IT was an exam hat-trick for Iraqi triplets who overcame the language barrier to clinch their GCSEs.
Despite arriving in Sunderland speaking hardly any English just three years ago, Abdullah, Mohammed and Zenab Abas achieved an impressive collection of GCSEs.
The 16-year-olds started at Thornhill School when they arrived in the city and quickly settled in, picking up the language at a fast pace.
Yesterday, the trio were among the happy faces of pupils at the school collecting their results.
Zenab got two As, three Bs and two Cs, Mohammed gained two As, four Bs and a C, and Abdullah five Bs and a C.
“It was difficult at first not knowing how to speak English,” said Mohammed. “But we soon learned it.
“Everything about Sunderland was so different from where we lived.”
Abdullah said he was really delighted with his results and had been nervous about collecting them.
The two boys are both planning to study engineering and maths at Bede Sixth Form centre, while their sister is aiming to do A–levels in science subjects because she hopes to go into the medical profession.
“This is a fantastic achievement,” said Patrice Barron, an English teacher at Thornhill.
“I have taught all three of them and they are lovely youngsters.”
Katherine Monte, head of school at Thornhill, said the triplets’ achievements were outstanding, especially considering the barriers they had to overcome.
“When they arrived here, the boys couldn’t speak English as all, Zenab knew a little bit more, but not much. They have worked so hard.
“They have done so well and we are really proud of them.”