A former pupil was the guest speaker at Norden High School's annual honours evening.
Dr Danielle Gaynor, who left the Rishton school in 1995, helped present awards to more than 20 pupils for their achievements.
Special trophies and awards were also presented to another half-a-dozen pupils for sporting excellence, contributions to school life and the community and exceptional academic performance.
Headteacher Tim Mitchell spoke to students about how their success is not only down to their hard work, but also from the support and guidance of parents, families and teaching staff.
Claire Munroe, of Norden High School, said Dr Gaynor also gave an 'incredibly motivational speech' about her struggles to become and doctor to help encourage school leavers to never give up.
The students were told how Dr Gaynor thought she might have to give up her dream of becoming a doctor of medicine after achieving 'terribly disappointing' A Level results at Clitheroe Grammar School sixth form.
Dr Gaynor returned to Norden and worked with her former science teacher to find a way of getting into university and later found a degree course in biomedical science.
She now works on the wards at Manchester Children's Hospital and with the crash team to resuscitate children.
Mrs Munroe said she thanked the teachers at Norden during her speech for being so supportive.
She added: “She also had an important message for the class of 2013 which is to follow your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you they are not possible, and if your path does seem blocked take a diversion.”
Dr Gaynor was joined by Mr Mitchell, the deputy headteacher and the chairman of governors to present the honours.