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Dana and Hannah

Ukrainian refugee and football star win prized REACH awards

A REFUGEE from Ukraine and an international footballer won the big prizes at York College & University Centre’s 2023 REACH Awards.

The ceremony, which was held at York Racecourse, “Rewards Excellence And Celebrates Hard Work” with Dana Lisova and Hannah Langford scooping the Principal’s and Governors’ awards respectively.

Dana was recognised for the determination and strength of character she has shown since arriving in York from her war-ravaged country.

She is currently studying four AS Levels in her second language, having been forced to pause her Ukrainian education goals due to the invasion by Russia.

A fantastic role model, Dana often acts as a translator for fellow students from Ukraine on campus at Sim Balk Lane and has been accepted on to a University of York Summer School Programme for refugees.

York College & University Centre ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Coordinator Tilly Dickenson, who nominated Dana for the award, said: “She continues to amaze me with her ambition even while the war in her home country continues.”

Hannah, meanwhile, won the Governors’ Award, sponsored by Inglis Chartered Accountants, having arrived at the college from a school with no female football team and gone on to start every game for the England Colleges representative side over the last two years.

She also scored in the quarter-final, semi-final and final as the college’s women’s football team lifted the ECFA National Cup last year and captained the side to further success this season.

A-Grade, A Level student Hannah has combined her college commitments with playing for Huddersfield Town Women and has now been offered a football scholarship at Loughborough University.

York College Sports Development Centre Coordinator Stu Horsfield added: “Hannah has been an incredible role model. She is always the first to training, has an excellent attitude and is very good at looking after the welfare of her team-mates.

“She has been a passionate advocate for female sport in the college and driving the professional attitude of any players who are part of the women's Football Development Centre. Everything that the women's football team have 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.”

Guest speaker Jodie Hill, meanwhile, told the inspiring story of how she recovered from a mental breakdown to establish her own law firm and 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 the students’ families are too.

“The REACH Awards give us all a great opportunity to celebrate your excellence the students’ hard work together.”

Group shot

A total of 20 awards were presented on the night.

Here is a list of all the other outstanding students, whose excellence was recognised:

U19s Category

Most Determined Student Award (sponsored by The Grand Hotel) winner: Liam Dawson; Contribution to College Life/Community Award (sponsored by Daniel Thwaites, Middletons Hotel) winner: Isaac Betts; Inclusivity/Student Role Model Award (sponsored by York City Knights) winner: Ellison Poyner; Outstanding Achievement Award (sponsored by Castle Howard) winner: Ava Brown; Progression Award (sponsored by VISR VR) winner: Emily Richardson.

Adult Category

Most Determined Student Award (sponsored by Severfield UK Ltd) winner: Joanne Garnett; Contribution to College Life/Community Award (sponsored by Rollits) winner: Diana Nikitina; Inclusivity/Student Role Model Award (sponsored by Britcom International Ltd) winner: Condrat Sinaga; Outstanding Achievement Award (sponsored by Twenty Five York Ltd) winner: Naomi Nelson; Progression Award (sponsored by Hollywood Bowl and Puttstars) winner: Boitumelo Phalana Mokalake.

Apprentice Category

Most Determined Student Award (sponsored by Severfield UK Ltd) winner: Amy Exelby; Contribution to College Life/Community Award (sponsored by Rollits) winner: Izabela Bogusiewicz; Inclusivity/Student Role Model Award (sponsored by Pearly Cow) winner: Dominic Jacob Gowlett; Outstanding Achievement Award (sponsored by Iain Scott Fabrications Ltd) winner: David Fitzgerald; Progression Award (sponsored by YO1 Radio) winner: Lewis McIver.

Caroline's Rainbow Foundation Award for Psychology (in memory of former student Caroline Ann Stuttle) winner: Madison Bardy

LIAM Charity Award for Music (in memory of former student Liam Miller) winner: Caitlen Moore

LIAM Charity Award for Art: Edd Thomas