THERE were cheers and tears across South Yorkshire yesterday as students opened their A-Level results to find out whether they had made the grade to go to university.
Teenagers at Thomas Rotherham College, Moorgate, Rotherham, began queuing outside at 7am – eager to find out whether they had done enough to secure their places on their degree courses or to be accepted onto apprenticeship schemes.
Friends hugged each other and shed tears of joy when they got the results they needed, while some consoled each other when they found out their grades.
The pass rate at Thomas Rotherham increased to 98 per cent.
Dr Richard Williams, principal, said: “I am really pleased - I have been here six years now and this is our best year ever and is all down to the hard work of our students and staff and I am very proud of them,” said Dr Williams.
“There were 38 students with straight A* and A results and pleasing performances throughout the class of 2012.
“University still remains the aspiration of the vast majority of our students, but some of them are increasingly looking to apprenticeships and employment after college and A-Levels will equip them for that as well as university.”
Student Lydia Morris, 18, of Dinnington, who achieved A* grades in French and Spanish as well another A has secured a place at Cambridge University to read modern languages.
Lydia, who eventually wants to work as an interpreter, said: “I am excited at my results and proud – I worked so hard, in fact I gave up my life for these, but the results are worth it.
“I needed one A*, so to get two is fantastic.”
Sam Kelly 18, of Moorgate, Rotherham, is another student off to university next month after achieving A grades in French, German and English - earning him a place at Newcastle, where he will read German and Chinese.
He said: “It was a struggle at times but I worked so hard, so today I just feel relief that it has all paid off.
“The worry waiting for these results was awful, but when we got the results there was such a positive atmosphere around the place – most people seem to have done really well. I didn’t see many people crying, just tears of joy.”
Lauren Sweeting, 18, of Ecclesfield, Sheffield, was one of those shedding tears of joy when her results came through - A* grades in French and Spanish and a C in English - getting her onto a French and Spanish degree course at Sheffield University.
She said: “Last year I got B, B, C, so I have had to work really really hard to get these - I cant believe it, I am over the moon.
“It felt like I hibernated in my bedroom for months.”
Tom Humphries, 18, of Stag, Rotherham, is another student going to Sheffield University after achieving an A in French and Bs in chemistry and biology - securing his place to study medicine.
He said: “I worked like crazy for these results - A-Levels were such a step up from GCSEs.
“I was hoping to get what I needed, but wasn’t able to talk about the results beforehand, I was too nervous. My ambition is to go into surgery, so I am on the right path.”
Emily Strong, 18, of Ecclesfield, spent yesterday celebrating after securing her place at Manchester University to study psychology.
She achieved an A* in psychology, B in English and B in philosophy.
She said: “I feel on top of the world, I couldn’t have worked any harder so I am really proud of myself. Everyone was nervous while they waited for their results but there were lots of smiles afterward, which was nice to see.”
Tarik Safir, 18, of Chapeltown, is also off to Manchester University to study aeronautical engineering after achieving As in maths, physics and French, a B in further maths and a C in general studies.
He said: “I am really happy to have got the results I needed to do the course in Manchester - I worked really hard.
Fellow student Ryan Morphet, 18, of Swinton, is also on the path to fulfilling his dream of becoming a PE teacher after achieving an A* in sport and a B in applied business. He will now go to university in Hull to study sport.
DANIEL’S CLEAN SWEEP OF A* GRADES
STUDENT Daniel Anstess is off to Cambridge University after securing the top A* grade in each of his four A-levels.
The 18-year-old, of Hoyland, Barnsley, spent the day celebrating after achieving the grades in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and securing his place at Cambridge, where he will read engineering.
The Thomas Rotherham College student said: “I was expecting an A* in Maths and Physics, so to get four is unbelievable.
“I have had to work really hard and did a lot of revision and lots of practice papers before the exams, but to get results like this makes it all worthwhile.”
His father Peter, who saw his son opening his results, said: “I am as proud as proud can be and the results are what he deserves.
“He has always liked school and enjoyed his studies, but he has never been a swot - he has always enjoyed the social aspect to school too as well as sport, but he just gets on with his work and works hard. He expected a couple of A*s so for him to get four is a fantastic achievement.”
HOMING IN ON BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
HOME-EDUCATED Eli Ingle has proved the alternative schooling method can be a path to success right up to university.
For the grandson of Sheffield boxing trainer Brendan Ingle has A-level marks to be proud of, an A in psychology yesterday plus two earlier A* grades in business studies and sociology.
He has been home schooled from the age of 13 along with sister Niamh, 17, but is one of the rare few to be educated that way past GCSEs.
