STUDENTS in Somerset have been celebrated for their achievements at an annual awards ceremony.

Strode College held their awards this month, nominating students who completed their courses last year.

There were 23 categories in the awards, based on outstanding performance on courses and exceptional personal qualities.

Most of those who received awards had completed A Levels and vocational qualifications last year, but there were also awards for Higher Education Student of the Year, Adult Student of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, the Rachael House Award for Skills for Life and Success Against the Odds.

Katy Quinn, principal and CEO of the college in Street, said: “Whilst unfortunately unable to hold our usual annual awards ceremony due to the pandemic, we still wanted to celebrate the incredible hard work and achievements of all our students.

"Massive congratulations to all our award winners, finalists, and commended students.

"They’re all winners in our eyes and should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

All winners received an engraved glass plaque, with finalists, winners and highly commended students receiving a signed certificate from the College.

This year's winners include:

  • Hair, Barbering and Beauty Student of the Year - Holly Caines

Somerset County Gazette: Holly Caines, Hair, Barbering and Beauty Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Holly had excellent attendance and was always very motivated and professional throughout her Level 2 Beauty Therapy course.

"With her hard working attitude and high standards of treatments Holly managed to secure employment at a hair and beauty salon in her home town.

"She has continued with her studies and progressed to Level 3 Beauty Therapy whilst continuing with her part-time beauty therapy employment. Holly was always friendly, approachable and always supported her peers. "She had a wonderful caring manner with all clients and strived to give the best possible treatment at all times."

  • John Lewis Award for Science - Amy Smith

Somerset County Gazette: Amy Smith, Pref John Lewis Award for Science

Her teachers said: "From the start of her time at Strode, it was obvious that Amy had a natural flair for the sciences. She showed herself to be an extremely hard-working and diligent student, with an inquisitive approach to learning, always wanting to explore beyond topics and find out more.

"Unsurprisingly, her exemplary work ethic and mature attitude enabled her to achieve the outstanding result of an A* for both Biology and Chemistry. Congratulations Amy!"

  • Business Student of the Year – Lottie Hill

Somerset County Gazette: Lottie Hill, Business Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "She was engaging with all her lessons and embraced the ethos of business and how it could help her achieve future goals. Lottie was from an agricultural background having lived on a farm all her life.

"She had no intention of going to university but wanted to use her business knowledge within the agricultural industry and remain local to Somerset. She contributed to open evenings and college experience days imparting how good the business course was and the value of it.

"She was a conscientious student who always wanted to achieve to the best of her ability. She was able to hold adult conversations with both internal staff and show what an amazing ambassador she was to Strode College and the Level 3 Business course."

  • Engineering and Technology Student of the Year – Hayley Edwards

Her teachers said: "Hayley was a very committed student on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering. Her attention to detail within all of her work was excellent and she was well respected within class by both her peers and tutors.

"Her attendance was excellent throughout the course and she also elected to study a core maths qualification alongside her second year of engineering. Hayley achieved the highest possible grade in the Engineering course – a triple distinction (star) and a grade A in Core Maths."

  • English Student of the Year - Sophie Frankpitt

Somerset County Gazette: Sophie Frankpitt, English Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Sophie had a natural affinity for English Language especially, this was evident throughout her study of the subject at A Level but also in her wider reading and activity around the subject.

"Sophie’s considerable intrinsic motivation drove her to explore far beyond the A Level curriculum and into realms that sometimes exceeded her lecturers’ knowledge.

"Sophie’s choice of Extended Project Qualification challenged Wilhelm Von Humboldt’s statement that ‘language is the infinite use of finite means’.

"This led her into the extremely advanced realm of theoretical linguistics and prompted the English Department to send her work to Professor David Crystal, who kindly passed it on to Professor Ian Roberts from the University of Cambridge. These two eminent linguists not only replied to comment that we had ‘something special’ in Sophie, but Professor Roberts also kindly offered advice and agreed to answer her questions."

  • Health and Care Student of the Year – Aaron Bayliss

Somerset County Gazette: Aaron Baylis, Health and Social Care Student of the Year

His teachers said: "Aaron has worked exceptionally hard to get to where he is today, he started his journey at Strode in 2017. He came to us from The Fosse Way School in Radstock and enrolled on our Level 1 Access to Further Education course.

