Ukrainian twins defy war worries to get top A-level grades at Harrogate school

Sofiia and Diana Shypovych from Cherkasy in Central Ukraine achieved A*A*A* and A*A*A respectively in their A-levels after studying at Harrogate Ladies College. Credit: Harrogate Ladies College

Two twin sisters from Ukraine are celebrating getting top A-level results despite completing their exams as they feared for the safety of their friends and family at home.

Diana and Sofiia Shypovych from Cherkasy in Central Ukraine achieved A*A*A* and A*A*A respectively in their A-levels after studying at Harrogate Ladies College.

The girls joined the North Yorkshire school in September 2021 as boarding pupils leaving behind their parents in Ukraine. Six months later, Russia launched their invasion and they found themselves isolated and unable to return home to their family.

They studied for their A-levels amid ongoing fears for the safety of their family, their friends and the future of their country but defied the war to achieve top results.

The girls have now returned home to be back with their parents but are looking forward to their next adventure at university.

“I am so happy about my results – and I am so grateful to my school for supporting me through the last two years," Sofiia said. "It was difficult being away from my family, but the school really helped me."

“University will be our next exciting chapter," Diana added. "Despite everything that has been happening in Ukraine, school has given me and my sister the confidence to mature into independent adults."

The girls ran Ukraine fundraising campaigns while in Harrogate and also helped families on the Homes for Ukraine scheme settle into the community.

Speaking from Ukraine, the girls’ mother Iana Shypovych said she was thrilled by their results.

Sofiia and Diana have returned to Ukraine to celebrate their achievement and are now looking forward to University. Credit: Harrogate Ladies’ College

She said: “When our then 16-year-old daughters left Ukraine to study in Harrogate we were a little worried about how they would adapt to living so far away from home, but our concerns never came true.

"When the war broke out we were truly grateful that they were safe and being cared for. They were so warmly welcomed and supported by the school staff and the people of Harrogate.”

The school achieved 41% A*-A grades across the board, a 17% increase on the comparable figures from 2019.

School principal Sylvia Brett said: "We’re incredibly proud of all of our pupils, but Sofiia and Diana deserve special recognition for the circumstances under which they’ve been studying for the last 2 years.

"Being here at the time of the outbreak of the war and knowing their family and friends were facing real dangers, was extraordinarily hard for the girls but they never lost focus on their studies or their optimism for the future.

“They are truly remarkable young women."

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