Ballyclare High School principal David Knox has hailed his pupils’ A-grade performances – both in and out of the classroom.
Speaking during the school’s prize-giving ceremony last week, Mr Knox said: “Last year was an extraordinary year for the school with our girls and boys senior teams in our main winter sports reaching the finals of their Cup Competitions.
“At Lisnagarvey Hockey Club our 1st X1 girls hockey team were presented with the Cup for the first time in the history of Ballyclare High School by beating Lurgan College, the Cup holders, and Irish school girl Champions.
“We were privileged after that historical achievement to host the all Ireland tournament for the Kate Russell trophy at which the girls won silver medals after playing some more very impressive hockey.
“At Ravenhill in the Schools’ Cup our boys played in the final for the first time in 39 years. Unfortunately they did not bring home the trophy on that occasion, but I think they acquitted themselves well in very windy conditions and fought skilfully and bravely against a talented Methodist College side.
“Although I have begun with sport, our main purpose in this school is to perform academically. That is the key to open the doors of opportunity for our pupils and we must never forget that.
“Congratulations to Laura Douglas who attained two grade A*s and two As at A level, Daniel Allen who attained one A* and three As, Laura Shannon who attained one A* and three As and Scott Barr who attained four As.
“Eighty-nine per cent of the grades at A level were A* to C, a very creditable performance overall from Year 14. At AS level two girls, our Head Girl Esther McNeil and Kathryn Orr, both attained 5 grade As. A further 40 pupils managed to achieve 3 grade As or more.
“At GCSE Victoria White attained 10A* grades and an A* in Short course Religious Studies and Jasmine Wilson attained 9 A* grades and an A* in Short Course Religious Studies.
“Forty pupils attained 8A*/A grades or better and overall 42% of the grades at GCSE were A* or A.
“Thanks to the Old Ballyclarians for their generosity in supporting our Annual Prize Distribution. And may I once again thank the members of the Parent Teacher Association for their support for the School over the past year.
“Last year again our young scientists enjoyed success. A Year 10 team – Jessica Donaldson, Blake Fowler, Matthew Mawhinney, Rebekah McNeil, Megan McWhirter and Adam Moore – won the prize for best project in the Northern Ireland heat of the First Lego League.
“Two teams competed in this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology competition held at the RDS in Dublin. Rebekah McNeil and Megan McWhirter won the award for the best project from Northern Ireland for their research on alternatives to using crude oil in printer ink.
“Lisa Patterson and Aimee Russell won the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Award for their project on ‘Music through Aluminium Foil’.
“Five Year 13 pupils – Amy Campbell, Luke Holmes, Rory Longwell, Esther McNeill and Matthew McIlrath – took part in a Sentinus Team Research and Development project with the Nanotechnology and integrated Biomedical Engineering Centre at the University of Ulster.
“All five pupils were awarded Creativity in Science and Technology gold awards from the British Science Association.
“Amy Campbell and Esther McNeill entered their project in the Sentinus Young Innovators Competition alongside Aimee Russell and Lisa Patterson’s project.
“Both teams were selected to represent Northern Ireland at the National Science and Engineering competition held in London in March. Lisa and Aimee were awarded CREST silver awards.”