Eli, 19, said he thought about going back to college for A-levels, but he and his family had enjoyed his home education so much he wanted to carry on.
He is now enjoying a business and management degree at Sheffield Hallam University – after considering home higher education too.
“To me, that was like going back to school in a lot of ways which was exactly what I didn’t want to do,” he said
“So it just seemed like a natural progression to move on to doing the A-levels.
“It’s so wide-ranging and there’s so many opportunities I feel I’ve got that I would never have got at school.
“It shows you don’t necessarily have to have an organised school environment to do it, there are other routes out there that work just as well.
“I’ve just enjoyed every minute.”
His mother, nurse Jill Ingle, 45, said: “I’ve been as surprised as the next person to find we have managed to do it. But it’s all credit to them, really. They are really the one’s who have done it on their own.”
‘ROLLERCOASTER RIDE’ DRAMA ENDS HAPPILY
BEAMING Lauri Chapman has more than one reason to smile after becoming the first person in her family to go to university.
In fact she has three, an A grade in A-level psychology, a B in law and a B in English literature and language – the latter just a few marks off an A grade.
And now Lauri, who was also the first person in her family to go to college by studying at Hillsborough College, is to take law at Sheffield University. She hopes to become a solicitor.
The 18-year-old, of Gleadless Valley, said: “I’ve always wanted to do well for myself from very young, I had a different drive to other people.
“I’m the first person in my family to go to university and the first to go to college too.
“I’m really proud of myself and my family are as well.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster because at first I thought I hadn’t got my place then I checked UCAS and I had.
“When I rang my mum and told her I’d got in she burst out crying.”
Cries of ‘I did it’ and tears of joy signalled more success stories at the college, which opened at 7am for the first time to give students a headstart on university applications if needed.
Sam Aldarm, of Shiregreen, had been up since 5am waiting to find out if she could pursue her dream of working with animals.
The 18-year-old, who has Asperger’s syndrome, earned a place at Nottingham Trent University to study animal biology with two C grades in chemistry and biology plus a D in English. She said: “It’s been quite a hard journey to get here, but there is light at the end of the tunnel now – I’ve got a place and that’s more than other people have.
“With my condition I can get anxious and as there is stress from exam pressure I can feel that more than other people so I have to work past that or I’d get nowhere.” Five pals jumping for joy were Theodore Zorbas, Rob Johns, Garth Williams, Callum Cockbill and Sam Crossland.
Former Yewlands Technology College student Theodore, of Fox Hill, got an A* in chemistry and maths plus a B in physics.
The 18-year-old said: “I’m going to Sheffield University to study physics - I want to be a physicist.
“It’s been a lot of hard work to get here. I feel delighted with the results I’ve got.”
Garth, 19, of Stocksbridge, will soon start a mechanical engineering apprenticeship to work at Tata Steel – as many young people take alternative options to university.
Garth, who got a B, D and two Es, said: “I just wanted to do something more hands on.
“Everyone on the course gets a full-time job at the end.
“I’m going to be earning £10,000 a year while most people pay £10,000 a year to go to university.
Another youngster following a different path was proud Elizabeth Brittain, who lives in Penistone.
She hopes to start a business in graphics or photography after a one-year course for aspiring entrepreneurs run by BBC Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones’s Enterprise Academy at Sheffield City College. The 18-year-old, who got a D in graphics and an E in English, said: “I saw a presentation on the course and liked the idea of starting my own creative business.’’
STUDENTS MAKING THEIR POINT
IT IS one musical honour after another for Harry Castle – who is celebrating an A grade at the age of just 15.
Harry, a pupil at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, was part of the Olympics opening ceremony and now has an AS-level in his favourite subject too.
Last year the gifted musician, a member of the National Youth Orchestra, also achieved an A* grade in GCSE music two years early.
Harry, whose two brothers are also showing a prowess for music, said: “I am happy to have passed the exam at 15 and to get an A grade is even better.
“It has been a great year so far, being picked for the NYO and performing at some amazing places.
“This tops it all off.
“As a music scholar at the Mount, I am lucky to have some great teachers who have been really supportive and helped me to develop my skills.”
Fellow Mount St Mary’s pupil and fencing star Amer Qaiyum is pointing to success after recording top marks in his A-level exams.
The 18-year-old – a Yorkshire champion fencer – achieved As in biology, maths and physics and a B in chemistry.
Amer, from Brookhouse, Laughton, will now go on to Imperial College London to read Medicine.
Laurence McKell, Mount St Mary’s headmaster, said: “Congratulations to Amer and all of our sixth-form pupils who have worked so hard over the past two years.
“Amer and his peers have a bright future ahead and we wish everyone the best of luck in their chosen paths.”