Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

How our students got on in their crucial A-Level exams

Family matters: twins Matthew and Chris Heath are on the move
Family matters: twins Matthew and Chris Heath are on the move
Happy: Abbie Harte will study pharmacy
Happy: Abbie Harte will study pharmacy
Double Success: Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey plan to stay in touch next year
Double Success: Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey plan to stay in touch next year

The studying is finally over and the results are in... we talk to A-Level students around Northern Ireland about their hopes for the future.

Brothers branch out for studies

It's a year of big changes for this set of Belfast twins.

Matthew Heath and non-identical brother Chris are getting ready for some big differences coming in their lives.

The Campbell College pupils are going to be apart for the first time but more than that, their parents are moving to New Zealand – so they are all relocating.

Matthew achieved 2A*s and an A in his subjects of history, English and R.E. and is going on to study history in Durham university.

He said: "I'm really pleased. I'm a little disappointed not to get an A* in the subject I'm doing next year, but the coursework brought me down.

"I worked hard all year and it was quite stressful. But Durham seems like a friendly place."

He added: "It's the first time my brother and I will have been apart but it will be good for us but we will miss each other."

Chris, achieved an A* and 2Bs and is going on to study product design at Loughborough university.

He said: "I am really pleased with the A* in art because I had wanted to get a B and ended up getting quite a bit higher in the end.

"After I graduate I will see what happens. But down the line I would like to get into teaching or coaching with hockey."

Chris said he was "quite excited" about getting the results until he started seeing the posts on Facebook today and then he started to get nervous.

He says it will be "sweet but sour" being away from his twin.

He said: "It will make us a bit more independent going out in the big bad world on our own.

"And our parents are moving to New Zealand so it's all changing.

He added: "But it's a new chapter and I'm excited for what will come with it."

Head girl leads from the front...

Being head girl of your school comes with a lot of responsibilities and making sure to do your best in the A-Level exams is one of them.

But Bloomfield Collegiate student Abbie Harte (18) has done just that.

Abbie, who achieved 3 As in her exams, said: “I found the exams so tough. It was a big jump up from AS to A2.

“I really wanted to do well. Being head girl I had a lot to live up to because all the previous girls have done so well.

“I got one hour of sleep last night I was so nervous.

“I am so happy now. I checked online and when it popped up on screen I kept checking and relogging on to make sure what I was seeing was right.

“To know is the best feeling in the world, you can’t beat it.

“I’m going to Queen’s University to do pharmacy. I’m really into my chemistry and biology.

“I went to a talk at the university and it was really interesting to me and looked like something that I would enjoy.

“Hopefully I will go into industrial pharmacy and eventually work in a hospital.”

Ryan drawing on love of movies

Northern Ireland’s thriving creative industry and a love of films and games has inspired one teenager to take on an animation degree.

Campbell College student Ryan Smyth (18), who gained an A* and two Cs, said: “I was a wee bit nervous about my results so I checked online and saw that I got two Cs in ICT and business studies so I had to get an A in art.

“I was a wee bit surprised to get an A*. I did still life of glass and flowers and different objects for my portfolio.

“I’m going to study animation at Northumbria University.

“It involves work with movies and games and designing characters.

“I’ve always loved films and games. I thought I should do something I love so decided work in that area would be good.

“When I graduate I would like to work on a game or a TV series like Game of Thrones.

“Every time I have mentioned what I want to do people say that is the industry that is growing and their are good job opportunities.

“I would like to work in Belfast, in our growing creative industry, and I will hopefully go to the US at some point too.”

Twins separate to pursue goals

They are the identical twins who are gearing up for their first year apart.

Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey from Belfast haven’t been separated for long in their 18 years.

And now the Dominican College |students are gearing up for the first time they will be away from each other as they start on the next chapter of their lives.

The 18-year-olds are both choosing separate paths following their recent success at A-Level but maintain that they will stay in touch no matter what.

Kathryn achieved 3As in her subjects of drama, PE and religion. She is going to university in Durham to study sports studies.

She said: “I’m ecstatic, I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t expect to do so well.

