Celebrating Success 2021: South Essex College commemorates outstanding student achievements
South Essex College has commemorated its outstanding students at the annual Celebrating Success awards on Wednesday 16 June.
The awards evening had to play out slightly differently again this year because of COVID-19 and social distancing. A video montage of winners was created to showcase their achievements with photos of students receiving their awards.
Nikola Zimowska, who studied on the Entry Level 3 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course, was crowned overall Student of the Year from all the departmental winners.
Her lecturers described her as ‘exemplary’.
They said: “Nikola is a constant presence among her peers, she is always there to support them and take on board their ideas. She has such a personable rapport with everyone and is always so helpful.”
Her dedication to her studies saw her develop in such a short space of time. She started on her course at Entry Level 1 and excelled in such a way that she leapfrogged Entry Level 2 to go straight onto Entry Level 3.
Nikola said it felt amazing to have won.
She said: “I'm really surprised that I have won these awards. I didn't expect it, but I'm so proud of myself because I know I worked hard for them. I would like to say thank you to my fantastic teachers, it's all thanks to them, they taught me everything that I know now and I wouldn't have achieved this without their support.”
Principal and Chief Executive, Angela O’Donoghue, recorded a speech to winners congratulating them on their achievements. She said: “Celebrating Success is one of the highlights of the college calendar, and one of the favourite parts of my job as principal. Things are still a bit different this year but it’s just as important to celebrate.
“All students nominated should be very proud. Learning is a lifelong process, the more you learn the greater your satisfaction and rewards in life will be.”
Winners are being featured on the college’s website and social media channels. For more details, visit www.southessex.ac.uk/news
Celebrating Success 2021 winners:
Adult Student of the Year
A-Level Student of the Year
Animal Care Student of the Year
Gracie Ann Gleed
Apprentice of the Year
Art & Design Student of the Year
Building Services Student of the Year
Business Student of the Year
Early Years Student of the Year
Engineering Student of the Year
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Student of the Year
Hair & Beauty Student of the Year
Health & Social Care Student of the Year
Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year
IT Student of the Year
Learning & Progression Student of the Year
Media Student of the Year
Motor Vehicle Student of the Year
Performing Arts Student of the Year
Public Services Student of the Year
Science Student of the Year
Sport Student of the Year
Travel & Tourism Student of the Year
Student Experience Fortitude Award
Wendy Swinder Kaur
South Essex College Student of the Year 2021
I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Tutors really encourage their students.
Performing Arts Student of the Year, Luke Lambert, has won his award because in every respect, his development and improvement has been outstanding.
Luke said that he feels extremely proud and grateful for the recognition.
He said: “I chose to study at the college because I went to the open day with my parents. We were all really excited by the course and impressed by Richard and his ambition for his students.”
He added: “The course has been great for learning professional etiquette, as well as the actual training. I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Richard and Neil really encourage their students.”
Luke’s tutor said: “Luke is an outstanding student. The development of his skills set during his time at this college is phenomenal which has been rewarded by casting him in the lead of the cohorts FMP production of ‘Spring Awakening’. As a result of his continuous diligence and want to improve, he has achieved offers from four top London Drama Schools to study Musical Theatre, Bird College, Arts Educational, Italia Conti and Guildford Conservatoire (GSA). This is far above what was expected at the beginning of his training.
“He has demonstrated that he is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and aspires to always do his best. He is polite and well-mannered at all times to both his peers and his tutors. He is extremely well respected by his cohort. He is always supportive of them and goes out of his way to help them.
“He has become a very influential member of the group in so many positive ways. Behaviour, focus and attention to detail is impeccable and cannot be faulted. He has met every deadline for both practical and academic tasks. A faultless time at this college.”
Luke will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London from September and his ultimate ambition is to be performing leading roles in the West End.
Zoe Souto, 17, from Rayleigh, studied Level 2 Animal Care at the college’s Southend campus.
She was nominated for the award for her excellent attendance and attitude to college life and for completing work before deadlines to a very high standard.
Her tutor said: “Zoe is a very calming influence on the group. She keeps up-to-date with all work and goes above and beyond what is expected.
