THERE were mostly smiles – but there were tears too. Dreams were realised but, as always on A-level results day, there were disappointments.

In covering the results coming in from across the region, The Northern Echo has published scores of inspirational success stories, but there is one that we feel sums up a really important message.

At this time last year, Beth Hall, a student at Carmel College in Darlington, faced crushing disappointment. She needed three A grades to achieve her ambition of studying to be a vet but missed out with an A* in history and two Bs in biology and chemistry.

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But Beth, who lives in Trimdon Village, responded to that disappointment by deciding to re-sit her exams this year and redouble her efforts.

The tears of last year have turned to smiles because she has an A* in biology and an A in chemistry.

A passionate animal-lover, she is now off to the University of London to study at the Royal Veterinary College, describing it as “a dream come true”.

“My message is that if it doesn’t work first time round, don’t panic – just make sure it works second time round,” she said.

We send our congratulations to those who have achieved the grades they wanted and wish them well in whichever path they choose in life.

But those who haven’t reached their goals should not despair. They should use the example of Beth Hall, who bounced back from bitter disappointment and put it right.

Another year invested in realising your dream is not a lot in the context of a working lifetime.