The outstanding and inspirational efforts of West Suffolk College students were recognised at a prestigious prizegiving ceremony.
Fifty five students received accolades infront of a 300 strong audience of dignitaries, employers, sponsors, councillors, family and friends at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Monday night.
They were nominated by their tutors, lecturers and work based learning assessors for their ‘outstanding and above ordinary’ commitment to their studies.
Among those honoured was Bury St Edmunds student Vilma Balista, who studied a Level Three professional cookery course and was awarded the Russum Cup, sponsored by E Russum and Sons Ltd, for ‘exemplary motivation, progress and dedication’.
She was nominated by course tutor Paul Harding, who hailed her as ‘an inspiration to the other stuidents in her group’.
He said: “Vilma has managed to achieve nearly all distinction grades in both practical and theoretical assignments. This has been achieved while having a young child, running her own business and speaking English as her second language.”
Rain Sandieson, of Walsham-le-Willows, scooped the Access to Higher Education trophy - given to ‘an outstanding student on an Access course’ and sponsored by Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid.
She studied Access to Higher Education Diploma Health and Social Care and has been offered a place at Cambridge University - the first time a student on the course has been accepted as an undergraduate at the univeristy.
Rain said: “After I was made redundant in February 2013, I decided to use the opportunity to change direction completely.
“The Access course supports a commitment to learning as well as a personal responsibility for one’s achievment and all my tutors deserve medals for addressing my multitude of questions and perhaps out of the ordinary comments.”
Amee Bullett, of Elmswell, received the St Edmundsbury Leisure Services Cup as an ‘outstanding student on a leisure and sports studies course’ and the Sportsperson of the Year award.
Tutor Lee Mandley said she ‘epitomised the term student-athlete’.
He added: “She has achieved the highest grades possible on her course (BTEC Level Three in Sport and Exercise Science) while also managing to incorporate her vast sporting activities. She is an integral part of the WSC netball team and has taken the ladies Badminton team through to national competitions.”
The majority of prizes are sponsored by local businesses and organisations including Delphi Diesel Systems, NFU Mutual, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid and Havebury Housing Partnership.
Principal Nikos Savvas said: “This is a wonderful event and a chance to say well done to our students who have excelled this year. I’d like to thank all of them for working so hard as well as to our dedicated teaching staff and our dedicated sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible.”