Student Role Models Honoured With Top College Awards
An ex-offender who turned his life around and earned a place at a prestigious art institution was among a group of students honoured for their learning achievements.
Kensington and Chelsea College’s 2010 Learner Achievement Awards saw 19 students bag a series of top accolades in front of proud family, friends and tutors.
The evening ceremony kicked of with performances by the college’s dance students and took place at the college’s Wornington Centre in Wornington Road. (Gallery, opens in new page)
Loud cheers greeted the award winners as they collected their certificate and prize from the Deputy Mayor of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Maighread Condon-Simmonds.
The biggest applause for the night was reserved for HNC Fine Art student, John Costi, who scooped the Learner of the Year title and a cheque for £100.
John, 22, from North London, decided to take control of his life by enrolling on a HNC Fine Art course whilst completing a custodial sentence at an open prison. He was released three-days a week to attend the course at Kensington and Chelsea College.
Despite his surroundings and circumstances John continued to develop his passion for art and successfully completed the last phase of the course on his release from prison in February.
The emerging artist is now preparing to study for a Fine Art Degree at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
Speaking out about youth crime John said:
‘Seeing all the pain and upset I was causing my loved ones and seeing friends pass away through violence was the turning point for me. Street life wasn’t the life I wanted, things had to change and getting back in to education was my way out of it.’
‘Being at college has helped get my life back on track and I feel like I have more options and opportunities in front of me now. Winning the Learner of the Year was a really nice surprise as I wasn’t expecting to take the top prize.’
Talking about his love for art and future plans, John added:
‘I’ve always had a passion for art from a young age but never took it further it until now. My paintings and drawings are quite poignant and often reflect my experiences. A lot of it is about street life and trying to pass on the message that you can change your ways and your life.’
‘My dream is to become a successful, full-time artist. I’ve had fantastic support from the tutors at the college, along with my parents and want to thank them for not giving up on me!’
John was nominated for the award by the college’s Head of Fine Art, Brian Deighton, who described him as
Heaping further praise, Brian added:
‘John has shown considerable commitment to his studies despite extremely difficult circumstances. He has risen to the pressures and deadlines of the course and is living proof that it’s never too late to change your life or turn things around. John thoroughly deserves this award.’
The tributes continued through the night as students were praised in speeches by the college’s Vice Principal, Amanda Hayes and The Deputy Mayor.
Students were recognised for their achievements through three award categories – Learner of the Year, Highly Commended and Commitment to Learning.
Category – Learner of the Year:
- John Costi
Category – Highly Commended:
- Mark Howells – Creative Music Producer Level 2
- Antony Ellison- Creative Music Producer Level 2
- Lisa Johnson – NVQ3 Child Care Learning and Development
- Darren Johnson – NVQ3 Child Care Learning and Development
- Kiri Alexandra Joseph- NVQ2 Beauty Therapy
- Rosine Diouedi – NVQ2 Beauty Therapy
- Gay Kimmings – NVQ Level 3 Health and Social Care
- Errol Lindsey – ICBCS Level 1 – Construction skills
Category – Commitment to Learning:
- Kate Grimes – BTEC National Certificate Level 3 in Jewellery
- Shamim Sikder – BTEC National Certificate Ceramics
- Robin Lewis – BTEC Design and Practice Award Level 3
- Ruta Niparaviciene – NVQ3 Beauty Therapy
- Enkelina Dedja – NVQ2 Beauty Therapy
- Andra Algadhi – NVQ3 Beauty Therapy
- Gladis Ferrer Abalos – NVQ3 Beauty Therapy
- Charlene Galea – NVQ3 Beauty Therapy
- Catherine Smith – ABC Level 2 Certificate for Pastry Chefs and Patissiers
- Kanika-Mafuane Bedeau – Access to Social Work
Date published: 20 July 2010