Growing up gifted

The 9 medical students of Trinity College, Dublin who were awarded the Foundation Scholarship on April 8th 2013.Back row (L to R): Sam Holt, Tommy McGimsey, Liam O'Neill, Gavin Tucker, Niall McVeigh, Adam Dyer.Front row (L to R): Srujana Vedicherla, Megan Power-Foley, Kate Richards.
A past-pupil of Lanesboro Community College has recently been awarded the prestigious Foundation Scholarship by Trinity College Dublin.

A past-pupil of Lanesboro Community College has recently been awarded the prestigious Foundation Scholarship by Trinity College Dublin.

Gavin Tucker, son of Martin and Sarah, was awarded the Scholarship in April, after sitting an optional exam on Auto-Immune diseases.

Receiving the Scholarship is a huge achievement for any student, but perhaps more so for Gavin, who is currently in his second year studying Medicine at just 17 years of age.

Gavin obtained 7 A’s in his Leaving Certificate Exams and an exceptional mark in his HPAT exam to be accepted into Trinity College at just 16 years and 3 months old. Gavin says that teachers in his secondary school had inspired him along the way,

“I really got a sense of ‘I believe in you’”, he explains, adding that many were “still optimistic that I could thrive in college” despite his young age. However, the second year student admits that he didn’t find entering college at such a young age particularly strange; “I didn’t make a big deal of it, so other people didn’t make a big deal of it”, he says “People treated me the same as everyone else.”

The Scholarship is open to students of second year, who are invited to apply in November of that year. It includes an exam which takes place in January and tests “way beyond” what the students are normally expected to do. Each course, Gavin explains, has different requirements, but most are just an extension of the course. The exam for medicine, however, was on auto-immune diseases. Gavin was then given a reading list to study and become an expert in.

“It definitely positively impacted the way I work”, Gavin adds, explaining that he had learned how to take a more academic approach to exams, and how to study properly. However, achieving high marks in the exam wasn’t an easy feat, and Gavin admits that he had to work solidly to achieve his result.

“You just have to think ‘I can apply myself for these few months.’”

The Scholarship entitles Gavin to 5 years of study free of fees (the 3 remaining years on his undergraduate degree, and 2 years post-graduate), a free room in college for up to 9 months of the year and a 3-course meal every day. The Scholarship, Gavin says, is “immensely valuable”, particularly as it gives the option for two years of post-graduate studies without worrying about rising fees for post-graduate courses.

There is no limit to the amount of scholars each year, however, only 90 students in Trinity College were awarded the Scholarship this year, 9 of those Scholarships awarded to students of Medicine. The Scholarship is tradition in Trinity College, and has a long and illustrious history, with past scholars including Edmund Burke and Samuel Beckett.