Hartlepool's High Tunstall College of Science is today celebrating improved GCSE results despite 'unprecedented' changes to the exams.
Students achieved more of the highest possible grades compared to the old equivalent A* with more pupils getting standard and strong passes.
Most GCSE subjects this year are graded from 1 to 9 with 1 being the lowest and 9 the highest.
Headteacher Mark Tilling said: "We are extremely proud of all our students' performances in this year's GCSE examinations.
"Once again it means that they are prepared to move on to their next destination whether it be employment, education or training.
"Well done and good luck everyone."
Head girl Niamh Hogan, 16, performed well despite suffering the heartache of losing her dad last December.
Ian Hogan, 57, was working away in China when he had a heart attack.
Niamh, who lives at Bishop Cuthbert, bravely battled through to gain a 7 in history, 6s in English language, literature and one science, and 5s in another science, computer science and maths.
She said about the loss of her dad: "It was tough. It impacted me a lot but I got through it.
"I only restarted preparing for my exams in March. I think my dad would be very proud. I got everything I needed to get into my college course."
Niamh hopes to become a primary school teacher and will take her A-levels at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
Mr Tilling added: "She has done marvellously well to concentrate on her work and we are very proud of her.
"It is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone but she bounced back with the support of her family and staff."
The Elwick Road college said the new GCSEs saw increased curriculum demands and described the changes as unprecedented in recent educational history.
Its performance in high performing subjects improved in 9-1 grades in comparison to A* to C.
Among the college's other great results were Daniel Liddell, 16, who said he was surprised to get seven top 9 passes, plus one A*, one 8 and one 7.
"It's just unbelievable," he said. "It is better than I was expecting in computing, future maths and German."
Ellie Crossman, 16, from Throston, was delighted with six 9s, three 8s and an A in further maths.
"I'm really happy," she said. "The hard work paid off."
Also celebrating was Belal El-Mashharaui, 17, whose results included 9s in three science exams and A* in Arabic and further maths.
Ellie Griffiths, 16, of Park Road, was nervous before opening her envelope to find she got four grade 9s, one 8, three 7s, one 5 and an A*.
And 16-year-old Madeleine Ryder, from Hart, who got one 9, two 8s, four 7s and a 6, was joined by her proud parents Amanda and Paul Ryder
She said: "I feel good. This morning I was so scared. I didn't sleep last night."
Mum Amanda said: "We're so proud. The support she has had from the school this year has been superb."