“Zoe may be hearing impaired but she never lets that act as a barrier to her learning and does everything to a great standard. I often have to set her work from level 3 to keep her ticking over.”
Zoe said: “I feel so proud of myself and surprised as I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win. I enjoyed all the support that was given during my course and have always been made to feel at home at the college.”
Zoe’s ambition for the future is to run her own pet services business or run her own cattery.
Students are given opportunities, staff are friendly and highly experienced and you receive the help you need
Stefan Vijan, 18, from Basildon, studied the Level 3 Information Creative Technology Diploma at the Centre for Digital Technologies Campus in Basildon.
He was nominated for the award for his commitment to his studies and for going out of his way to support other students in the group.
His tutor said: “Stefan is a very able student who consistently challenges himself and always strives to achieve the top grades. I know that his commitment to his studies will pay off and we look forward to hearing about his future successes.”
Stefan chose to study at South Essex College because of the new technologies and opportunities at the college as well as other important factors such as distance and course schedule.
He said: “I have enjoyed the practical side of my course. I was able to develop practical knowledge within IT, and was able to use my creativity to make programs, devices, and websites. I believe this wouldn't have been possible in another college or a sixth form, thus making me choose this course.
“I would recommend South Essex College because it is a great college. Students are given opportunities, staff are friendly and highly experienced and you receive the help you need.”
Stefan’s ambition is to land a job within in the industry, and from there, work hard until he reaches his goal of working in management.
I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.
Sophie Peacock, 17, from Billericay, studied the Level 3 Creative Media (Television and Film) Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.
She was nominated for the award for her good level of organisation and commitment to every task as well as being a mature, professional and articulate student.
Her tutor said: “Sophie takes advantage of every opportunity available to her both in college and outside, as she understands the value and benefits it will provide her with, in terms of networking, communicating, professionalism and improving her knowledge and skills. She is an absolute pleasure to have in the classroom and I hope she goes on to achieve great success.”
Sophie chose to study at the college because she liked the facilities that were available for her course.
She has loved the amount of creative freedom that the course has offered and being able to create any ideas and turn them into a reality with the support of her tutors.
Sophie was really proud and a little bit overwhelmed about winning the award.
She said: “I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.”
Sophie’s ambition for the future is to become a producer on the set of a live entertainment program.
Coming to college gave me the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Reiss Willis, from South Ockenden, studied the Level 3 Art & Design (Graphic Design) Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.
He was nominated for his positive attitude, work ethic and for producing high quality work, using digital and non-traditional methods.
His tutor said: “Reiss is a very nice individual, who is popular with the rest of the group and always eager to help other students. He should be incredibly proud of himself and his achievements because if he continues with this positive attitude and work ethic, he will have a fantastic future.”
Reiss would recommend South Essex College because of its accessibility, its support in all fields and the quality of teaching.
His greatest achievement was making a change in himself, to become more dedicated and motivated and be the ‘best version’ of himself.
He said: “I struggled a little in school with behaviour and staying focussed so I knew coming to college was a fresh start and I could make a new impression. By completing all work to the highest quality and always completing additional work, I was able to win this award which I am very proud of.”
His plan after college is to go to Loughborough University and continue pursuing his dreams.
His long term ambition is in graphic design where he would like to have his own firm and become a creative director, taking on jobs and rebrands for big companies.
I am so glad I chose South Essex College as it has given me the independence I needed in preparation for university
Mia Riley, 17, from Southend, studied the Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.
She was nominated for her award for taking on multiple extracurricular activities and qualifications through college and putting in all her effort to every academic situation.
Her tutor said: “Mia is on track to achieve the highest grade possible for her course and has improved greatly throughout her time on the course. She is an exemplary sports student and person with a great care for education and future. We wish her all the success for the future.”
Mia liked that the students were treated as adults compared to school and that she was given more independence across the two years.
She describes herself as a shy person and said it would have been easier to stay at school, however her current course sounded a lot more challenging and pushed her out of her comfort zone.
She said: “I feel so pleased about winning the award and feel proud to receive it. I am so glad I chose South Essex College as it has given me the independence I needed in preparation for university.”
Mia will be going to Loughborough University to study sport science, physical education and coaching, with ambitions to eventually become a PE teacher.