Anticipation filled rooms in Havant and Waterlooville as students turned out bright and early, on one of the most important days in the educational calendar, to open their A-level results.
Across three campuses there were cheers, sighs of relief and tears of joy, as the youngsters opened envelopes with their names on, surrounded by teachers and members of their families.
Another year of success has been welcomed by staff at Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form, and the newly-established Havant and South Downs College (HSDC).
Following the merger of Havant Sixth Form College and South Downs College earlier this year, HSDC has released its 2017 results as one unified institution.
Students studying at both the Havant and Waterlooville campuses achieved an A* to E pass rate of 98 per cent, with A* to B results at 43 per cent.
Principal Mike Gaston is delighted the college has achieved its first set of ‘outstanding’ results as a united college, following national changes to A-levels this year.
He said: ‘Based on our results, the journey towards HSDC’s vision of excellence for the future is stronger than ever – two campuses, one college and one incredible journey for our students.
‘I want to say a big congratulations to all of them for their tremendous hard work and determination, and to our staff for their dedication and commitment to excellence.
‘I’m absolutely delighted with the outstanding results achieved and this year marks the first of many successful years for HSDC, with many of our students going on to top universities.’
Among those collecting their results at HSDC’s Havant campus was 18-year-old Tahir Kanani.
After picking up three A*s in biology, French and Spanish, plus an A in chemistry, he will now read medicine at Imperial College London.
Tahir said: ‘I’m absolutely ecstatic – I can’t wait to experience the hustle and bustle of London.’
Harry Hawkins, 18 and also from the Havant campus, learned he had exceeded his expectation of three C grades.
After scoring an A in economics, a B in business and a C in computer science, he will now weigh up his university options.
He said: ‘I’m really happy, I was expecting to get lower grades than I did.
‘I was going to go to Bournemouth University to study computer science, but I think I’ll see if there’s anything else out there for me, since I did better than I thought.’
At the HSDC Waterlooville campus 18-year-old James Rayner from Horndean was jumping in the air when he discovered he’d smashed his 2016 results by ‘knuckling down and concentrating’.
He said: ‘I studied economics, maths and accounts and needed one A and two Bs to get into the University of Sussex to study maths and finance.
‘I thought I might be one or two grades off because last year I got two Bs and one D, so I’m really happy with the jump I’ve made.
‘In my first year I didn’t concentrate but in my second I knuckled down and worked hard. I could not be happier!’.
At Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form in Waterlooville, 71 per cent of A-level grades achieved were A* to C – with five students gaining places at Oxbridge universities. The number of A and A* grades has risen to 19 per cent, compared with 15.5 per cent last year.
Headteacher Matthew Quinn said the results are a fitting tribute to his sixth form team. He said: ‘I’m delighted with this year’s success.
‘Sixteen students have been offered unconditional university offers – this is unprecedented.’
Among the institution’s high achievers is 18-year-old Jack Silvester, who received four A*s in fine art, English literature, religious studies and history.
He will attend the University of Cambridge to read history of art and said: ‘I’m relieved.
‘I prepared myself to go through the university clearing process, but the fact I know I’m able to study something I love, at a place like Cambridge, is just amazing.’
Leia Courtney-Wells, 19, was overjoyed after getting three Cs in chemistry, biology, and government and politics.
She can begin her foundation degree in veterinary nursing at the Royal Veterinary College in London.
As Leia opened her results, she said: ‘My heart is racing – these grades are exactly what I needed.
‘Hopefully I’ll be a vet in six years’ time!’.