responsibility and self-esteem,’ said Noreen Murphy.
‘Like the Leaving Cert, students have to complete final exams in June but they can approach these feeling confidence with at least 2/3 of their work done beforehand,’ added Noreen, LCA Coordinator.
Supported by the Limerick & Clare Education & Training Board, the LCA programme is delivered at LYS’ Community Training Centre in a supportive and encouraging environment.
A member of Youth Work Ireland, LYS is the largest youth organisation in Ireland and remains committed to connecting with young people and supporting them to reach their full potential.