Triumph amidst challenges as Gibraltar College celebrates A-Level results day
Gibraltar College students achieved successes on A-level results day, with Principal Michelle Soiza highlighting the unique learning environment for the year’s students.
Ms Soiza said students and staff have been quite concerned after exam regulators announced fewer top grades, but on Thursday they were delighted with the results.
“We have managed to hit the high grades,” she said.
“The distinction stars, the As, the high grades. Which is excellent for our students and we have maintained from last year the 100% pass rate that we achieved last year for most of the subjects.”
“Two of them we have improved on from last year and two there has been a dip,” she added attributing this to expectations and trends in certain subjects, offering a pragmatic perspective.
She added students learn about research skills, presentation skills, and how to reference, which are crucial for both academic and life success.
“It is a lot of interaction and working together because we need to work together with the teachers we need to work together with colleagues and then that way they scaffold and they learn one, and there is improvement there,” she said.
She added the College has seen personal success stories this year, with the achievements being more than just a letter on a page.
“There has been perseverance, they have overcome struggles,” she said.
“They've actually improved on what they aimed for or their focus perhaps when they started with us.”
“I am extremely proud of the students and I need to give credit to the teachers as well.”
“Today is a very it's a very rewarding day for teachers as well. Apart from the obvious excitement that is quite infectious and we get to deal with students who are like overjoyed and extremely thrilled about the next the next steps.”
“It's very rewarding for us and we really enjoy this day as well.”
“Obviously there's some disappointments but there's also a learning experience for them as well.”
“So everything that we experienced is a learning opportunity.”
She added most students were pleased, although disappointments did surface and the students should be proud of their results despite never before sitting formal exams.
“We have about 300 coming in from Bayside and Westside who have opted for new subjects with us and they have been studying these new subjects, and they haven't really sat a GCSE before. So really, their journey has been remarkable because they have gone from zero up to A-Level standard,” she said.
“And they've done really, really well.”
“It is a good day, and there is always a place for statistics even though we look at individual performance and individual improvement and that is where we find the value is as educators but the statistics also has as a good place known for analysis and to add for improvement as well. And that is what we use it for. We always use it for improvement.”
William Martinez, an A-Level student, shared how he persevered in his studies after he was first predicted an E grade in his subject ‘Travel and Tourism’.
He recalled being informed that the predicted E grade was considered generous.
"My mindset changed within seconds,” he said.
He added: “It was a coursework based subject, which I guess is not my strong point and due to personal issues, it wasn't going too well. So therefore, it left me in a really sticky position.”
“It was a really humbling experience to me. Because, I consider myself to be a natural talent when it comes to school to a certain extent. I feel like I don't need to do too much.”
“So receiving a ‘U’ [in AS level] is a very humbling experience, but it did help me put my head down and push myself to really achieve a C, which I'm extremely proud of.”
In the subject of travel and tourism an AS is 50% of the overall grade.
“So finding out the you're getting a U for 50% of your overall grade is an instant scare,” he said.
“I repeated my AS exam, I was unable to repeat my coursework. So between my AS exams and my two A-Level exams I was able to push myself to a C.”
He also attained a B in sociology and a C in psychology.
With these results he will be going to the University of Central Lancashire to study psychology with psychotherapy and counselling.
“I do hope to go into my masters and I hope to make a big I make an influence or a change in Gibraltar’s mental health,” he said.
Mr Martinez had a message for students who will be studying for their A levels this September.
“Do not give up,” he said.
“I find A-Levels to be the hardest possible stage in your academic life. So I think that for the people who haven't done as good as they've hoped to you shouldn't put yourself down.”
“You should be proud of yourself nevertheless because these two years are probably they put such a strain on you mentally that you should be proud of yourself for making it through these two years.”
“For the people who are going into the A-Levels now, no matter how hard it may seem, just do not give up. Because I was on the verge of giving up when I got told that I was going to be failing one of my A-Levels, and I put my head down and I was in a dark place for two months, but it's so worth it if you just put your mind to it.”
Christopher McKay’s achieved a B in Spanish, C in psychology and a C in sociology and was surrounded by his cheering family when he received his results.
"It has been quite nerve-wracking but a relief when you get them and you've seen that you've done well," he said.
“I didn't know what to expect to be honest because some exams and some subjects went better, some went worse.”
“In the case of sociology, one exam went really well and the third exam had something left to be desired. So I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I'm really happy with the outcome overall.”
He will now study nutrition at Nottingham Trent University.
Karime Acharka attained grades C and D in religious studies and applied business.
“it is enough to go to university to study business management,” he said.
“I studied for months so I expected at least this much.”
He will now leave for Kingston University to study business management.
His message to future students is “you should never back down, you should never give up.”