She added: “It’s the first time we will be apart. I’m scared about that but we have modern technology to keep us in touch, and we will be talking to each other all the time.

“We’ve been in the same school all our lives. We are very close.”

Sister Olivia also enjoyed great success in her exams and hopes to go to university in Dublin but is considering taking a year out.

She achieved two As in drama and religion and a B in Spanish.

She said: “I hope to go to UCD to study French and Spanish but I think I will take a year out and go for a ski season in France to work on my language.

“I’m nervous about being away from Kathryn because we do everything together but we have been preparing for it for some time.

“I’m really proud, but I wish I had got one extra mark in Spanish to get an A.”

She added: “I was extremely nervous about the results because you work so hard beforehand.

“I’m really excited about the year ahead because I know we will be in touch every day.”

Danielle Mackin (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: 3 As

I did business studies, IT and religion. I studied really hard, you need to. I was nervous to open them and completely shocked. I didn't expect what I got. I was hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. I'm going to do business information technology at Queen's. I'm staying at home – I'm a wee home bird. When I graduate I want to work for a computing company.

Ronan Duffy (18)

Lumen Christi College Londonderry

Results: 2 Bs, C

I'm pleased with the results I have. I applied to Queen's University to study mechanical engineering. This is something I am really interested in and the fact that there will be loads of job opportunities when I finish was also a big factor for me. At least I shouldn't have to emigrate to get work.

Rhiannon Kelly (18)

Little Flower Belfast

Results: C, D, Distinction

I'm shocked. I didn't expect to do as well. I was very nervous but I've been on holiday in Australia since the end of June so it was a good distraction from thinking about results. I'm going to go to Jordanstown university to study social policy. I have no idea what I want to do after I graduate. The studying was the hardest part of the year but the school was very helpful. I worked hard and now I'm proud of what I've got.

Lorcan Baker (18)

Lumen Christi College

Results: 3 As

I am actually taking a year out because I didn't get in to any of the four universities I applied to. I want to do medicine and applied to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cardiff and Queen's but I will re-apply again next year. This year I am going to do some voluntary work and maybe a bit of travelling.

Caitlin Power (18)

Little Flower Belfast

Results: 2 As, B

I can't believe it. I'm so shocked, it's amazing. I worked really hard and put everything in to it. I always wanted to be a teacher and I can't believe it, it's so surreal. I didn't want to open the envelope today, I was just so nervous. I am really excited now about the future – I can't wait.

Angela Kinning (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: B, 2 Cs.

I didn't think I was going to pass so I am happy but confused. It's not what I need for my first choice, but I got my second choice. I'm going to do psychology at Magee. I'm looking forward to the independence of being away and being in a completely different city. I'll maybe do a postgrad in psychology after. I want to work in clinical psychology.

Faye Troke (18)

Oakgrove Integrated College Londonderry

Results: A, B, C

I'm delighted with my results and look forward to celebrating with my friends. I've been accepted by the University of Ulster to study criminology at Jordanstown. I know this is a very specific degree but I actually haven't decided on a career yet. The subject just interests me.

Orla Stephens (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: A, 2 Cs

I feel brilliant. I could have studied harder but I'm very happy. My mum came with me to pick up my results. She is over the moon – she's more excited than I am. I've been accepted to study social psychology in Coleraine. It will be good to see what living away from home is like. I want to do social work.

Olivia Budde (19)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: 3 A*s

I'm just over the moon. I didn't expect it at all but I did a lot of work for the exams. I was so nervous, I didn't sleep all night. I'm going to St Andrews to study international relations. I've no idea what I want to do after that. My family are very proud – mum cried all morning. She cried more than me. It's been a lot of work but so worth it.

Gareth Courtney (18)

Belfast Boys’ Model

Results: 2 Distinctions, B

I'm absolutely over the moon, I can't believe it. I wasn't nervous until last night when it got a bit more real. I'm going on now to do an apprenticeship with Bombardier and I know now these grades will help me work my way up the ladder. The hardest part was all the deadlines for coursework and revising.

