College celebrates students’ success at awards ceremony

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students from West Suffolk College have been recognised and honoured for their achievements and hard work.

Fifty students – a mix of young and mature, full-time and part-time – received awards at the prize giving ceremony held on Monday evening at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds.

The award-winners were joined by family and friends as well as tutors, college staff and award sponsors to collect their prizes.

Students collecting prizes voiced thanks for the help and support they received from college staff and course tutors.

Rachel Willett, from Thetford, said: “The tutors have been amazing. They are such a great bunch and are incredibly helpful if you have a problem.”

The 28-year-old attended the occasion to collect the Certificate of Excellence, sponsored by St Edmundsbury Cathedral, for her work during her national diploma in media production.

Blakenee Green, from Bury, said his achievements had come thanks to the hard work of his tutors.

The 19-year-old, who now works in Mendham, said: “It’s all down to the teachers who have helped me. Their support throughout the three years has been amazing.”

He collected the Corney and Barrow Wine Award for making the most progress in wine and food appreciation and service skills. This was the latest in a string of awards scooped by the youngster, who completed a VRQ in professional cooking and an NVQ level three in supervision and leadership at the Bury-based college. In March, Blakenee won the Passion to Inspire competition – to create and serve a menu – and last year, he was runner-up in the London Stars of Gastronomy competition.

Winner of the Herga Leadership Award, sponsored by Herga Electric Ltd, Karen Poulson, from Needham Market, said her college course had changed her life.

“We have been restructuring at work and I applied for a job that I never would have applied for before. I got it and it’s going to really change my life,” said the 42-year-old, who is 14 months into a level five institute of leadership and management course.

The Mildenhall Learning Centre Prize, sponsored by Forest Heath District Council, went to Lorna Johnstone, from Holywell Row. She has overcome struggles with ME, from which she has suffered for 10 years, to complete a course in computer literacy and information technology.

“It’s made no end of difference to my life. Computers are a big part of everyday life, whether it be for communication, information, or producing leaflets and so on. It’s made a tremendous difference to me,” she said.

She has used the skills she learned on her college course to help run Woodlands Stables, in Holywell Row, which she owns.

The Havebury Housing Partnership Cup for the most outstanding construction student of the year went to William Wreathall, from Depden. The 19-year-old studied for two years at West Suffolk College and said it was a ‘very enjoyable’ experience.

“It’s really good to be nominated, it’s not every day that you get nominated for a prize. It’s nice to be recognised and it will look great on my CV,” said William.

The teenager is getting used to accepting awards – he recently won the Ridgeons award for student of the year (2010/2011) for construction crafts.

“College has been a good experience and I would definitely recommend it,” he added.

Dr Ann Williams, West Suffolk College principal, said: “I feel our prize giving is always made extra special because the majority of prizes are sponsored and awarded by local businesses or individuals who feel a special commitment to our college. The college is very much part of our community.

“Every year I know the staff struggle to select prize winners. We have about 19,000 students, so choosing them takes quite some consideration.”