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Hard work of students celebrated by Olympian

The hard work of Sunderland College students has been celebrated at two award evenings.

The achievements of over 70 students were recognised at the events which took place at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

At Monday’s event Team GB and Sunderland born Paralympian, John Robertson, was in attendance to deliver an inspirational speech and hand out prizes to the lucky students.

John, 40, was the skipper of the Team GB Sonar Class three person boat at this summer’s Paralympics. John and the team were on course for a bronze medal before a penalty points deduction meant the team finished fifth.

John, who was left without the use of his legs following a motorbike accident, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to attend events like this and see just how much hard work these learners put into their studies.

“With a little dedication almost anything is possible, whatever your background, and I’m sure many of these students will go on to achieve great things.”

The evening also acted as a graduation ceremony for many of the students who had achieved foundation level awards through the college’s popular Higher Education programme.

Kerry Morrison, 37, picked up the HND Manufacturing Engineering Award. Kerry had returned to Sunderland College to complete her HND ten years after first attending the college to do her HNC.

Kerry, from Sunderland, said: “I’m so proud to be able to come here with all my family and pick up this award.

“I’ve worked really hard and the college has been really supportive. This award is great recognition for all that hard work and it has been great meeting John.

“I watched him and the team during the Paralympic Games so meeting him in the flesh has been pretty amazing.”

Nigel Harrett, Sunderland College acting principal, said: “We’ve had two award evenings that have acted as a showcase of the talent and dedication of Sunderland College students.

“Across so many subject areas the college has some exceptional students who, thanks to the right support and quality of teaching, have been able to flourish, achieving the highest pass rates in the region for a fourth consecutive year for the college.

“These award evenings are a great way to recognise those students who have achieved so much in the past couple of years and we wish them every success in the future.”

Frankie Francis, from popular local band Frankie and The Heartstrings was the guest speaker at the first awards evening which took place on Thursday night (September 20).

Frankie handed out prizes to A Level and BTEC students, many who have now progressed onto universities around the country.

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