Megan Deery (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: A*, 2 As

I'm really happy. I was sitting on an A, B, C so it's quite an improvement and I really worked hard. I was more excited than nervous to be honest, just to see how the work had paid off. I'm going to study international politics at Sheffield University and I'm so excited. It was quite stressful, but I think I almost miss having something to work towards.

Kathryn Scott (18)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: 2 A*, A

I was so excited to open my results. I'm very ecstatic and very surprised as well. All the stress paid off. My family is delighted and very proud of me. I'm going to take a gap year and then apply for chemistry or medicine next year. I'm going to work and volunteer in something medicine or science-related and prepare for university. I was encouraged into chemistry, maths and physics by my parents and the school and I have to say I love them. I will see where my degree takes me and decide after.

Lauren Swain (18)

Little Flower Belfast

Results: A*, A, B

I was extremely nervous. I haven't slept for three days. I'm totally dying now, I can't believe it. I'm going out tonight to celebrate. I'm hoping to do criminology at Queen's University. It's a really interesting subject. I write crime stories in my free time.

Erin Keenan (18)

Little Flower Belfast

Results: 3 Cs

It’s a brilliant feeling. I didn’t expect it because I didn’t put in any effort. I thought I was going to fail. My mum was really surprised and happy. I’m going to do hair and beauty at the Titanic tech. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, that is where the art comes into it.

Victoria Bates (18)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: A*, 2 As

I was really nervous and then really happy. I was hoping to get three As. My family are all delighted. I studied veryhard, I studied a lot since January and I was up at 4am before my exams. I am going to study accountancy and finance in Cardiff University, I quite like the city and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new people. I would like eventually to work in one of the big firms, wherever it takes me in the world.

Rachel Coey (18)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: 2 A*s, A

I wasn't expecting the results at all. I did lots of work and there was a lot of stress. I'm going to Queen's University to study biomedical science and then I hope to get into research. I'm excited about going to university. The run-up to the exams was so stressful but I did work very hard.

Ian Smith (18)

Belfast Boys’ Model

Results: 2 Distinction As, C

I'm so pleased to get a C in maths. I'm so happy to get such a good result. I worked hard and put a lot of effort into it, especially the maths. I've been working on a summer scheme which has been taking my mind off the results. I want to be a teacher so I think I'm going to try and work in the school and get experience.

Dan Crawford (18)

Campbell College

Results: 2 A*s, A, B

My results are what I expected. Last night when I started to think about the results I started to get nervous but I haven't been thinking about it during the summer. I'm going to university in Bath to study maths, I'm not sure what I want to do after that yet. Bath is a good location and the course is pretty good. I'm from Singapore, and moved to Northern Ireland four years ago. It's a lot better here, a lot bigger, my school was smaller. I'm proud of what I got today and I'm excited about what is to come.

Anna Kindlon (19)

Lumen Christi College

Results: 3 As, B

I hope to study Maths at Trinity in Dublin but it will be a couple of days yet before I find out if I have a place. The fees were actually cheaper than Queen's although I know the cost of living there is higher but I have lots of relatives in Dublin so that should be good.

Emily McCall (18)

Little Flower Belfast

Results: 2 As, B

I am so happy, I'm in floods of happy tears. I haven't stopped crying. I was so nervous all summer and I wasn't able to sleep last night. I have wanted to be a teacher for years and now I've been accepted to St Mary's, I can't believe it. I'm so happy. I will specialise in religion. I worked really really hard and I just can't believe it.

Rachel Adair (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: 3 As

I'm feeling really good, I'm so happy. I didn't have a clue what I was going to do so well. I tried to block the exams out after I did them. Now I'm going to study mechanical engineering at Queen's. I'm actually really nervous about it , I plan to travel this year and then move out next year once I'm more settled. I was nervous before the results but I was on holiday and only came home last night. Everything was difficult about the A-Level year, it was a very stressful time.

Fiona Mallet (18)

Lumen Christi College

Results: 2 A*s, A

After doing a work placement at Seagate and talking to the employees there I decided to apply to Queen's to do computer science. They were really helpful to me and suggested this degree as something that would give me a broad choice of careers when I finish.

