• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

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Six Carmel College students head to medical school after being inspired by the pandemic

STRAIGHT As proved to be just what the doctor ordered as five students secured top university places to study medicine at a time of a chronic national shortage of clinicians.

Students at Carmel College, Darlington, which is part of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, were so moved by their experiences of the COVID pandemic they decided to study medicine at Cambridge, Newcastle, Glasgow, Sunderland and York universities.

“I love science and want to help people so medicine was the only career I could see myself going into,” said Joshua Sebastine, 18, who secured four A*s and A in his EPQ on medicine.

He will now read medicine at Churchill College, Cambridge University, hoping one day to become a surgeon.

“Cambridge and Oxford are the best and after visiting Cambridge I knew it was for me,” he said. “After not taking the GCSE exams two years ago it did feel weird. It was like winning the prize without doing the competition so the A Level results feel extra special.”

For Katie Smith, 18, what she witnessed during the pandemic inspired her to study medicine, which she will now do at York University thanks to her grades of A, A, B.

“It was hard to see how much pressure the pandemic put the NHS under particularly as there has always been a shortage of people in that sector,” she said.

“But at the same time the pandemic highlighted how the community can pull together during difficult times. Not only did health staff work exceptionally hard but the public responded with the weekly doorstep applause and fundraising which was great to see.

“I have always had a passion to help people. I’m looking forward to experiencing various aspects of medicine but also am interested in surgery following an amazing placement at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. Science and advances in technology are incredible and there are now so many ways they can help people.”

Another student determined to help people is Nicole Lewis, 18, whose grades of A*, A, A, secured her a place at Newcastle University to study medicine. “I think so many Carmel College students are caring because the school nurtures this nature in us, encouraging us to volunteer and be empathetic,” she said.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to get into medical school especially at a time when there is such a shortage of doctors. I’m looking forward to exploring opportunities in A&E and general practice.”

Disease has always fascinated Callum Harrison, possibly because his mother and grandfather are both doctors.

The 18-year-old secured four A*s and a place to read natural sciences at Churchill College, Cambridge, a vital stepping stone to pursue his prospective career in medical research.

“When COVID struck it gave me an insight into the fact that we need some good minds on the frontline,” said Callum, who volunteered to help as an administrator in the vaccine rollout. “I am so happy to be going to Cambridge.”

Steve Robins will also be following in family footsteps as his mother is a nurse. “I have grown up seeing what my mum does which has inspired me to do something in health care,” said the 18-year-old, who gained an A* and two As to read medicine at Sunderland University.

“I’ve done a lot of work experience at GP practices and hospitals and appreciate it is a rewarding career and perfect for me. Then we have had a pandemic on top of everything which shows the importance of medicine. I’m now looking at orthopaedic surgery which is vital given that we have an ageing population.”

Isabelle Bryant, 18, secured two A*s and an A to also read medicine at Glasgow University.

For Chloe Lubuku, her three A*s will allow her to study in more depth the native language of her father, who is from French-speaking Congo. The 18-year-old gained full marks in her French speaking paper and will now read law with French at Bristol University. “There are so many opportunities in law as it affects every aspect of our lives,” she said.

Carmel College principal Mel Kane said: “It’s so heart-warming to see so many of our young people joining a caring profession. Two years ago these students missed out on taking their GCSE exams and it is clear they had something to prove when sitting their A Levels.

“Their empathy, resilience and determination to succeed at this higher level is testament to the sheer hard work and dedication of an excellent cohort with the unstinting support of our dedicated teachers. I am so happy for all the students, parents and teachers and their achievements”

Overall, Carmel College results were well above the national average with  40 per cent A*/A and 66 per cent A*-B.

Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust chief executive Mike Shorten added: “The return to a ‘normal’ exam system was always going to be met with a sense of trepidation, but we are delighted that the students achieved such fantastic results, which were even better than the years before the pandemic.

“We are thrilled the young people will take away fantastic results, memories and friendships onto the next stage in their life. The results are a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of the teachers and senior leaders over the past two years and the brilliant resilience of the young people across Bishop Hogarth Trust.”