STUDENTS’ hard work has been celebrated at two awards evenings.
The achievements of more than 70 students from Sunderland College were recognised at star-studded ceremonies in the Stadium of Light.
Team GB and Sunderland-born Paralympian John Robertson was on hand to deliver an inspirational speech and hand out prizes at the event.
John, 40, was the skipper of the Team GB Sonar Class three-person boat at the Paralympics and with his team, was on course for a bronze medal, before a penalty-points deduction meant the team finished fifth.
John, who lost the use of his legs after a motorbike accident, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to attend events like this and see just how much hard work these learners put into their studies.
“With a little dedication almost anything is possible, whatever your background, and I’m sure many of these students will go on to achieve great things.”
Frankie Francis, from Sunderland popsters Frankie and The Heartstrings, was the guest speaker at the first awards evening last week.
The musician handed out prizes to A-level and BTEC students, many of whom have now progressed on to universities around the country.
The evening also acted as a graduation ceremony for many of the students who achieved foundation-level awards through the college’s Higher Education programme.
Kerry Morrison picked up the Higher National Diploma Manufacturing Engineering Award.
The 37-year-old had returned to Sunderland College to complete her diploma 10 years after first attending the college to do her Higher National Diploma.
Kerry, from Pennywell, said: “I’m so proud to be able to come here with all my family and pick up this award.
“I’ve worked really hard and the college has been really supportive.
“This award is great recognition for all that hard work and it has been great meeting John.
“I watched him and the team during the Paralympic Games, so meeting him in the flesh has been pretty amazing.”
Nigel Harrett, the college’s acting principal, praised students, saying: “We’ve had two award evenings that have acted as a showcase of the talent and dedication of Sunderland College students.
“Across so many subject areas the college has some exceptional students who, thanks to the right support and quality of teaching, have been able to flourish, achieving the highest pass rates in the region for a fourth consecutive year for the college.
“These award evenings are a great way to recognise those students who have achieved so much in the past couple of years and we wish them every success in the future.”