Celebrating and Rewarding Student Successes

17th May 2018

Last week we held our annual Celebration Event. Students, parents, teachers and guests from local industry and educational institutions came to our college to recognise the hard work, commitment and achievements of our students.

We’re very lucky to have been joined by none other than British broadcast journalist, and Richard Taunton alumnus, Emma Vardy, who presented a number of awards. Emma, formerly a Regents Park student and now a political correspondent with the BBC, gave a motivating and highly entertaining talk, which featured an overview of her career to date, as well as some challenging moments and helpful tips for our students for being successful in their own careers.

Emma says, “It was brilliant to make a return to my old college where I have so many great memories. I was immensely impressed with the talent of the students and especially enjoyed hearing the stories of those who have overcome adversity to achieve their goals. I wish them all great success in the future.

Awards were also presented by Laurence Dowding (father of Jack – see below) and Roger Parsons (a member of the Old Tauntonian Association and Liz Henderson (daughter of Ted Colenutt, a much respected Deputy Headmaster of Taunton’s School and Old Tauntonian).

Our awards recognise the achievements of students across a broad range of subjects and their contribution to college life and the student experience, and those who have overcome various challenges through resilience and perseverance. A total of 28 awards were presented, several of which sponsored by local organisations such as Mayflower Theatre, Southampton City Council, the Southampton Rotary Club and the University of Southampton.

Here are just some of the award categories…

Molly Ayres Award

Molly Ayres was a piano teacher who, before sadly passing away, set up a trust fund to benefit one student each year, who aspires to study performance at a music conservatoire.

The award was won by Hanna Orizi Zinatoulina, an extremely accomplished musician who plays the piano to an exceptionally high standard – leaving our visiting examiner speechless this year!  She also sings to a high level and demonstrates good accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and is a key member of extra-curricular groups including choir, the Adeline group and jazz band. Hanna has secured a place to study music at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, which she truly deserves.

Jack’s Award

This award is dedicated to the memory of former student, Jack Dowding, who sadly passed away last year. Jack was a real fighter and known for his perseverance in his studies. Therefore, this award goes to the student who has shown particular determination to succeed in their education. Jack’s father, Laurence, presented the award.

This award was won by Will Warrener, who joined us from Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, for his dedication to coaching. He has proven to be a huge success in the disability sport coaching sessions, using his sign language skills to communicate with those who are hearing impaired. Will is always keen to give everything a go and has proven to be a real character in the group, making a really enjoyable environment for all. Will is on track to receive a D*D* and is planning to go to Solent University to continue his football coaching studies – something that he never thought possible.

Spirit of Richard Taunton Award

This award is given to a student who embodies the spirit of the college by being community minded, inclusive and hardworking, and this year it was won by Chloe Humby who joined us from Testwood Sports College.

In lessons, Chloe is incredibly enthusiastic and is always supportive of other students when they are finding the content challenging. She has a very positive approach to every task and truly motivates her fellow classmates. Chloe is a great asset as a Student Ambassador, where she has spoken at Open Evenings and represented the college at school careers fairs and assemblies. This is just a fraction of her involvement with the college. She also wrote a day-in-the-life article for our prospectus and took a starring role in our latest marketing video. Chloe is also a  Sixth Form Academy student and is very actively involved in many of our enrichment activities from Rock Challenge to our recent musical Sister Act, all while studying four subjects!  Chloe plans to go to the University of Southampton to study psychology.

Reading List Foundation Scholarship

The Reading List Foundation is a charity that has been set up to establish a £250 scholarship to exceptional year 13 students from lower-income families about to start at university.  The amount is roughly what a student spends on textbooks in a year, and so the award will provide funding towards the recipient’s reading list.  This award was won by Atiya Taylor, previously from the Romsey School, for her dedication to college work and perseverance, despite some very difficult challenges . Not only is she achieving good grades in her law essays and mocks but she has secured several work experience opportunities in the legal field as she is determined to create a better future for herself. Atiya is planning to go to the University of Southampton to study law.


It is not just our students who received awards. We also announced the winners of our highly coveted Support Staff Member of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards. A student vote named Sarah White as the winner of Teacher of the Year. Students commented that…

“Sarah is one of the best teachers and inspirational people I have met. She provides a supportive and welcoming atmosphere to all her students, at any time. She does more than her job description ensuring that all her students are happy, healthy and confident with their work and themselves.”

“She makes lessons enjoyable and gets us all excited about the work.”

“She is there whenever we all need it and puts her heart and soul into helping us achieve our potential. Sarah goes over and above for all of her students and for me personally has helped me immensely by providing me with constructive criticism, kindness and genuine support.”

Liz Lee, our Deputy Principal, says, “This was, once again, a fantastic afternoon where we celebrated the hard work and commitment of our students. It was wonderful to have so many students, parents and friends of the college there to applaud our award winners. ”

Congratulations to all the well-deserved winners and thank you to everyone who attended. It certainly was an afternoon to remember!

You can view all the photos from this event here.