David Cusick (18)

Belfast Boys’ Model School

Results: A*, 2 Bs

I was very pleased. It's what I needed to get into the University of Ulster. My family are all happy. I started really studying a month before. I'm going to Jordanstown to do computing science. It will be all computer-based and coding so I will probably find a career in that industry. I will stay at home. It's not far away from where I will be, it's just easier. I'm doing absolutely nothing tonight, just relaxing.

Nevin Martin (18)

Belfast Boys’ Model School

Results: A*, 2 Bs

I didn't feel it last night but I was nervous this morning. I was surprised with what I got because I was expecting the three Bs I needed, so the A* was a nice surprise. I got a text from my mummy saying 'I'm starting to feel sick' so I've texted her with what I got but I haven't heard from her yet. She has probably passed out! I'm going to Queen's to study computing and information technologies. I like computers and discovering how they work and it helps I got the best grade in it. I would like to get a job in the computer route, I would be happy.

Peter Hasson (19)

Oakgrove Integrated College

Results: 2 As, D

I have already been accepted to Glasgow to study economics but I'm actually going to try and get into Queen's through clearance to study politics, philosophy and economics. If that doesn't work out, then Glasgow it is which I don't mind at all. It will be a great experience living away from home.

Rory Strapp (19)

Belfast Boys’ Model School

Results: 3 Bs

I was really pleased. I did better in maths that I though I would. I woke up at 7.30am and at 8am as soon as it would work I went straight to logging on and found out I knew I had been accepted to university. My dad is taking me out for a pub lunch to celebrate. I'm going to the University of Ulster in Jordanstown to study biomedical engineering. I have always had an interest in engineering and when I went to the open day it's the one that really jumped out at me. It's all about designing medical equipment and stem cell research; it should be good. I'm going to be staying at home. I can get a bus easily and it works out cheaper – and I don't have to pay for food!

Orla Duddy (18)

Oakgrove Integrated College

Results: A, 2 Bs

I think I probably could have done better but thankfully it is enough to get me into the University of Ulster. I'm going to study human resources management because there are so many different career paths this could take you on. Every big company needs a human resource department so there will be plenty of opportunities for work and promotion.

Briar Dickey (19)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: A, 2 Bs

I'm feeling great. I got into Glasgow University to do politics. I was really nervous because I had set a lot on getting in to the one university. There was a lot of pressure because I had set my heart on it. I worked hard every day for the exams and coursework. I'm really excited to get away to university.

Laura Magill (18)

Dominican College Belfast

Results: 3 As

I'm really shocked. I wasn't expecting it at all. I was really nervous, the night before I kept having recurring dreams that all my offers have been declined. I was up at 7am today. I'm going to Queen's University to study geography. My family are really happy. I'm looking forward to going to Queen's, I'm delighted.

Lauren McDonald (18)

Bloomfield Collegiate Belfast

Results: 3 Bs

I'm really pleased, I wasn't expecting it at all. I didn't sleep at all last night. I'm going to study biomedical science at Coleraine university and after that I hope to work in hospital labs. Everyone in my family cried when I told them the results. I'm proud of what I have achieved.

Jack Robb (18)

Belfast Boys’ Model

Results: Distinction A*, B, C

I'm very happy that I have got what I need to go to university to study computer science. I'll be going to Jordanstown. It should be interesting and a bit of a change from school. I'll probably go in to some form of programming after I graduate. This morning I started to feel the pressure. My family are very pleased with me. I'm looking forward to seeing what life outside school is like.

Sean Higgenbotham (18)

Oakgrove Integrated College

Results: 2 As, B

I got exactly what I needed to study earth science in Glasgow. I went to the Field Centre in Magilligan when I was 14 and fell in love with rocks. The fees are £9,000 a year and that is a worry but this was the only university that does this degree.

Esther Fleck (18)

Cambridge House Grammar School (Ballymena)

Results: A*, 3 As

I'm really chuffed with my results and I'd like to thank all the teachers who helped me achieve my grades. I've been a offered a full-time post with accountancy firm Stevenson and Wilson Chartered Accountants and will be training to be an accountant technician.

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