Eight Telford College students have been recognised for their achievements in the High Sheriff of Shropshire’s annual Outstanding Young Citizen Awards.
Level three childcare student Dion Good, A level student Jessica Terry from the college’s 7th Form, and Andrew Oldacre, who is studying vehicle fitting, each receive certificates.
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They are joined by Margarita Donkah from the 7th Form, foundation students Harry Hutsby and Kyle Stonehouse, Ryan Hatt, and Ryan Churm-Roberts.
This year’s ceremony was held virtually due to the Covid-19 restrictions, live streamed through High Sheriff Dean Harris’s Facebook page.
She said she had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the number and quality of the nominations and said although it wasn’t possible to hold a face-to-face presentation, young people’s efforts needed to be recognised ‘now more than ever’.
It is the second time in three years that Jessica, who is vice president of the student council, has been recognised in the awards.
Student engagement officer Dan Blasczyk put Jess forward again in recognition of what he described as her ‘extensive volunteering work for the college as well as Telford and Wrekin Council’.
“Teachers have commented on the huge amount of time and effort she puts into supporting her peers, teachers and the college all alongside her duties as a home carer.”
Dan also nominated Dion, who has been taking part in peer mentor mental health and
wellbeing training at the college, in conjunction with Mind Telford.
He said: “Dion helped launch a virtual campaign called ‘Talking Teenagers’ to encourage students to access the health and wellbeing support service BeSafe. She also wanted students to feel comfortable to talk about mental health.”
Andrew was nominated by Telford College’s automotive and construction learner manager Richard Joyce, who said: “Andrew has been studying at Telford College now for three years, firstly in the construction department.
“As he really enjoyed doing physical work and using his hands, he has now decided to go to the automotive department for our vehicle fitting course. His attitude and commitment have improved year-on-year.”
Margarita Donkah, who is studying A Levels in maths, further maths and physics, was nominated by head of 7th Form, Holly Davies.
She said: “Margarita has faced challenges this year – she had to travel to Spain to iron out some passport issues, but became trapped there for many weeks. She attended every lesson remotely and kept on track with all of her work. Margarita is highly supportive of her peers, teachers and the represents the college in an outstanding way.”
Helen Swinnerton, who nominated Harry, said: “I nominated Harry because since he started at Telford College in September 2019 his maturity and independence has developed immensely.
“He always completes given tasks to his best ability. Harry is a very kind young man and is always looking out for his peers.”
Ken McKerral, who nominated Ryan Hatt, said: “He is real go-getter who shows a strong work ethic and grit to succeed. He balances a busy life at home with college studies and has coped well with remote learning.
“He has grown in confidence and rises above all challenges and now is technically articulate in computing. Ryan is a real asset to the class.”
Jessica Terry said she was surprised to have been recognised for a second time, but added: “It’s nice to feel like something is being given back to me. I really appreciate the opportunity they have given me to volunteer with them and help out in my local community.”
Former Charlton School student Dion described her nomination as ‘something positive to happen during lockdown’. She said: “I think we’ve shown that as a college we really care about mental health and it’s important that people talk about it.”
And former Southall School student Andrew said: “It is amazing to be nominated. It’s the first award I’ve ever been nominated for, and I can’t put into words how happy I am.”