Mansfield’s star students applauded at glittering event

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More than 60 West Nottinghamshire College students took to the stage for a glittering celebration of their efforts and achievements on Thursday, 27th June.

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.

For the first time, the event was compered by a student. Master of ceremonies was eighteen-year-old BTEC Media Production student Rebecca Hill who is about to embark on the next level of her studies at the University of Salford where she will develop her skills in television and media.

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

The Further Education Principal’s award was jointly awarded to BTEC Level 3 Diploma Public Services student Scott Rathbone, 18 and Charlotte Jones, 18, who is studying the BTEC Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism, both of whom have overcome a number of personal challenges.

The Apprentice Principal’s award went to 22-year-old Business Administration Level 3 student Siobhan Holmes for her focus, dedication and attention to detail in her work.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Principal’s award was presented to 25-year-old Emily Ford who has just completed her fourth year at the college and will graduate from her Foundation Degree in Networking and Communication Technologies in November.

Emily was commended for being the brains behind her group’s innovative IT venture called ‘Tech Deck’ which helps other university-level students and staff with their computer problems.

Emily said: “Getting this award was a big surprise and it’s a great way to finish off my studies - I feel quite proud and thanks need to go to the rest of my class.

“I’m looking forward to starting a three-month internship at a company in Nottingham and taking the first steps towards my career.”

This year the college set up a very special memorial award to remember computer science student Aaron Britt who sadly died in a road accident on Derby Road in 2011.

Aaron had only just started with the college in September 2011 but made a very big impression. His creative, enthusiastic and imaginative personality inspired this new award and it was presented to computer science student Declan Searson by Aaron’s parents Sue and Dave Britt.

Declan, 19, was awarded this trophy for always being very active within the computer science department and representing the college in a positive way – encouraging his fellow learners to do the same.

Declan, from Mansfield, said: “I feel very proud to accept this award and I’ve absolutely loved being at college. I’m looking forward to coming back next year.

“I really wish I’d known Aaron as we started college at the same time but were in different classes. He had a lot going for him and I felt very privileged to receive the award from his parents.”

Principal Asha Khemka said: “It was amazing to see so many students at this prestigious event as well as their families and friends. It always gives me great pleasure to see our students and congratulate them personally on their great achievements.

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

“This is the perfect end to a successful and busy college year and I look forward to seeing so many of our students returning to study with us again next academic year.”

Pictured (from left) are Principal’s award winners Charlotte Jones, Emily Ford, Scott Rathbone and Siobhan Holmes, with Asha Khemka (centre).