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Students take to stage to celebrate excellence

Posted: 27 June 2014

More than 50 West Nottinghamshire College students took to the stage for a glittering celebration of their efforts and achievements on Thursday (26 June).

They were presented with awards by principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka OBE DBE at the college’s annual celebration of achievement after being nominated by their tutors for special recognition. 

Four Principal’s Student of the Year Awards were given out at this year’s event, which was held in the Derby Road campus’ covered courtyard venue.

One award went to 25-year-old Edward Simmons who has just completed the BA (Hons) in Sports Studies. Ed was recognised for being an extremely motivated and influential member of the group. He has successfully balanced part-time employment within the fitness industry, alongside semi-professional rugby and his studies.

He said: “It was very unexpected to win this special award and I feel so proud and so thankful to my amazing tutors. I’ve studied for five years now at West Notts and I’m looking forward to another two as I’m coming back to study my PGCE teaching qualification.”

Another was presented to 20-year-old Gabriella Ellis who has just completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production (Film and TV). Despite a difficult start in life Gabriella has achieved the outstanding feat of getting an unconditional offer at one of the leading Universities for her subject and tutors wanted to highlight her confidence growth from her first year at college, eventually becoming one of the strongest students on the course.

The third award went to 19-year-old Aiden George, a student on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services. Aiden never let his grades at school dictate the rest of his academic life. Through continuous hard work and dedication he managed to secure five conditional university places and is on target to get a triple distinction.

The final principal’s student of the year award went to 32-year-old Anna Lodge whose entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding attitude towards work has led to her building a successful business. She has excelled in her subject area, representing the college at skillbuild competitions, and receiving a gold medal in 2012 and 2014.

The special recognition award was presented to Melissa Jackson who began at the college aged 14, attending one day per week as part of the Schools Academy programme.

She has since gone on to gain a total of five vocational qualifications, and is about to complete her sixth in professional cookery. She has also won this year’s East Midlands’ VQ Learner of the Year Award.

Melissa said: “I really wasn’t expecting to get another award at all. It’s really been an eventful year for me and I’ve loved college. Last week’s highlight was working at Royal Ascot where I met chef Tom Kerridge and he’s offered me work experience in September at his restaurant in Marlow.”

The Aaron Britt memorial award was presented to Level 3 Extended Diploma (Software Development) student Edward Keeling. The award was presented to by Sue Britt, mother of Aaron, who sadly died in a road accident on Derby Road in 2011.

This special memorial award remembers the computer science student whose creative, enthusiastic personality will be remembered by staff and students at the college.

Dame Asha Khemka said: “It always gives me immense pleasure to see our students and congratulate them personally on their many achievements at this annual event.

“To see theirs and their families’ happiness as their stories are shared and the awards are presented gives me a great sense of pride and it reminds us all just how valuable Further and Higher Education can be in changing lives and inspiring futures.

“It was especially good to welcome many of our employer partners who go a long way to support our students in their training on apprenticeships and with valuable work placements.”

The sponsors of the awards were Eversheds, Balfour Beatty, Browne Jacobson, KPMG, King’s Mill Hospital, Balfour Beatty, Linney Group, Advanex and the Francesco Group.

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