“It seems to me, that if there’s one change from beginning to end that really says it all, it’s 12-year-old me asking my parents “Why am I going to this school?”, to the 18-year old simply saying “Thank you”

Richard from Portarlington achieved 12 As in his Junior Cert and 6 A1s in his Leaving Cert.  He represented Ireland 3 times on the National Informatics team at the International Olympiad in Italy, Australia and Taiwan (winning a medal in 2014, the first for Ireland since 2009). A BT Young Scientist technology special award winner and category winner not once but twice. In January 2014 his award was for “the student who showed outstanding achievement in technology” for his project on Advanced modelling and infilling algorithms for 3D printing.

A Housecaptain in sixth year he was also a rugby player and a member of the school orchestra playing viola. He is currently studying Computer Science in Cambridge and will graduate this June.  Not surprisingly Mark Zuckerberg has already been in touch and will start work in Facebook’s London Headquarters later this year.

Richard recalls his days in CCR.

“I started off in CCR back in 2008, not really knowing what I was in for, or why I was going. I just knew that Dad went there, and it seemed to turn out alright for him, so on I went.  The easiest way to explain what CCR meant to me is compare before and after. In those six years I grew from a boy to man and I really did change, and I hope by reading this, you might get a glimpse at some it.  I wasn’t very sociable when I arrived. Ask any of my family, I was a shy child. In Roscrea, I found friends I know will last a lifetime. Even having moved to UK right after leaving CCR, I’ve seen them  many times already, and some have even come out to visit me (Side note: Lads, the exchange rate is great, come visit). To say I had mixed feelings at the beginning when I had to give a speech to the rest of year is an understatement, but, by third year I had won the Silver Medal for public speaking and realised I really enjoyed it. I cannot get across how much my self-confidence grew throughout my time, and public speaking has been such a useful skill for me since I left.  It’s no secret that the teachers in CCR really are excellent. They are without a doubt a pivotal reason for where I am today. I never would have done as well as I did in my Junior Cert or Leaving Cert without them. Without my grades, their advice, encouragement and passion, I don’t think I would have ever gotten accepted to Cambridge. The teachers really foster an atmosphere in the school where the exceptional is achievable, with multiple people in my small year of 36 getting over 600 points. That atmosphere in the school, where you can do whatever you’re passionate about to an exceptional degree, is invaluable. It extends from all subjects to sports, music and everything else. Extra-curricular activities s are one of CCR’s best-selling-points. On arrival, I was not into sports. From that to being on the JCR Rugby team to doing athletics, I’m still thankful that CCR made me appreciate fitness. I wasn’t musical either (they really were dealing with a blank canvas here) but by the end I had taken up two instruments.  But it wasn’t just sports or music that I found myself engaged in my spare time. Encouragement from the science department led me to enter the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for three years in arrow, culminating in the Technology Special Award. And it would be remiss of me to not say that the College was essential in my success. It’s all the way from little things like giving me time off to go to programming competitions, to big things like helping me enter the Young Scientist, that CCR had covered. As I progressed through the years and my focus narrowed to what I was best at, the school was there to support me all the way.