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The Corporation

Posted: 09/07/12

Top students applauded at glittering event

More than 50 West Nottinghamshire College students took to the stage for a glittering celebration of their efforts and achievements.

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

Principal’s Award went to 22-year-old catering student Aidan Flanagan, who progressed from a level 1 to level 3 in professional cookery despite having a hearing impairment.

Although there were times when Aidan feared his studies may be too much for him, he impressed his tutors and fellow students with his positive attitude and is now aiming for a career in the kitchen.

Aidan, from Hucknall, said: “Winning this award really is the proudest moment of my life.  My time at college has been the best three years ever and if it wasn’t for the encouragement from my tutor Mark Jones, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  He really is my inspiration.”

Other students collecting awards on Wednesday (4 July) at Mansfield Civic Centre were 22-year-old Leanne Sims and 37-year-old Garry Woodward.

Performing arts student Leanne, from Shirebrook, was nominated for achieving a level 3 qualification while juggling family life, and for inspiring others around her.

She said: “It’s been hard work studying and looking after my two young children, but I’m so passionate about performing arts that I’m already excited about returning next year to study the HND and would like to go into teaching one day.”

Meanwhile, Garry, from Nottingham, was rewarded for his efforts in using specialist speech software while training to become an IT tutor.  Originally a master butcher, Garry’s dedication in re-training in IT after losing his sight and being the college’s first-ever blind student to study maths using non-sighted methods really impressed his tutors.

He said: “The awards evening made five years’ of hard work worthwhile.  I love coming to college with my guide dog Gunner and although I have to do a lot of travelling to get here, it’s not stopped me achieving.  I can’t wait to come back in September.”

Mrs Khemka said: “This event highlights and recognises the many remarkable, ambitious and talented students at our college.  It was impressive to see such a wide spectrum of students collect awards, from entry to foundation degree level and across a range of age groups, and every curriculum area was represented.

“They’ve proved they have the ability and willpower to succeed, no matter what challenges they face, and it’s humbling to hear the inspirational stories about how college has changed their lives.

“I wish them all a successful and rewarding future, whether returning to college for further study or embarking on an exciting new career.”