In pictures: Coleraine Grammar School Prize Day

Coleraine Grammar School held its annual prize day on Friday, with BBC broadcaster and former Coleraine Inst pupil Mark Carruthers as guest speaker.

Headmaster Dr Carruthers said it had been three years since the last prize day and began by remembering two pupils and one former pupil who had tragically passed away in that time.

He said: “Since we last gathered here in 2019, two pupils and one former pupil have tragically passed away.

“Lewis Fleming was full of life and energy, had a great love of the outdoors, sense of fun and a ready smile.

“Lewis contributed a lot to our school in four years, in rugby, athletics and especially swimming. He lost his life in a tragic accident in August 2020. The cup in his memory, being awarded for the second time today, recognises pupils who have benefitted from the assistance of our learning support staff, just as Lewis did.

“Sophie Mathewson passed away in April 2021 following a long illness and would have been in Upper 6th at that time along with her twin sister and then Head Girl, Diana.

“Sophie enjoyed her learning inside the classroom, achieving an excellent set of GCSE grades. She also pursued many extra-curricular interests including music, hockey, netball, ballet and Duke of Edinburgh. She was known amongst her friendship and peer group for being a kind, positive and “big hearted” person.

“Mac O’Neill was a talented rugby player and quite a character. He left school in June 2016 and died in a car accident in January 2021 aged just 23.

“Mac enjoyed rugby, friendship and fun, but he worked hard too, and I recall his family and teachers being delighted with his GCSE results and his sixth form place at school.

“We remember Lewis, Sophie and Mac, their families and friends, each a special and unique pupil of our school.”

Dr Carruthers paid tribute to the whole school community for working together during the Covid pandemic.

“We returned to more traditional exams this year with some relief, but also a great sense of anxiety because the pupils, particularly Upper Sixth, had no experience of formal public exams, and in addition we did not have an accurate idea of the standard at which the exams would be assessed.

“The expectation was that overall results would be somewhere between the last exams in 2019 and the teacher grades of 2021, and we were delighted with our outcomes in August which were well ahead of the halfway mark between the two years, achieving the school’s best ever results.

“This year’s A Level results are very significant because the 2022 A Level cohort is the first to complete their school careers as pupils of Coleraine Grammar School since we opened in 2015 and they entered Year 8.

At A-Level, 72 pupils achieved at least one A grade and 30 pupils gained at least one A*. 40 pupils received all A* or A grades in their subjects, and a further fourteen pupils achieved at least 2A* grades. There were many other high achievers with almost everyone securing their course of choice. In the GCSE examinations, 92% of pupils achieved at least 7A*-C grades in full course GCSEs including English and Maths.”

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