Celebrating Exceptional Achievements at Richard Taunton

12th May 2017

Students, parents, teachers at guests from local industry and educational institutions enjoyed an amazing afternoon of celebrations at our annual awards ceremony, which took place on 11 May.

The event featured an incredible line up of presenters including Councillor Satvir Kaur, a well-known political figure in the Southampton community.  Satvir gave an inspirational speech about her own education journey and how, through sheer hard work and determination, she was able to achieve her dream of meeting Barack Obama.

Satvir, says, “It was an absolute honour to present and be guest speaker at the Richard Taunton Celebration Event. Amazing talent and achievements by all”.

This year’s award ceremony featured a number of new awards…

Jack’s Award for Perseverance
Jack, a student at Richard Taunton, tragically passed away earlier this year. To keep his memory alive and to recognize others who overcome similar challenges to him, Jack’s father, Laurence Dowding, sponsored an award in his honour. Laurence gave a touching and emotive speech about his son and his love of the college. He said, “Jack wasn’t the brightest student or greatest sportsman but he persevered and persevered to achieve his goals”. He went on to say that Jack was very fond of the quote by golfer Gary Player who said, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

The recipient of this award was student Gemma Chopra who worked exceptionally hard, whilst overcoming some personal challenges. She persevered with her studies and went on to pass her courses despite the time she lost at college as a result of the number of hospital stays she had to endure as a result of her cystic fibrosis condition.

Ted Colenutt Bursary
Ted Colenutt was a former pupil as well as a highly respected teacher and Deputy Principal at Richard Taunton. When he sadly passed away he set up a university bursary fund over a five year period, which would be awarded to a different student each year. His son and daughter attended the ceremony to present this award to a very deserving student, Lucky Kavuu.

Lucky is originally from a small Kenyan village. When he arrived in the UK five years ago he struggled a little with the language and the culture. In his own words, Lucky had a ‘rocky start’ in education and needed to re-sit some of his GCSEs when he joined Richard Taunton.  While at college he really flourished and went on to study A Levels and be named football ‘Player of the Year’. He set up a blog that talks about goal setting and produced and starred in his own 60 second motivational video. Through hard work and determination Lucky has now accepted a place to study Airline, Airport and Aviation Management at London Metropolitan University, so that he can achieve his dream of becoming a pilot. Lucky is a living example that you can be what you want to be in life if you are prepared to work hard for it.

Other notable awards include…

Principal’s Award
The highly coveted Principal’s Award went to student Tom Besley for his strong work ethic, positive outlook, commitment to his studies and his participation at every college event. He is a fantastic role model for his peers and an integral part of the college Jazz Band, an exceptional member of the college productions ensemble and a great asset to our Rock Challenge team, where he took responsibility for music editing and stage crew management. Next steps for Tom include working at a school in Kenya followed by Music Technology studies at Leeds College of Music.

Teacher of the Year Award
A student vote named English Teacher, James Shears, as winner of this award. Students commented that:

“He is always sees the best in his students, and no matter what difficulties they have encountered before.”
“He really believes in us and our ability to achieve.”
“He cares deeply about all of the students he teaches.”
“He has endless patience as well as a fantastic sense of fun.”

Principal Alice Wrighton, says, “What a memorable, moving and inspirational afternoon! I’m very proud of my college and our amazing staff and students. I’m thrilled to see how far our students have progressed during their time with us and the barriers some have overcome. It was so heartening to hear about their next steps, which ranged from teaching abroad, studying at University and performing at renowned conservatoires. Exciting futures lie ahead and I am so pleased that we were able to play a part in preparing them for their future careers. Here at Richard Taunton we always begin with the end in mind!”

Companies such as ABM Catering and Southampton City Council together with Southampton Solent University, the Dowding family and the Colenutt family kindly sponsored a number of the awards. Their generosity and support was very much appreciated by all.