Darlington College student Luca Cara is celebrating after gaining a BTEC triple distinction star, the equivalent of three A levels, in applied science.
Despite being turned down by two other further education colleges, Luca,18, of Eaglescliffe, has exceeded all expectations by passing 18 of his 19 coursework modules with distinction.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Luca. “Darlington College gave me a chance and in doing so I hope that I have repaid their faith in me.”
Despite gaining five passes at GCSE, Luca’s grades saw him struggle to gain a college place after leaving school to further his goal of studying forensic science.
“I was told that I would find it too hard and that I would struggle to complete the course,” he said.
“It really knocked my confidence a lot but then, by chance, I saw that Darlington College was offering a course in BTEC applied science, which was exactly what I wanted to do.
“I applied, and after an interview with the course tutor I was offered a place on condition that I re-sat my maths GCSE.”
Determined to achieve the best grades possible, Luca studied hard and met all of his deadlines.
“I really surprised myself,” he said. “I just got my head down and made sure that I did the best I could do and with the help and support from my tutors I have surpassed what I even thought I was capable of.
“I feel like waving my certificates at the people who didn’t have faith in me and saying ‘look, someone believed in me and I did it’.”
Luca has now been offered places at both Liverpool John Moore University and the University of Dundee. He plans to travel to Dundee in September to start a degree in forensic anthropology.
“I’m so pleased that I came to Darlington College,” he added. “The course was intense but I’ve learned so much and gained so many more skills.
“I knew when I left school that I wanted to study forensic science and now I have the opportunity and qualifications to do just that.”