STUDENTS in the upper Calder Valley have been celebrating their achievements over the past 12 months.
Last year’s GCSE and A level students at Calder High and Todmorden High School returned for the annual presentation evenings and to pick up a range of special awards.
Teachers praised the students for their efforts and wished them all the best for the future.
Mike Howard, director of post 16 learning at Calder High School, said it was an exceptional year group.
“There were a vibrant, enthusiastic and inquisitive group of young people who approached everything with a real sense of fun,” Mr Howard said.
“They embraced every opportunity.”
Calder High School students achieved a 97 per cent pass rate at A2 and level three BTEC, with more than a third of the marks being top grades.
Mr Howard highlighted “wonderful” performances in drama, “fantastic” literary work produced wth the Arvon Foundation, and “phenomenal” fundraising to help establish a library at Bukaya Primary School in Kampala, Uganda.
Other highlights included the school’s footballers becoming Calderdale under-19 champions and a group of students having the opportunity to debate with Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker.
Seventy-three per cent of students progressed to further or higher education.
“We wish them all the success as they pursue their future aspirations, hope that they are proud of the foundations they have laid at Calder High and that they have happy memories of their time here,” Mr Howard said.
“We are proud and have such happy memories of working with them.”
Guest speaker John Sills congratulated all the prize winners.
“As a teacher much involved in sixth form work in recent years, every year the demands on staff are ratcheted up and this gets passed on to students, so I think the present achievements are always better than the year before - and they are - so fantastically well done,” he said.
Todmorden High School students who completed their exams in summer 2012 were invited, with their parents, to their presentation evening at Todmorden Town Hall, attended by staff, governors and special guests including Mayor of Todmorden Coun Abid Hussain.
In 2012, the GCSE students recorded the highest ever results in the school’s history and progression into the sixth form continues to grow due to this increased success.
A level students achieved a 98 per cent pass rate with almost half of those students achieving an A* to B grade.
Learning leader Melissa Wells thanked and congratulated students, parents and staff at the high school for their hard work and their achievements.
More students than ever before applied to university and gained places.
Mrs Wells said: “This was down to sheer determination and hard work, but also the enrichment activities with which our sixth form students have become involved.”
In addition to receiving their exam certificates, a number of students were given special awards for their achievements both academically and outside the classroom.
High achievement awards were presented to 38 GCSE and A level students across nine subject areas for their outstanding performances in the summer 2012 exams.
Zaineb Ali won the Open University Award after being commended by the OU for the quality of her work.
Lauren George was presented with the Jack Bednall Memorial Award for Art.
Lauren was the senior school leader for art and won a scholarship to study at John Moores University, where she is now an ambassador for the arts.
Joel Green was awarded the Hudson Trophy for Outstanding Performance in Humanities for his achievements in A Level sociology and history.
He also won the Rotary Award for service above self after beginning training as a volunteer for the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team.
Harriet Harbidge was awarded the Words and Pictures Achievement in English Award for outstanding work in her English and media A levels.
Bradley Shackleton was awarded the Hilary Myers Care for the Environment Award for his work as senior school leader for the go green group.
As part of this role, he organised recycling in the school and was a student director on the board of Incredible Edible Todmorden Ltd.