Ukrainian twin sisters in Harrogate excel in A levels
Last updated Aug 17, 2023
Photo of Sofiia and Diana Shypovych, twin sisters from Ukraine who have done outstandingly well in their A levels.
Sofia (left) and Diana Shypovych

Twin sisters at Harrogate Ladies’ College are celebrating top A level grades today from their home in Ukraine.

Diana and Sofiia Shypovych, from Cherkasy in Central Ukraine, achieved A*A*A* and A*A*A respectively.

The sisters arrived at Harrogate Ladies’ College to study as boarding pupils in September 2021. But just a few months later, Russia invaded Ukraine and the girls found themselves unable to return home to their parents.

Sofiia said she was delighted with her results:

“I am so happy about my results – and I am so grateful to my school for supporting me through the last two years. It was difficult being away from my family, but school actively promotes inclusion, diversity and being yourself. That really helped me.”

Diana added:

“University will be our next exciting chapter. Despite everything that has been happening in Ukraine, school has given me and my sister the confidence to mature into independent adults through the opportunities, challenges and freedoms it has offered. Living at school showed us the importance of contributing to the community and respecting our shared responsibilities.”

Following the invasion of their country, both sisters ran campaigns in Harrogate to fundraise for Ukrainians and helped Ukrainian families on the Homes for Ukraine scheme to settle into the community. They were also voted by their fellow pupils and teachers to be prefects at the school during their time in the sixth form.

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Sylvia Brett, principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College, paid tribute to the sisters’ hard-working ethos and commitment to school life against the backdrop of war in their home country. She 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 two 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 who always looked out for others in school and organised events such as the Ukraine Cultural Day to help us all understand and support their country.”

The sisters chose to return to Ukraine after finishing their exams this summer to await their results with their family and friends, despite ongoing security concerns. Cherkasy lies 200km south-east of Kyiv and the region is still frequently subjected to missile attack by Russia.

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

“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.”

Harrogate Ladies’ College achieved 41% A*-A grades across the board – a 17% increase on the comparable figures from 2019.