"He completed assignments to a high level and integrated well into his tutor group, there were lots of ups and downs along the way! Aaron successfully completed this course and enrolled onto the Level 2 Childcare course, again Aaron's determination and strength led him to complete this course to a high standard, his work placement (Strode Nursery) thought very highly of him, he has an amazing and kind attitude with children.

"He is now studying the new T Level in Education, Aaron should be as proud of himself as we are here at Strode. Aaron has shown grit, determination and an attitude to never give up no matter how hard you find things."

  • Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Student of the Year - Laura Wallwork

Somerset County Gazette: Laura Wallwork, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Despite a reserved nature Laura was a student that no matter what was happening in the world or the circumstances in her home life, maintained a kind, courteous, diligent and hardworking approach to her study. This included achievement with high grades of the Level 2 Hospitality Award, Higher Project and Functional Skills Maths. Despite the timing of the pandemic, to gain further insight into industry Laura was still able to secure a work placement within the catering department of Ansford Academy.

"Duties here involved all aspects of preparing food and commercial catering operations. Feedback from Gemma, a member of the catering team, detailed that Laura had been a great help and that she enjoyed having her there.

"Since leaving Strode College Laura has used the skills she acquired whilst studying and has been working for Old Mill Accountants and financial planners in Yeovil four days a week in their scanning team. Laura plans to secure a job in hospitality when the industry begins to recover in the coming year and continues to enjoy baking at home in her spare time."

  • Humanities Student of the Year - Charlie Bowles

Somerset County Gazette: Charlie Bowles, Humanities Student of the Year

His teachers said: "Charlie, who got fully involved in college life, became a Student Association President, despite some challenges he faced affecting health and learning. He worked hard and achieved Bs for History and Politics."

  • IT and Media Student of the Year - Marc Shave

Somerset County Gazette: Marc Shave, IT and Media Student of the Year

His teachers said: "Marc Shave gained a D*D*D* in the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production having completed an IT qualification at Strode.

"From the very start of the course, it was clear that Marc was a highly focused and motivated student who proved himself able to produce written research and practical media products such as radio and film, to an equally high-level quality.

"He was a very positive influence on the rest of the group as well as being an effective member of a team in group projects. In many ways, Marc was a model student with excellent attendance, great time management skills, and keen attention to detail. He is taking up a place at university in September 2021 and we wish him all the best with his future."

  • Brian Jefferson Award for Maths - Sky Shoesmith

Somerset County Gazette: Sky Shoesmith, Brian Jefferson Award for Maths

Her teachers said: "Sky was our top performing mathematician last year. She participated in the team and individual Maths Challenge and achieved the highest score in the college last year.

"She then went on to achieve a merit in the follow on competition, the Senior Kangaroo. With a natural aptitude for maths, Sky was able to visualise and understand maths in a very different way to others. She was keen to learn and happy to help others."

  • Richard Frapwell Award for Modern Foreign Languages - Isabel Jones

Somerset County Gazette: Isabel Jones, Richard Frapwell Award for Modern Foreign Languages

Her teachers said: "Isabel stood out from the beginning of her studies at Strode as one of the keenest and most talented linguists we have ever had the pleasure of teaching.

"She gained an impressive fluency in both Spanish and French and took a great interest in the culture of both countries and of the wider French and Spanish speaking worlds.

"She went on to study both languages at the University of Bristol and we can easily imagine that she will make a great success of that and then go on to use her languages in the future, perhaps professionally and certainly for travel and for pleasure."

  • Music and Performing Arts Student of the Year - Jacob Sparks

Somerset County Gazette: Jacob Sparks, Music and Performing Arts Student of the Year

His teachers said: "Jacob demonstrated an excellent understanding of drama and theatre, and created some outstanding practical work for his A Level, most notably his portrayal of Alan in Equus. He achieved an A grade overall.

"He is an exceptionally motivated and creative student, always finding new and innovative ideas. He was also a brilliant team player, so important in the theatre environment, supporting and encouraging others with their artistic ideas.

"Jacob took part in the college show last year taking on the lead role of Seymour in’ Little Shop of Horrors’ which he played to perfection and with total commitment.

"He is continuing to develop his skills during his gap year having secured roles in local amateur productions which will resume as soon as allowed, before auditioning for drama schools for next year."

  • Social Sciences Student of the Year - Isabel Corp

Somerset County Gazette: Isobel Corp, Social Sceiences Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Isabel was an outstanding social science student in every regard. She had a fantastic grasp of conceptual terms, theories and approaches.

