In Tallinn, the number of gold and silver medals awarded to this year's high school graduates is the highest ever. In Tartu the number of gold medals awarded is the highest in the last 20 years.
The Estonian Education and Youth Board (Harno) told ERR that 488 gold medals and 511 silver medals have been awarded to students graduating from schools across Estonia this year.
Harno explained, that the number of medals ordered, however, does not necessarily match the exact number being handed out to graduates each year, as schools usually keep additional medals in stock. Schools are also able to order medals in advance for future years.
However, according to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Kante, 540 medalists from 54 different schools are graduating in the capital this year, the highest number ever recorded. 287 will graduate with gold medals, or just a '5' grade, and 253 with a silver medal, or up to two '4' grades in addition to a '5'.
"This is more than in previous years," said Kante. "By comparison, last year there were 472 medal graduates in Tallinn, and two years ago there were 468."
At Gustav Adolf School, just over 60 students will graduate with a medal this spring, the highest number in the school's history. According to school principal Henrik Salum, while it is not a huge increase on previous years, it is still an impressive achievement.
"Maybe there are one or two more silver medals, but in general, there are an equal number of gold and silver medals." Salum said.
Salum added, that feedback from teachers also shows, that this year's graduating class is very strong in terms of academic performance.
"When there are a lot of medals, there are always questions about whether there have been any sacrifices made in terms of teaching, but then you start to think that there really hasn't been," Salum explained. "So, it's just a very good class and the teachers have also done a really great job."
In Tartu, 123 students will graduate with medals this year, 14 more than last year. 65 will graduate with gold medals and 58 with silver.
According to Tartu City Government, the number of gold medal graduates is the highest the city has seen in the last 20 years.
Mari Roostik, principal of Tartu's Jaan Poska High School, said a record 23 of the school's graduates have earned medals this year.
This is more than twice as many as in 2022, when nine students graduated from the school with either gold or silver medals.
"These are young people who have studied so diligently. We have not changed the courses to make it easier to get a medal," said Roostik. "The young people are very hard working, self-aware and determined, and this year our school simply has a really good group."
Editor: Michael Cole