Congratulations to our 2023 REACH Awards winners
Star students Dana Lisova and Hannah Langford won the Principal’s and Governors’ prizes respectively at the 2023 York College & University Centre REACH Awards Night.
Held at York Racecourse last night, the ceremony “Rewards Excellence And Celebrates Hard Work” with all of the winning students embodying the behaviour and values that define our college – Ambition, Care, Progression, Respect and Success.
Dana was nominated by our ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Coordinator Tilly Dickenson and Progress Coach Ed Webb due to the great determination and strength of character she has demonstrated since arriving in York as a refugee from Ukraine.
Dana is currently studying four AS Levels in her second language, having had to pause her Ukrainian education goals due to the invasion of her home country by Russia.
She has proven a fantastic role model around College and often acts as a translator for fellow students from Ukraine.
Dana has also been accepted on to a University of York Summer School Programme for refugees and, commenting on her worthiness as the recipient of the Principal’s Award, Tilly said: “She continues to amaze me with her ambition even while the war in her home country continues.”
Hannah won the Governors’ Award, sponsored by Inglis Chartered Accountants, having been an exemplary role model to female athletes and all students during her two years on campus.
Despite arriving at College from a school with no female football team, Hannah has gone on to represent England Colleges, starting every game for the national representative side over the last two years.
She also scored in the quarter-final, semi-final and final as our women’s football team lifted the ECFA National Cup last year and captained the team to further success this season.
Stu Horsfield, our Sports Development Centre Coordinator, nominated Hannah for the award and he said: “Hannah has been an incredible role model at College. She is always the first to training, has an excellent attitude and is very good at looking after the welfare of her team-mates.
“Beyond that, she has been a passionate advocate for female sport in the college and driving the equality and quality of the provision and the professional attitude of any players who are part of the women's Football Development Centre. Everything that the women's football team has achieved in the last two years, Hannah has been central to, alongside her own international selection and participation and all of this has been achieved against a backdrop of training at a professional football club and being an A-Grade A Level student.”
All those who attended the dinner enjoyed a welcome drink and a three-course sharing board gala dinner, with guest speaker Jodie Hill telling the inspiring story of how she recovered from a mental breakdown to establish her own law firm and has helped change the law regarding how mental health is treated in the workplace.
York College & University Centre Principal Lee Probert added: “Everybody who was nominated for an award should feel proud of themselves. We certainly are and I’m sure your families are too.
“The REACH Awards give us all a great opportunity to celebrate your excellence and hard work together. Learning is also never the destination – it’s part of a continuous journey and, if you are coming back next year, we will welcome you with open arms but, if you are leaving us, you do so with our best wishes and please keep in touch to let us know about your onward journey.”
A total of 20 awards were presented on the night.
Here is a list of all the other outstanding students, whose excellence was recognised:
Level 3 Sports and Exercise Science student Liam is planning to study the subject as a degree at the University of Stirling. With excellent punctuality and attendance records at College, he puts everything into his work.
He also swims 14 hours a week as a member of the York Sport Elite Squad and has reached the finals of Yorkshire and Regional competitions.
Isaac has gone the extra mile to help make our Vocational ESOL students feel welcome and part of the wider College & University Centre community. He has volunteered his time to help the students with their English lessons and been the friendly face many have turned to when needed.
Ellison is a kind, respectful, bright and caring student who is also a Student Union member who promotes LGBTQ+ culture in the community in the form of the York College & University Centre Drag Race, whilst helping out at several of our Open Events.
Ava secured top-20 finishes at last year’s World and European BMX Racing Championships and has been offered a place on the Team GB Cycling Junior Academy, illustrating her future Olympic potential. She has also applied to study Sport and Exercise Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, as she ponders how to best fulfil her sporting and academic potential.
Emily has progressed from our Pathways to Work and Independent Living course to Level 1 and is now working hard and achieving very good results at Level 2. She is an excellent example of progression.
Joanne is a single parent to an autistic teenage son and travels in from Easingwold to attend College. When she started our Access to Higher Education diploma, she was suffering from headache, vision and concentration issues, but her attitude to learning was exemplary and she still achieved merits for her early modules.
Just before Christmas, Joanne was then diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball, which led to her undergoing two operations and suspending her studies for a year. She returned to College this year and has maintained her excellent attitude to learning and autonomous working even though her hearing and sight have both been affected.
She has also retained her sense of humour and her dogged determination to achieve and succeed.
Diana is always on hand to help any of her peers who might be struggling in their GCSE English lessons. She has worked particularly closely with one fellow student who felt anxious in the classroom, helping build up his confidence to the point that he feels he can contribute to classroom discussions.
Condrat is already achieving grade 4s in his GCSE maths assessments despite English not being his first language and the problems that can present in terms of interpreting mathematical terms. His focus, determination and 100 per cent effort is helping him overcome those hurdles and he is planning to pursue a career in plumbing to facilitate his charitable work with orphanages.
His altruism also extends to helping the homeless community.
Naomi has scored 98 per cent and 95 per cent twice in three modules she has been required to complete this year – a remarkable achievement for a professional qualification student.
Boitumelo’s inspirational story has seen him make the journey from a refugee camp in Botswana at the age of 10 to an offer to study philosophy at the University of York, via our Access to Higher Education diploma in Humanities. In College, he always ensures all voices in the group are heard and, from his home in Harrogate, took a three-hour bus journey during the rail strikes to avoid missing lessons.
In a male-dominated environment Amy has shown that it is possible to excel and overcome stereotypes while providing excellent customer service skills that tie in closely to College values.
English is not Izabela’s first language but she completed her English Language and Maths GCSEs in 2020 and 2021 before beginning her apprenticeship with the homeless charity SASH last October. The written work that she has submitted for her apprenticeship portfolio is always of an exceptional standard and she is consistently ahead of any tasks that she is assigned.
She also readily helps her peers in the classroom and maintains a very good attendance record despite having to juggle her family life. Her passion for SASH’s work with homeless youngsters has been really appreciated by the charity.
Dominic has consistently demonstrated respect towards staff, other student groups and College facilities. His leadership skills are of a high standard and he has a strong work ethic.
David’s determination to succeed and the support of his employers Barratt Developments helped him gain the Maths and English grades he required as part of his 18-month bricklaying apprenticeship. He recovered from the disappointment of being a few marks off the Maths grade he needed to eventually secure the qualification and went on to achieve distinctions in his practical skills assessment and professional discussion, resulting in an overall distinction grade for the apprenticeship.
Lewis endured a difficult ride to the conclusion of his course, incorporating a change in jobs and living arrangements. He also showed adaptability and resilience when a College evacuation threatened to derail his End-Point Assessment Professional Discussion.
Maddie has balanced a complex home life with her college work in an admirable, inspiring fashion without making any complaints or giving any excuses. On the times she has had to miss college, she has always kept up with the work, asking questions and teaching herself any material that she has missed before writing exceptionally clear and focused work.
With a passion for psychology, her class discussion participation is refreshingly insightful.
Caitlen has been a constant force within the music department over the past two years on our Level 3 course. She has overcome many challenges to constantly deliver powerful and creative performances.
Her growth as a songwriter, through a process of unique creative practices and critical reflection, has also resulted in her gaining entrance to a number of universities. We look forward to her now following her passion for writing and performing in Higher Education.
His career is one to watch and we are honoured to have helped him take the first steps on that journey.
Please find below more pictures from a truly memorable night...