Association of Colleges Student of the Year 2011 joint first prize winner Sabyha Khan from Uxbridge College with (left) Assistant Director at AQA, Suzy Alderson and AoC Chair, John BinghamUxbridge College’s Sabyha Khan was among exceptional students from colleges across the UK who won Association of Colleges Student of the Year Awards. The awards, given to students for their remarkable

Suzy_Alderson_Sabyha_Khan_John_Bingham_webAssociation of Colleges Student of the Year 2011 joint first prize winner Sabyha Khan from Uxbridge College with (left) Assistant Director at AQA, Suzy Alderson and AoC Chair, John BinghamUxbridge College’s Sabyha Khan was among exceptional students from colleges across the UK who won Association of Colleges Student of the Year Awards. The awards, given to students for their remarkable personal achievements, were presented at AoC’s Annual Conference in Birmingham on 16 November.

The competition, now in its fifth year, and this year sponsored by leading English exam board AQA, recognises excellence which can be in any academic, vocational or extra-curricular area. Winners must have also made a significant contribution to college life or their local community, and have inspired others.

Joint 1st prize: Sabyha Khan (18) – led the successful public speaking team at Uxbridge College and achieved high grades at A-level to fulfil her ambition to study Medicine at Cambridge University.

Joint 1st prize: Keith Southern (55) – enrolled on the National Diploma in Music Technology at Mid Cheshire College 38 years after leaving school with no qualifications, and is training to be a teacher.

2nd prize: Joe Panasiuk (18) – an exceptional enterprise student, young entrepreneur and teenage volunteer, Joe is a role model for his younger sister who he cares for following their mother’s death.

3rd Prize: Mahamed Awale, 16 – a dedicated UK Youth MP and entrepreneur, ambitious A-level student Mahamed recently appeared on the BBC’s Young Apprentice show with Sir Alan Sugar.

Sabyha chose to study for her A-levels at Uxbridge College instead of progressing to her school sixth form. At College, tutors recognised and supported her academic abilities, helping Sabyha to achieve an impressive two A* and two A grades at A-level in August this year. These grades were sufficient to earn her a place at Cambridge University, where she has just started a degree in Medicine. In the future, she would like to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. Sabyha was also nominated for her extra-curricular achievements, which show an early commitment to public service. As captain, she led the College’s public speaking team to victory in the local and regional heats of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition. She tutored other students as a volunteer in the College’s maths clinic and orchestrated the winning campaign for a candidate in the elections to the student council.

Sabyha, of Myddleton Road, Uxbridge said: “I’m quite shocked at the moment – it’s a real honour and a huge award to win. I’m surprised. I am just getting started at university and into my course. It’s hard work.”

Tony Alderman, AoC board member and one of the judges, said: “We were delighted once again to receive so many nominations of a high quality that represent the diversity of the sector. The two joint winners, one aged 18 and the other 55, are such wonderful examples of this.

“Sabyha’s success underlines the fact that many of those third of all 16-18 year olds who study for their A-levels in colleges, achieve excellent results; while Keith’s story shows that it is never too late to return to college and gain qualifications – it is fantastic that he will give back through becoming a teacher.”

Suzy Alderson, Assistant Director at AQA, said: “AQA is very pleased to be this year’s sponsor. The Student of the Year Awards reflect the very best across the college sector with a diverse group of winners with unique personal journeys to success.

“Their example inspires us, coming as they do from a range of backgrounds. Their achievements, their contribution to college and community are a wonderful reflection of different talents and abilities. I am sure we will hear great things of them all in the future.”

Laraine Smith, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “We know how tough the competition was at these national awards – but of course all of us at Uxbridge College agree that the judges made the right choice! Sabyha is among our students past and present who have both achieved in their own right, and made a significant impact on the lives of others. We are all incredibly proud of her and delighted to see her recognized nationally for her exceptional achievements.”

The winners span the spectrum of achievement across further education, sixth form and specialist colleges in the UK. Almost 40 colleges, representing more than 300,000 students, made nominations for this year’s competition. The awards were presented by Chair of AoC Board, John Bingham.

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