‘Outstanding’ Weston College students scoop awards

A GLITTERING awards ceremony in recognition of ‘outstanding’ pupils and staff from Weston College was held on Thursday.

The success stories of students and employers from all walks of life were celebrated at an Oscars style event at the Winter Gardens.

More than 250 people, including pupils’ families and sponsors, gathered at the venue in Royal Parade to hear who had won one of the 40 coveted awards as part of the Celebration of Success extravaganza.

Students of all ages and backgrounds were honoured for the efforts they put into their studies over the last academic year, many achieving ‘success against considerable odds’, said principal Dr Paul Phillips.

Recovering alcoholic, Brian Shields, from Weston, scooped the construction student of the year award.

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The 40-year-old said he turned his life around when he enrolled on the fast-track carpentry course and has now set up his own carpentry company.

The recovering alcoholic, who worked at the Grand Pier as site foreman, gained a distinction grade, and was also praised for doing work in the community.

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Brian said: “I had lost everything until I admitted I had a problem. I got help and I’ve stayed sober by helping others. “Weston College gave me the skills to set up my own company and I am hugely grateful to the staff.”

Another individual success story included the achievements of Troy Hares, aged 18, of Weston, who won the care and early years student of the year award.

Troy joined the college after poor school attendance due to bullying and lacked confidence.

He achieved the highest grades in his tutor group with distinctions for 15 out of 18 units. He is now studying A-levels at the college and aims to go to university next year.

Dr Phillips presented the awards alongside chair of governors, Jude Ferguson and Nick Gallegos, the evening’s keynote speaker and Weston Area Health NHS Trust’s lead consultant for breast services.

Dr Phillips said the past year had seen ‘outstanding academic results and personal achievements’ by students and staff.

The event was sponsored by many community organisations including Doubletree by Hilton Cadbury House, Cadbury Garden and Leisure, Howards Group and Weston Football Association.

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