Celebrating Success 2015

Hundreds of students from Stoke on Trent College have taken centre stage at a glitzy gala to celebrate their outstanding achievements.

The Celebrating Success awards ceremony, staged at the Kings Hall in Stoke, honoured students for a range of accomplishments and include the highly regarded Student of Year award.

The evening also included several special student accolades; Students of the Year 16-18 and 19+, Outstanding Contribution to the College, Apprentice of the Year, Outstanding Practical Skills, Outstanding Creative Skills, Higher Education Student of the Year and Achieving despite difficult circumstances.

More than 400 guests from across the Staffordshire and Cheshire region, including key figureheads and businesses, joined staff and students at this year’s event.

The evening’s Guest Speaker was European Champion paracanoeist, Ian Marsden, who is hoping to be selected for the 2016 Rio Paralympics following his recent Gold medal victory at European Championships in the Czech Republic, where he retained his title for the second year running.

Kevin Smith, Principal of Stoke on Trent College, said: “Each year Celebrating Success allows us to recognise and honour learners who have truly gone above and beyond during their studies at Stoke on Trent College.

“This year we received a record number of entries from tutors who wanted to put forward outstanding learners who had shown outstanding skill, dedication and achievement, reflecting the high-level of commitment shown by students rights across the college.

“Not only have we read nominations about inspirational learners, but those who have put fellow students first, gone above and beyond in the community, as well as those who have achieved at the highest level, in national competitions for example.

“With this in mind, we are incredibly proud to be able to celebrate their achievements and put them in the spotlight on this special evening.”

The 2015 event is sponsored by a number of prominent local businesses including Michelin, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Lesniak Swann Marketing Communications, Thomas Vale Construction, Alton Towers Resort, The Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Clerks of Work and Construction Inspectorate.


Full details of STAR Award winners:

Sallie Tranter

Student of the Year 16- 18 years

Throughout her time at Stoke on Trent College, Sport & Exercise Science student Sallie has been exemplary and played a pivotal role in numerous projects. Predicted to achieve straight Distinction grades across all areas of her studies, Sallie has found the time to play an active and conscientious role in the Student Union, volunteering placements and charity initiatives, as well as in the wider community. Displaying maturity and autonomy beyond her years, she has shown admirable willingness to support other learners, displaying professionalism and sensitivity throughout.

Marlena Luczak

Student of the Year 19+ years

Marlena has shown exceptional skills in hairdressing and has won numerous national and regional awards. Marlena has been named UK Student Hairdresser of the Year at the 2014 British Hairdressing Awards which are referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the trade and is organised by the Hairdressing Council in association with L’Oreal.  Marlena also came third at “Britain’s Best” organised by the National Hairdressing Federation for her outstanding Hair-up design.

Her dedication, creativity and enthusiasm seems to be unlimited and Marlena has received several job offers situated locally and further afield in London and Birmingham.  Her tutors and industry experts agree that Marlena will be a future household name.

Mikaela Mae Cobby

Outstanding Creative Skills Award

Mikaela was named Student Photographer of the Year 2015 by FE Week magazine after beating off hundreds of hopefuls to win their nationwide industry competition, FE Week and Me. After wowing judges and being shortlisted, the public vote saw Mikaela’s image receive more than 41% of the votes. Supported by the Royal Photographic Society, the competition received more than 950 entries. Mikaela, who first got into Photography during a residential trip at school, has since completed work experience with local newspaper The Sentinel.

Hayley Grindon

Outstanding Practical Skills Award

Hayley joined Stoke on Trent College as a painting and decorating apprentice. Her skills and talents have gone from strength to strength, leading to her win coveted industry competitions. In 2014, Hayley won the North West heat of Dulux’s “Apprentice of the Year” competition, and later this year is set to compete in the national final of Dulux’s “Student Decorator of the Year.” Hayley also claimed first place in Dulux’s “Pitch2Win Competition”, helping secure funds for her own business, and has represented the college on both a regional and national level at the prestigious WorldSkills UK competition. Hayley’s commitment has led to her launching her own business whilst completing her studies. She is now hoping to employ students from the College to help her as the company grows.

Jake Abbot

Outstanding Contribution to the College

Not only has Jake shown huge commitment and enthusiasm in his studies at Stoke on Trent College, he has also helped the development of college activities and initiatives. Jake’s contribution to college life has been admirable and his efforts to help others remarkable. He has made time to help peers meet deadlines and offered support and reassurance in their ability to succeed, going above and beyond all expectations. He is the first to volunteer and actively get involved in projects, help staff set up lessons, take part in fundraising and much, much more. His outstanding efforts to represent himself and the college to the highest standards in college and the community have not gone unnoticed.

Jonathan Edwards

Apprentice of the Year

Since joining Stoke on Trent College as an apprentice three years ago, assessors have always found Jonathan to be polite, approachable and well mannered. He has always worked to the best of his ability, whilst developing his skills as an engineer. In his first year, Jonathan played an ambassadorial role, promoting apprenticeships at the local enterprise partnership at the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce. Jonathan’s employer describes him as diligent and someone who has become a key and valued member of staff. He is said to relish new ventures and his thirst for knowledge has allowed him to produce work to a very high calibre, whilst remaining focused and driven.

Liam Leonard

Achieving Despite Difficult Circumstances Award

Liam is a young man who joined Stoke on Trent College via our School Links programme and showed he had a passion for food preparation and catering. After leaving school at 16, Liam chose to join the college full-time. Despite very challenging personal circumstances, which no young person should have to experience, Liam has amazed his tutors and peers with his determination and eagerness to learn. At a time when many would falter, Liam has remained focused to do well and continues to achieve the hospitality and catering department. There are times when just turning up to college would be impossible for some under the circumstances, but Liam has not only attended, he has remained positive, shared knowledge, asked questions in class and served customers in our Atrium Restaurant with a spring in his step. Not only is Liam an inspiration, he is an incredible young man with the drive to succeed.

John Finch

Higher Education/Professional Student of the Year

John has impressed tutors by consistently demonstrating a desire to succeed. He has achieved excellent results during his HNC computing course as well as demonstrating his continual desire to learn new concepts, sometimes beyond the remit of the modules being taught. John has regularly shown willingness to support other students by helping them to understand new concepts.

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