Newham College honours students at Shining Stars ceremony
- Credit: Archant
Talented students at Newham College were honoured during an “inspirational” awards evening led by the outgoing principal.
The annual Shining Stars awards ceremony was held at the East Ham campus last night as Di Gowland, who is retiring after three years at the helm, paid tribute to winners and nominees as she urged them to “follow their dreams.”
She told the crowd: “This year we’ve had 11,000 students here. For those students who have been shortlisted and the winners, it is an amazing achievement.”
Recent college-wide successes include attaining the best overall achievement rates for 2015/16 in London, having more students progress to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities than ever before and gaining relevant work experience placements for all 16 to 18-year-olds.
On her retirement, she said: “I can think of no better way to end my career than on such a special night.
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“It’s been a pleasure and honour to serve Newham College as principal and chief executive and I’m leaving knowing the college is in a strong position.”
Andrew Clark, from the board of governors, hailed Ms Gowland’s “infectious energy and enthusiasm and tireless leadership” and praised her as a principal “who always shows great pride in her students.”
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Throughout the night students were presented with awards, including Catherine Owiredu-Oppong who was awarded the Newham Recorder-sponsored College Achievement of the Year Award. Judges said the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Law student was “head and shoulders above her peers” and had secured offers from five Russell Group universities.
Re-elected East Ham MP Stephen Timms attended with guest speakers John Smith, who went on to help establish the Premier League despite suffering a horrendous speech impediment until he was 17-years-old, and a “motivational” speech by Robbie Lyle who created the phenomenal Arsenal Fan TV.
Martin Cumella, chairman of the Learning Revolution Trust, was presented with a cheque for £51,413.50 for the charity which helps students overcome financial barriers to achieve their dreams.
He paid tribute to all students who “often learn and achieve under difficult and extreme odds” as he thanked sponsors for continuing to support the awards and trust.
Ms Gowland, who has been associated with the college for more than 20 years, will be replaced by Paul Stephen.