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Exam results 2021: ‘We could either lie down to it or keep fighting’ – Aberdeen pupils thrive despite pandemic

Lily Macdonald celebrates with her mum Emma Davidson after recieving a call to tell her she been accepted into university.
Lily Macdonald celebrates with her mum Emma Davidson after recieving a call to tell her she been accepted into university.

An Aberdeen schoolgirl has said her fellow youngsters had to “keep fighting” when they returned to the classroom as they celebrated academic success.

The drama unfolded live for Lily MacDonald as she took a call to tell her she had got into university in front of reporters.

She will now go to Aberdeen University to study politics and international relations.

The 17-year-old secured four A grades in modern studies, physics, music and English to land a slot at the 526-year-old institution.

Like the majority of pupils, Lily’s school year at Hazlehead Academy was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic meaning she faced online learning.

Lily Macdonald found out she had been accepted into Aberdeen University during a council press event.

She said they had no option when it came to being at home and she was left with a stark choice with her future at stake.

Lily said: “It was definitely difficult adjusting to it to begin with but the teachers really helped by giving us extra support and doing online work as well.

“We all helped each out as a year group as well and helped to catch up on things we had maybe missed through online learning.

“We didn’t really have a choice.  We could either lie down to it or keep fighting and I think the vast majority of us kept fighting and with the support of the teachers it was a lot easier to do.

“It has been a really hard year for everyone but the teachers have been phenomenal and I am absolutely delighted to get the grades I needed to get into university.”

Pupils received their official Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) results this morning with a flurry of text messages and emails coming through.

Teachers determined pupils’ results based on assessments conducted in school, and their grades have been submitted to the SQA.

Another Hazlehead Academy youngster with plenty of reasons to be cheerful is Anya Richards.

The 15-year-old plans to stay on at school and move into fifth-year with straight As at National 5 level in maths, English, PE, geography, biology and art.

Anya said: “I wasn’t really expecting it because it’s my first year of getting results and doing exams so I wasn’t sure how I would handle it but I’m very happy with how I did.

” You had a make a choice if you wanted to fight for your grades or just completely dismiss it but I don’t think that is the smartest choice so I decided to fight.”

Aberdeen Grammer pupils Marcus Burns, Holly Henry and Findlay Renton.

Online learning ‘prepared us for future’

Aberdeen Grammar School pupil Holly Hendry was also celebrating SQA results day success after securing the grades they needed to move onto into further and higher education.

Holly begins her marine biology course at Glasgow University in a matter of weeks after gaining two Bs in maths and biology at advanced higher level.

She said the move away from online learning and returning to the classroom actually helped prepare her for her move to higher education.

Holly said: “It was challenging to say the least but it was almost a blessing in disguise because it has prepared us for anything that happened in the future.

“It made us more prepared for university as well as it made an independent year of learning.

“When you are at home having to listen to a Zoom meeting it is difficult to keep up focus but when you are in the classroom you are more focused.

“I was glad to be back in school.”

Northfield Academy pupils Emma Ross and Isabella Webster.

Emma Ross is moving on from Northfield Academy to study human resource management at Robert Gordon University.

She secured two A grades and three Bs in higher biology, history and religious, moral and philosophical studies, and geography and media studies at National 5.

Emma, 17, said: “After starting online it was a bit here and there but after going back to school and getting learning it was better.

“I prefer in school learning because at home I could just sit but in school I can get my head down.”

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