DOZENS of successful students returned to college to pick up awards at an emotional presentation evening.
The event at Hartlepool Sixth Form College included a minute’s silence in joint memory of a tragic teacher and a former student.
Geography teacher James Gibson, 28, from Jarrow, died from injuries after he was hit twice by a car in Grange Road, Hartlepool, a year ago today.
Former student James Houghton, 19, from the Fens area of Hartlepool, collapsed and died at the Leeds Festival in August.
Acting college principal Carole Horseman led the tribute and told the audience: “It is right that we acknowledge their contribution to the college, their friendship and their love of life and that we take a few moments to reflect on how their lives touched ours and to appreciate what their families must be feeling in this run up to Christmas.”
A new award in memory of Mr Gibson, the James Gibson Memorial Award for Geography, has been created as a tribute to the “much loved teacher”.
It is now one of 16 special awards made by the college every year to former pupils.
Dozens of other students also received their exam certificates at a packed ceremony attended by staff, governors and parents.
Mrs Horseman praised A-level candidates for their college record-breaking 99.8 per cent pass rate and said vocational results were also “outstanding”.
She also thanked staff for their efforts and added: “Without their determination to provide a high quality educational experience for students we wouldn’t be here celebrating your outstanding results.”
Awards were handed out by Alan White, the former head of the town’s Manor College of Technology, who is also a ex-governor at the sixth form college and a former vice-chairman of its corporation.
Mr White said he was “staggered and awe-struck by the youngsters across this stage this evening” and added: “This is an extraordinarily special sixth form college.
“People do not appreciate it enough and it is certainly known thoughout the country for its achievements.”
Music was provided by students Nick Dixon, Elena Larkin and Connor Hodgson.
Not all the special award winners were at the ceremony and our photos show all of those who were able to attend.