Regent House Grammar School pupils Hannah and Katie Derrick may have been taking different AS Level subjects, but as twins you just knew they’d end up being awarded the same set of grades.
The sisters were among hundreds turning up at the Co Down school yesterday to find out what their futures held, and after a year of uncertainty things finally became a little more certain.
“Three A grades and I’m very happy with that,” said Katie.
“I’m the same and I’m very happy with that too!” said Hannah.
While Katie had ambitions to follow a path in social work in Edinburgh, Hannah is eyeing up law, though both will wait a year before making their minds up.
“We’ll not be going to the same university,” said Hannah. “We have to be different somehow!”
For head boy Matthew Murray it was a set of results to savour and university is his next port of call.
“Two A*s and an A in English, Politics and German. All being well I’m off to do law at Queen’s,” he said. He told anyone who thought this year’s students had an easy time with no formal exams to think again.
“Our internal assessments were very thorough,” he said. “We definitely did work hard for this, probably more than usual to get the grades we’ve managed to get. I can understand other people who weren’t going through this saying we didn’t have exams, but believe me, we had to work.
“I wouldn’t want to go through it all again, but now I can look forward to a new challenge.”
Head girl at Regent House, Charlotte Maxwell, was holding her A* and A grades in Chemistry, Biology and Maths knowing she was now heading to Liverpool to study Medicine.
“It’s scary how fast everything has gone this year and I can’t believe I’m standing here with the results I need to go on to university and do what I really want to do,” she said.
“All our teachers put so much work into helping us and I hope we’ve shown them that we were really putting in the effort too.”
There were smiles too for Bethany Burrows.
“I go what I needed in Geography, PE and Biology. I’m off to Ulster University to study Sports Science,” she said.
“It was a bit unpredictable without exams. You didn’t really know how you were standing throughout the year, but I’m really happy how it has turned out for me."
Aimee Adams is also off to Ulster University to follow her friend in taking a degree in Sports Science.
“I’m just so glad it’s all over,” she said. “For such a long time we didn’t know what to expect, but seeing everyone so happy today is just brilliant.”
Charlotte Caughey is now off to Stranmillis College with ambitions to become a primary school teacher.
“We all worked so hard for this,” she said.
For principal Michael Carville the day was a fitting celebration to end the year of uncertainty.
“Our students have all worked very hard and deserve to be happy with the results,” he said.
“Some of them are now going off to some very exciting university places and that’s how it should be. We’re really proud of them. They have some wonderful opportunities now.
“The staff here have worked hard under challenging circumstances and I believed the students here have got what they deserved after some very hard work.
“Hopefully next year things will be a little more normal and students will get to do more of the nice things again, the trips, the sport, drama and music. But they deserve to celebrate today as for most of them it’s been a long and difficult two years.”