Mark’s delight at silver award

Mark Bal receives his award from Jon Vincent.
Mark Bal receives his award from Jon Vincent.

A young student has won a top award after showcasing his interest in biology.

Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College A-level student Mark Bal scored silver in the British Biology Olympiad, a national competition for 16 to 18-year-olds, and will now attend an July’s awards ceremony in London.

I’m really pleased with silver but next year I’m going to go for gold

Mark Bal

Students must complete two hour-long online exams made up of multiple questions.

Mark said: “Biology is subject I have grown up with, my mum is a biologist. From an early age I’ve had a fascination with plants. I’m really pleased with silver but next year I’m going to go for gold.”

Jon Vincent, principal and chief executive at TyneMet College, said: “Everyone at Queen Alexandra is extremely proud of Mark’s achievement.

“To receive a silver medal in this competition when only in his first year of A-level biology is truly remarkable.”

“I know that Mark has the ambition to read biology at university and this award will make him standout as a young person with great potential and commitment.

“Mark will have the opportunity to re-enter the competition next year and we are hoping that a gold medal will be in his sights.”

Mark’s biology teacher Lucy Galley said: “Mark is a very deserving winner; he’s a very hard working student and has a deep interest in biology.

“The British Biology Olympiad is very competitive and the calibre of students is very high.

“It’s excellent to see STEM-related subjects explored in-depth – the competition extends beyond A-Level.

“This is an exceptional achievement for Mark – alongside the award, involvement in the Olympiad competition helps to enhance university applications and CVs for students who compete.”