EastEnders actress joins celebration of achievements for college staff and students in Welwyn Garden City
PUBLISHED: 09:05 07 July 2019
An EastEnders actress and a Paralympian attended an awards ceremony at Oaklands College in Welwyn Garden City.
Oaklands College's Celebration of Success is held every year to acknowledge the achievements of students and staff members.
The ceremony commenced with a performance by performing and production arts student Shaun Foley, and a drinks and food buffet served by Chartwells, the college's catering provider.
EastEnders actress Kellie Bright attended the ceremony, and the college donated £1,000 to a charity of her choice, helping her fundraising efforts for a two-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.
More than 30 awards were presented, including the Principal's Award which was given to Abdullah Safaya, who attends the college's Springfield provision for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
Abdullah was born in Syria and lived there until 2013. Before arriving at Oaklands College, he had never attended school or had any formal education.
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Principal Zoe Hancock said: "Despite these struggles, he has always been a delightful, happy and appreciative young man, who for the first time in his life is now walking with the aid of a frame."
Former equestrian student and eight-time Paralympic medal winner Thomas Miller received the Chair's Award for his progress from Oaklands student to working as a volunteer at the Olympic equine facilities.
Mandy Bassett, the college's coordinator in early years, was awarded the Outstanding Lecturer Award, nominated by director of integration and progression Nicola Caiger.
Nicola said: "Mandy works closely with her students, encourages and supports them to achieve their full potential.
"Her high standards are evident in her teaching practice and the skills and knowledge she passes onto her students."
The last award presented was the Special Recognition Award, which was given to long-serving employee Kerry Lowe. Kerry joined 24 years ago as a lunchtime assistant at Springfield and leaves as head of Springfield and supported learning.
Principal Zoe said: "Kerry is extremely passionate about her students and her team and it has been a privilege to work closely with her and see first hand what a difference she has made to students and their families."