"She was conscientious from the outset and during the first lockdown she voluntarily completed extra assignments. She responded well to feedback and worked hard to consistently produce excellent pieces of work.

"She thoroughly deserved her outstanding set of A Levels in Psychology, Sociology and Business Studies. She was a pleasure to teach and we wish her every success for the future."

  • Sport and Public Services Student of the Year AND Principal's Award - Emerging Leader - Louise Mayes

Somerset County Gazette: Louise Mayes, Sport and Public Services Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "An excellent student, Louise used the college environment to fully maximise her potential. All tutors have reflected on Louise’s positive attitude, her politeness and how sociable she was not only with her peers but also the staff at the college.

"As well as being a Sports Ambassador, a student representative, she was fully engaged with the enrichment process.

"As a keen competitive sports person with a passion for athletics and in particular cross-country running, she competed for college honours regularly and represented Strode at county, regional and national level. She also found time to complete a first aid course and her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award."

  • Visual Arts (2D/3D) Student of the Year - Ellen Kinder

Somerset County Gazette: Ellen Kinder, Pref Visual Arts, Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Ellen’s flair and individualism shone through. Always innovative, Ellen’s experimental ethos put her ahead of her peers.

"Her creative vision was obvious from the beginning, innate strengths with styling and technical skills, clearly demonstrated in the visualization of her concepts for a sustainable future in fashion. Definitely one to watch!"

  • Adult Student of the Year – Owen Dyer

Somerset County Gazette: Owen Dyer, Adult Student of the Year

His teachers said: "Owen was highly dedicated to his course. Last year was a difficult year for all the AAT accounting students, with exams postponed and learning going online. Despite being unable to attend daytime college Zoom sessions due to working long hours at Tesco’s, Owen worked incredibly hard to complete his studies and achieved a Merit on his course."

  • Overall A Level Student of the Year – Isobel Persaud

Somerset County Gazette: Isobel Persaud, Pref Overall A Level Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Isobel performs exceptionally well at everything she puts her mind to. A Level studies can be incredibly demanding. Isobel not only undertook 4 A Levels, achieving a fantastic A* in all of them, but also took part in the College production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, as well as acting as assistant choreographer in the College production of ‘Chicago’.

"Isobel is currently studying Law at University College London (UCL)."

  • Apprentice of the Year – Cameron Saunders

Somerset County Gazette: Cameron Saunders, Apprentice of the Year

His teachers said: "Cameron studied for the Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship with Strode. Cameron was hard working and motivated during his apprenticeship in the IT team at Strode, and he successfully completed his apprenticeship."

  • Higher Education Student of the Year – Leanne Coles

Somerset County Gazette: Leane Coles, Higher Education Student of the Year

Her teachers said: "Leanne studied History, Heritage and Archaeology at Strode. Despite fate throwing various obstacles in her way, Leanne persevered with her course, and went on to achieve a first-class honours degree."

  • Rachael House Award for Skills for Life – Kristine Lee

Somerset County Gazette: Kristine Lee, Rachael House Award for Skills for Life

Her teachers said: "The award is not only about gaining a qualification, but the journey required to achieve them. When Kristine originally joined Strode in 2019, she lacked confidence, but was absolutely determined to achieve her goals despite being mum to a large and busy family.

"She blossomed into a confident, conscientious student, always giving 100%. She successfully completed Level 1 Maths and Level 1 English and will undoubtedly continue her learning to achieve her aspirations.

"She was a positive, helpful member of the class, always making new students welcome."

  • Overall Vocational Studies Student of the Year – Hayley Edwards

Somerset County Gazette: Hayley Edwards, Pref Engineering and Technology, student of the Year and overall vocational studies student

Her teachers said: "Hayley was a student on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering. Hayley was extremely capable, always delivering work to a high standard across all subject areas, both theoretical and practical. She was respected by both the teaching team and her peers and a worthy winner of the award."

  • Success Against the Odds - Yasmin Witcombe

Somerset County Gazette: Yasmin Witcombe, Success Against the Odds

Her teachers said: "During her first year at College, Yasmin became ill, meaning she wasn’t always able to attend college and sometimes got behind with her work.

"Through her recovery, through lockdown and whilst having to shield to protect her health, Yasmin was still determined to carry on. She stayed in touch with her tutors, asked for support when she needed it and completed work whilst recovering.

"She blew the teaching staff away with her strength and resilience. She completed her course with a triple distinction star, which was so well deserved."