A TRAGIC South Tyneside teenager who died on a school trip to Tanzania passed all his A-levels, his headteacher revealed.
Jack Burden, 18, died after suffering a severe allergic reaction while on a trip helping disadvantaged children in the African country last month.
Yesterday, moments after collecting their exam results, fellow students at Harton Sixth Form in Lisle Road, South Shields, released more than 100 colourful balloons into the sky to pay tribute to their friend.
Executive headteacher Sir Ken Gibson acknowledged that the sixth form’s results day, which is normally a time to celebrate, was filled with mixed emotions.
He and a colleague had visited Jack’s parents, Steven and Alison Burden, of Midhurst Avenue, South Shields, earlier in the morning to personally hand-deliver the teenager’s exam results.
Sir Ken said “It’s a very emotional time for all the students and staff, it’s difficult.
“A colleague and myself visited Jack’s parents at home to give them Jack’s results, before the rest of the students received theirs.
“And I can say he passed all three of the A-levels he sat in English literature, maths and biology.
“The balloon release is an idea Jack’s fellow students came up with, and a way for them to remember him by today.”
A special stand had been set up for students to write a tribute message to Jack, which could then be tied onto their balloon.
One poignant note read: “Jacky, so proud of you reaching uni. Holding back the tears now.”
Another simply said: “To Jack, I hope this balloon reaches you high in the sky.”
After being handed their results, the Year 13 students then headed outside, where Sir Ken gave a short speech before the students released their balloons.
Sir Ken said: “Normally we would do so much analysis on the exam results, but it doesn’t seem significant.
“What happened three weeks ago has put things into perspective.
“I am delighted so many of you have done well and have been accepted into your chosen universities, we wish you all the very best for the future in your chosen careens.
“But I think it’s only right and fitting we do this tribute for Jack, which has been supported by his family.”
Jack and fellow students had been away with school expedition company True Adventure to the East African country when tragedy struck 19 days into a 28-day trip.
Despite receiving immediate first aid and treatment with EpiPens – an emergency treatment for anaphylaxis – the popular teenager could not be resuscitated and he died on Tuesday, July 22.