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House of Commons awards night for former Witney college student

24th Jan 2018

It’s not every day that you get to rub shoulders with MPs and Peers at a special awards night. Yet that’s exactly what happened to former Abingdon & Witney College student Kirsty Newman at the House of Commons on Wednesday evening (17th January).

The 18-year-old Early Years Education and Care student from Chipping Norton, who studied for her two-year CACHE Level 3 Diploma at the College’s Witney campus, was a runner-up at the Association of Colleges (AoC) Annual Conference back in November 2017.

That night, she was ‘Highly Commended’ by the AoC and invited to attend the House of Commons event along with other finalists from across the country.

The students were there as part of the annual AoC Gold Awards, which celebrate the achievements of college alumni who have gone on to lead successful careers in many industries and was hosted by David Hughes, CEO of the AoC. Such influential people who were recognised at this year’s awards included broadcaster and presenter Stephanie Hirst, BBC reporter Sima Kotecha and actor and singer Shaun Escoffery.

Amongst the Members of Parliament was Witney Conservative MP Robert Courts, who was there to offer local support and congratulate Kirsty on her commendation, saying that “her ability to overcome her own personal hardships to excel both in the classroom and the community made her truly remarkable”.

Kirsty, who is studying for a degree in Primary Education at Oxford Brookes University, was joined at the glitzy occasion by her father David, along with Abingdon & Witney College Principal Di Batchelor, Head of Faculty Siân Cound, and her former course tutor Trina Hovard.

“I am so grateful to have experienced this!”

Reflecting on her achievements and the awards evening, Kirsty said: “It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to celebrate the success that I’ve had with college; firstly to be nominated for Student of the Year from the College, to then attending an awards evening in Birmingham and then on to the House of Commons!”

“It was very inspirational to meet those who had achieved their goals through college as a starting point”, she continued, “and it was also a pleasure to meet our local MP who was very supportive with my career choice and education.”

“It was also lovely to hear from the AoC speakers as they are very inspirational and make you feel proud of your own success. This process and achievement is something I may not have the opportunity to do again and I am so grateful to have experienced this!”

Di Batchelor congratulated Kirsty on her journey, saying: “We’re all very proud of Kirsty and the outstanding progress she has made since starting with the College and now at Oxford Brookes. She is a shining example of how far you can go with passion and dedication for a career that you care about, and being amongst other college students and alumni at the Gold Awards it’s really inspiring to see and hear about their successes and achievements.”

“We’ll wish Kirsty all the very best and look forward to hearing of her experiences in the future.”