STUDENTS had extra reason to celebrate gaining great grades in their A-levels after being told they could get discounted or free meals at a number of restaurants.
But that was only a mere distraction from making the most of what they had done properly, going on the glittering university careers before achievements.
Ashton Sixth Form College was awash with happy people as an impressive set of grades was revealed on Thursday, August 17.
It was also full of a steely determination to not let what they had done pass them by.
Marina Bote, who lives in Ashton, achieved As in Spanish and biology and a B in geography, earning her a place at Leeds University where she will study Spanish and Chinese.
And she certainly has high ambitions of where she would like to end up.
“I’ve got a few versions of what Id eventually like to do,” said Marina, who lived in Japan for 10 years and whose father hails from the Far Eastern country.
“I’m thinking either at the United Nations or with MI6 but I’m also equally interested in tourism.
“Before coming here, I lived about 45 minutes outside Tokyo but y time at Ashton Sixth Form was fun, my teachers were amazing.
“My biology teacher helped me go from an E to an A in a year and my Spanish teacher was brilliant.
“And it was a massive change going straight from year 10 to college.”
That feeling was repeated several times as students who did not sit GCSEs toasted their first exam experience.
Iman Izadyar, of Denton, who got an unexpected B in maths, C in physics and C in computer science, added as he looks to study at Manchester Metropolitan University with a view to a career in computer coding: “Not having done GCSEs properly, it was really different having to do exams.
“I wasn’t used to it really and preparing myself was a bit of a rush. I had to learn to revise like I would’ve done for GCSEs.
“I was up all night watching videos of between 30 minutes and an hour to refresh my memory but it was fun to learn.”
Sam Tilbrook, whose father David is a Tameside councillor in Stalybridge, achieved As in maths and further maths, B in the EPQ and C in geography.
That has earned him a place at Nottingham University, where he will study maths with a view to then doing a PGCE and becoming a teacher.
“Ideally, I’d like to become a maths teacher,” Sam said. “Ideally at a college but I’m also considering becoming a university lecturer.
“College environment is very different but I absolutely loved it. The lesson s were always very challenging and then I had extra time in which I could do extra work.
“It was about finding a balance with free periods. Sometimes it was doing extra work, other times it was just talking with friend.
“I think that helped a lot.”
Vernon Allott, of Hyde, made Cambridge University, becoming one of four students to achieve an Oxbridge place, after earning, two A*s and two As in biology, physics, chemistry and maths, as well as an A* in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
His brothers, Vincent and Victor, also scored highly when they did their A-levels and he paid tribute to the backing of college staff.
He said: “Ashton Sixth Form was brilliant, everyone was really supportive.
“It took a lot of hard work but the teachers were always there. If you wanted to put in the effort, they were there to help.
“And Oxford may be good, but Cambridge is better.”
The success stories kept on coming as Lucy Pimlott, of Hyde, gained As in politics and geography and B in history.
And her aims are wider than Tameside as she heads to Warwick to study politics, international studies and global sustainable development.
“I’ve aways been passionate about development projects,” she said. “How people in poorer countries can have a good quality of life.
“So I’d like to work in that area and my degree would help – but I was quite nervous when I woke up!
“My family was really anticipating the results , they were delighted when I got them.”
And Ben Williamson, a former pupil of West Hill School in his hometown of Stalybridge, secured A* in maths, As in further maths, computer science and a B in physics.
As he heads to York University to study maths and computer science, he may end up being part of something much bigger.
He said: “I can’t wait to go to university and I’ve always had an interest in computer science and technology.
“I can see how it’s developing in real life situations and I can’t wait to apply that. One of my key interests is artificial intelligence and I’m hoping to branch out into that in my degree.
“Having not done my GCSEs, I put in lots of revision for these, even doing past exams which I found very helpful.
“And I really found the help of teachers and staff assisted me in getting my grades.”
Madison King, a former pupil of Dukinfield’s All Saint Catholic College who is involved with Stalybridge Celtic Girl’s Under-15s, as well as other teams, was awarded a D*A* in Public Services and the EPQ and is focused on a career in the police – she will study professional policing at Salford University.
She said: “I worked hard for these grades after people consistently told me I’d never get anywhere.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always been really inspired by the police.”