Going back to full time education after years away is a challenge. And passing your Leaving Cert at the end of that time is a great achievement. But the men and women of Clonmel’s VTOS Leaving Cert class only wanted to praise one man when the results came out last Wednesday - Michael Corbett.
“He’s a legend,” Martin Prout declared, when he paid tribute to the coordinator of the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) at the CTI in Clonmel. Michael Corbett is not just an administrator but the backbone of the course and a supportive presence for all the adults that take the brave step to go back and do their ‘Leaving.’
Martin explained that it was thanks to Michael he went back to study, and now he has his Leaving Cert results he is “delighted, absolutely delighted.”
Like many of his classmates Martin left school at a young age and entered the workplace. But when the economy took a turn for the worse it was hard to find work without a Leaving Certificate. Over the last two years Martin worked hard, he said, adding “I would advise anyone to come back and do it.” He's now hoping to do a further education course in mechanics next year.
For student Gary Fitzgerald Michael Corbett is also a hero. “That man is brilliant. In the English exam I chose to write an essay on ‘kindness’ and I wrote about him,” he told The Nationalist. His high praise for the coordinator, his classmates and the course were summed up when he said: “I’d come back and do it again.”
“I’m fairly happy now. This is the culmination of two years’ hard work and I have something to show for it. Whatever I do now it will stand to me,” Gary said, adding that the whole class formed a close knit group and got each other through the harder times.
The two years were not easy for all those who went back to education but they surmounted the challenges.
Ellen O’Brien said she was both delighted and surprised with her results. “I always wanted to do this,” she said, adding she hopes in the future to come back to the CTI and do a nursing course.
Patrick Kearney said he felt great and was happy with his results and that he passed. Reflecting how overwhelming the day was for many Patrick said he is going to take his results home and think about what he would like to do next.