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Top students from Tower Hamlets College indulged in an evening of glitz and glamour, as they took centre stage at the College’s annual Student Achievement Awards evening, held at the Hilton Hotel in Canary Wharf on Tuesday 6 October.

Leading cinema and TV star Colin Salmon, presented the awards alongside college Principal and CEO Gerry McDonald and described the college’s students as being “champions”. Colin had flown in from New York that morning, especially for the event, having been busy filming the new CBS series Limitless.

Colin is also recognisable for his role as Chief of Staff, Charles Robinson, in three James Bond movies, working alongside Pierce Brosnan and Judi Dench, as well as having appeared on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Now in their sixth year, the awards are the highlight of the College’s calendar and an opportunity for family, friends and teachers to celebrate students’ individual achievements right across the College’s extensive curriculum.

There were a total of 31 awards spanning the College’s entire range of faculties. Highlights from the evening included:

Fabian Gonzalez, 20, from Plaistow, won the award for Information Technology Student of the Year. Fabian arrived in the UK from Spain a few years ago, starting on a Level 1 course and achieving a distinction. His talents helped him progress from Level 1 directly to a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT. Fabian achieved all 9 units of his course at distinction level and had enough time throughout the year to support his peers in class.

Rohash Shexo, 41, from Stepney Green, won the award for Creative Arts Student of the Year. Rohash came to the College after enduring physical and emotional hardships from her time spent at a refugee camp in Kurdistan. She produced her work efficiently and independently, bringing thoughtfulness, creative and technical skills as well as care to all her work. Her final project expresses where she came from and reflects on the horror of war around a refugee camp on the border of Syria. Her work was a powerful testament to her experience, showing the grief, sorrow and despair of the survivors.

Mohammed Masud Miah, 19 from Bow, won the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for his hard work, intelligence and dedication to make the most of every opportunity shown to him. He achieved A*, A and A in his A-level examinations and is now studying law at Queen Mary University, one of the world’s leading universities.

Rabaka Khatun 17 from Seven Sisters, won the Corporation Award for Young Learner of the Year for her outstanding academic progress, which was doubly impressive as she looks after her young siblings, whilst her mother is in Bangladesh. Her tutors praised her drive and perseverance towards her studies and her ambitions to become a teacher.

Lucy Jane Miles, 37, from Bow, won the Access Student of the Year award. A full-time mum of three children, Lucy’s success is further recognition of the full-on commitment needed from adult students towards an Access qualification. Her tutors praised her dedication and determination, as well as her own personal growth and development over the year. This helped her to achieve her course units and to work towards securing a place at university to study midwifery in the coming year, with further clinical experience.

Taslima Akther, 18, from Poplar, won the award for Health and Social Care Student of the Year. She has been described by her teacher as committed, determined, focussed and conscientious; traits that helped her achieve triple distinction. Alongside her academic achievement Taslima played a vital role in the ‘Female Voice’ campaign where she demonstrated her strong leadership skills, by arranging speakers and encouraging and motivating other students to get involved.

Salman Hussain, 17, from Whitechapel, won the award for Early Years Student of the Year. Salman overcame severe personal problems, missing years 10 and 11 at school, to eventually come to college.

Despite being visually impaired, and the only male in his class, Salman flourished, becoming class rep and being part of a team interviewed during an internal quality review. He has also used his initiative in securing a placement at a local school where he volunteers.

Two students from the College’s 14-16 programme were recognised this year with the award for 14-16 Student of the Year, which is a programme for students arriving from outside the UK. Deianira Urovi and Dihan Faisal, were described as being both hardworking and highly motivated, having made great progress on their programme and have become excellent role models amongst their peers and ambassadors for the programme.

The awards also attracted major international sponsors from companies in Canary Wharf including the Canary Wharf Group and Clifford Chance as well as Mitie and Konica Minolta.
Guests were also entertained by the UK Gospel Choir, who gave their rendition of popular modern hits.

Colin Salmon said:
“Tonight you are all champions. You have demonstrated through your love of learning and dedication how important education is for personal success. Do not be distracted from achieving your goals, remain focused and keep learning everyday as it is only through learning that we can all achieve individual success in whatever it is we want to do.”

Gerry McDonald, Tower Hamlets College Principal said:
“We have seen and heard this evening about the inspiring personal journeys achieved by many of our students, which once again shows the value of education to people’s lives. Our students should rightly be very proud of their accomplishments and enjoy being in the spotlight. Their success demonstrates the value and importance of further education to our community.”



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