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
Abbigail Hutchings  

A-Level Student of the Year
Menisha Masson  

Animal Care Student of the Year
Gracie Ann Gleed  

Apprentice of the Year
Danny Mansfield  

Art & Design Student of the Year  
Kimberley France  

Building Services Student of the Year
Kofi Smith  

Business Student of the Year  
Ellie Gower  

Early Years Student of the Year
Emily Pearce  

Engineering Student of the Year  
Ilya Petrine  

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Student of the Year
Nikola Zimowska  

Hair & Beauty Student of the Year  
Leah Goulding  

Health & Social Care Student of the Year
India Ellmore  

Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year
Stacey Thrower  

IT Student of the Year  
Enrico Obeng  

Learning & Progression Student of the Year  
Luke Cambridge  

Media Student of the Year
Gracie Jewell  

Motor Vehicle Student of the Year
Benjamin How  

Performing Arts Student of the Year  
Kane Crocker  

Public Services Student of the Year  
Faye Inglis  

Science Student of the Year
Kacey Mizon  

Sport Student of the Year
Lily Wilding  

Travel & Tourism Student of the Year
Rachel Bird  

Student Experience Fortitude Award
Wendy Swinder Kaur  

South Essex College Student of the Year 2021
Nikola Zimowska 

Success stories

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Course studied

Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 3 Diploma

It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.

Maison Lundrigan was named Motor Vehicle Student of the Year for his dedication and the consistent hard work he put into his studies.

The 18-year-old was praised for the high quality of his work and the fact that he was the first to pass his online exams. 

He has excelled during his time at the college, so much so, he is now embarking on a three-year apprenticeship programme at the college.

Maison has achieved all this despite living with additional needs.

He said it felt ‘brilliant’ to win the award and ‘it’s made me realise that I can achieve even with my disability.’

He added: “I chose the college because it offered the right course for me.

“It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.”

Maison is now looking forward to his apprenticeship so he can pursue his dream of becoming a car mechanic.

His tutor said: “He is a pleasant and well-mannered young man that any college or employer would be pleased to have. Maison has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Course studied

Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 Extended Diploma

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. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Course studied

Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

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.