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Bury St Edmunds: Pride and joy for students at annual prizegiving ceremony

PUBLISHED: 10:40 02 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:40 02 July 2014

West Suffolk College Prizegiving Ceremony at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral.

West Suffolk College Prizegiving Ceremony at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral.

Emotions were mixed with pride and joy as students made their way on stage to collect their much deserved accolades.

There was warm applause for the 55 learners who picked up their awards in the Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, during the West Suffolk College Prizegiving ceremony.

A hush greeted many of the remarkable citations read out in front of 300 dignitaries, employers, sponsors, councillors, family, friends and guests gathered at the event on Monday evening.

The prizewinners came from courses across the college and were nominated by their tutors, lectures or work based learning assessor. The majority of prizes were sponsored by local businesses, partners and businesses including Delphi Diesel Systems, East Anglian Daily Times, Bury Chamber of Commerce, Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid and Haverbury Housing Partnership.

Many had overcome remarkable difficulties and challenges in their lives while others had achieved success with their hard work and determination.

None more so epitomised that than Alan Moore, Sabrina Triebel, Rain Sandieson, Vilma Balista and Amee Bullett.

Mature student Alan was given a standing ovation after it was heard of his remarkable courage to recover from the devasting effects of a stroke.

He won the Bury St Edmunds Learning Centre Prize for his work in promoting the work of organisations such as Headway which support the recovery of those who have suffered brain injury. Alan attended creative writing classes and has used his skills to create the techniques to aid recovering clients.

He was described as an “inspiration to those who have suffered such devasting illness in showing that it is possible to not only make a good recovery but to continue to develop skills and pursue new interests across a broad spectrum ensuring a varied and stimulation quality of life.”

It bought a lump to the throat as he made his way off stage to warm applause.

Sabrina, who emigrated from Germany to study a Level 3 Extended Diploma Travel and Tourism, was awarded the East Anglian Daily Times Prize for being the business and tourism student of the year.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Bury, was nominated for her dedication to studies, extra curriculum involvement and volunteer work. She was awarded a triple distinction star.

Sabrina said: “I am so pleased and delighted to have won this award. I couldn’t believe it when my lecturer told me, I was so excited and thought, ‘Oh Wow’. I didn’t expect it at all. I had just been focusing on my course and didn’t think about anything except working hard. I rang to tell my parents in Germany and they were so proud of me.”

Amee, from Elmswell, was awarded the St Edmundsbury Leisure Services Cup for being the outstanding student on a leisure and sports studies course. She has achieved the highest grades possible on her course (BTEC Level 3 in Sport and Exercise Science) whilst also managing to incorporate her vast sporting activities. She is part of the college netball team and has taken the ladies badminton team through to national competitions. She was also awarded the Player’s Player of the Year by the WSC Sports Academy for netball.

Rain, who lives in Walsham le Willows, was awarded the Access for Higher Education trophy.

She has been studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma Health and Social care and has been offered a place at the University of Cambridge, the first time an Access to Health and Social Care student from the college has been accepted as an undergraduate at the prestigious university.

And Vilma Balista, who studied a Level 3 professional cookery course, was presented with the Russum Cup, given to the hospitality student who has demonstrated exemplary motivation, progress and dedication.

Vilma, who lives in Bury, has managed to achieve nearly all distinction grades in both practical and theoretical assignments while having a young child, running her own business and speaking English as her second language.

The keynote speaker at the event was Karen Hester, operation’s director for Suffolk brewers Adnams.

Her story is one of courage and determination, as she rose the ranks from office cleaner to managing a £8 million budget and 300 staff.

Her 10-minute talk was filled with humour and anecdotes and some colourful language which related to many students who will long remember her words.

And she closed by saying: “Never forget where you come from and never lose your humility, it really is important; and never, ever think you are too old to learn.”

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