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270624029 Group

Congratulations to our 2024 REACH Award winners!

A Law student who has become the first member of her family to apply for university and a student who has engaged in theological and philosophical discussions with the Archbishop of York were winners of the main two prizes at York College & University Centre’s annual REACH Awards.

Ella Clarkson and Sarah Craigen were presented with the Principal’s and Governors’ Awards respectively at the event, which was hosted in York Racecourse’s Voltigeur Suite.

The Awards saw college students celebrate their achievements with families, friends, their tutors and sponsors of the evening, which aims to Reward Excellence And Celebrate Hard work.

Also in attendance were The Lord Mayor of York Margaret Wells, while Saskia Fenwick was the night’s Guest Speaker as she shared her journey from education into a career that has seen her become, by the age of 26, a professional manicurist who boasts high-profile celebrity clients, has had her work featured in Vogue and opened her own salon Saskia & Co.

York College & University Centre Principal and Chief Executive Ken Merry, meanwhile, lauded all the winning students, as well as those that were Highly Commended and nominated in the different categories.

He added: “Some of the students here tonight have overcome adversity to be successful, others have worked really hard to achieve the things they have, and others have just simply been excellent. However, one thing that they all have in common is that they are wonderful ambassadors for the college in everything that they do.”

270624031 Reach
Guest Speaker Saskia Fenwick

Law & Critical Thinking tutor Clare Kirton nominated both Ella and Sarah for their awards and, on the former, she said: “Ella came to College with a passion for studying Law and is the first member of her family to apply for university. She has arranged work experience at large commercial firms and has got down to the last 20 of 700 applicants for a degree apprenticeship at a large and renowned national firm.

“This huge achievement is testament to her focus, determination, ambition and drive to pursue a career in the profession. She has applied to prestigious universities and thrives in an academic setting, with her keenness to learn all that she can.

“She has also volunteered at Open Events with her warm, empathetic, approachable and likeable manner and, to her classmates, she is a team player and a sharer - characteristics that will serve her well in future ventures. She has a keen interest in law, justice, current affairs and the world around her and, as well as demonstrating real intellectual curiosity, she always wears a smile on her face and is calm, caring and considerate to all.”

Explaining why Sarah was a worthy winner of the Governors’ Award, Clare added: “Sarah is an exceptional young person, who is a credit to York College and her community. She always goes the extra mile and, from the very start of her time at York College, has volunteered at Open Events, proudly wearing her York College T-Shirt and helping visitors.

“She has worked tirelessly on the Besom Hampers Charity Appeal and immersed herself in extra-curricular activities, attending countless talks delivered by our external speakers. She is readily willing to give up her free time to learn more about the world around her and further educational and work opportunities.

“She was also a confident host when she volunteered to guide the Archbishop of York around College last year and, in return, was invited to a tour of Bishopthorpe Palace, where she shared tea and cake with him and his wife, whilst engaging in theological and philosophical discussions.”

270624024 Ella
Ella Clarkson receiving her Principal's Award from York College & University Centre Principal & Chief Executive Ken Merry
270624025 Sarah
Sarah Craigen receiving her Governors' Award from York College & University Board of Governors Chair Ian Looker

There were four In Memoriam Awards presented, meanwhile, to honour former students who are sadly no longer with us, but whom the college remember with fondness for their time on Campus and the legacy they have left behind.

The Liv Willo Award for Dance was presented to Olivia Wong and awarded in memory of Livia Wilson, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from Meningitis at the age of 19 to leave the whole Dance department shocked and devastated in 2022.

Members of Liv’s family – Alison Goude, Andrea Goude and Lisa Wilson – all attended the Awards.

The LIAM Award for Music winner was Anna Murray and the LIAM Award for Art winner was Daria Lidia Kosmalska.

LIAM stands for Laughter, Inspiration, Art and Music and the LIAM Charity was set up in memory of Liam Miller, a former Music and Art student at York College, who passed away in 2015.

Natalie and Peter Miller, from the LIAM Charity, were in attendance.

The Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation Award for Psychology was presented to Charlotte Jell.

It is awarded in memory of former A Level Psychology student Caroline Stuttle with the Foundation having been set up to provide safer travel information to the next generation of world explorers, so they can fully realise both the importance of travel safety and the benefits of world travel.

Caroline’s mother Marjorie Marks-Stuttle and brother Richard Stuttle presented the award.

270624018 Olivia
Olivia Wong receives the Liv Willo Award for Dance from Performance & Production Team Leader Emma Fawcett
270624019 Charlotte
Charlotte Jell received the Caroline's Rainbow Foundation Award for Psychology from Marjorie Marks-Stuttle and Richard Stuttle
270624016 Anna
The LIAM Award for Music winner Anna Murray
270624017 Daria
The LIAM Award for Art winner Daria Lidia Kosmalska

The night’s other winners were:

Adult Learner of the Year (sponsored by Mindful Education): Helena Coughlin

270624020 Helena

Young Learner of the Year (sponsored by Rollits Solicitors): Marcus Robinson

270624021 Marcus

T Level Student of the Year (sponsored by Iain Scott Fabrications): Chloe Cruwys

270624022 Chloe

Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Severfield): Matthew Clayton

270624023 Matthew

Art & Design Student of the Year (sponsored by Spark: York): Mercedes Toon

270624001 Mercedes

Business, Tourism and Hospitality Student of the Year (sponsored by The Grand): Sophie Newbould

270624002 Sophie

Construction Student of the Year (sponsored by Henry Boot): Mohammad Omar

270624003 Mohammad

GCSE English and Maths Student of the Year (sponsored by Middletons Hotel): Kieran Pearson

270624004 Kieran

Hair, Beauty & Media Make-up Student of the Year (sponsored by the Vocational Training Charitable Trust): Ryan Williams

270624005 Ryan

Health & Social Care Student of the Year (sponsored by Barchester Healthcare): Zak Kelly

270624007 Zak

ESOL Student of the Year (sponsored by the York City of Sanctuary): Haroon Ahmadzai

270624008 Haroon

Science & Mathematics Student of the Year (sponsored by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group): Tristan Stasiak-Gray

270624009 Tristan

Pathway to Work & Independent Living Student of the Year (sponsored by the York Pullman Bus Company): Thomas Scott

270624010 Thomas

Performance & Production Student of the Year (supported by The Island and St Leonard’s Hospice charities): Samuel Massie

270624011 Samuel

Sport & Uniformed Protective Services Student of the Year (sponsored by Better): Rebecca Sidwell

270624012 Rebecca

Engineering Student of the Year (sponsored by Britcom International): Callum Moxon

270624013 Callum

Digital Technologies Student of the Year (sponsored by Dovetail & Slate): David Badowski

270624014 David

Early Years & Education Student of the Year (sponsored by The York Roast Co): Adam Charlesworth

270624015 Adam

Humanities & Social Sciences Student of the Year (sponsored by Mr Chippy): Isaac Shoffren (picture not available as Isaac was unable to attend)

The following students received Highly Commended certificates: Milly Haigh, Madelyn Harrison, Dylan Jones, Joseph Sherlock, Sophie Todd, Hana Sheban-Saleh, Isaac Durham, Ella Clarkson, Izzy Robinson, Edward Wilson, Emma Cherkasova, Kieran Pearson, Tabitha Payne, Efe Kurt, Cyprus-Jay McLarney, Evie Tuke, Robbie Crawford and Sam Conyers.