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Pride, laughter and a few tears were order of the day for Derwen College Graduation.

Former students, their families, staff and community gathered for a grand Ceremony held at Lion Quays Hotel and Resort, near Oswestry, on Saturday.

Graduates Sophie, Izzy, Joe, Mary (with the Caitlin Kelly award) and Anna with High Sheriff of Shropshire Selina Graham and Chair of Governors K Kimber.     

More than 180 guests, including 37 students and their families, staff, supporters and local dignitaries attended the glittering event. All there to celebrate the inspirational achievements of our students.

Former students were given their certificates of graduation and individual prizes – lasting mementoes of their time here. Drinks and a buffet lunch were served by students on our Hospitality and Food pathway. Entertainment was provided by Performing Art street dance team Derwen Dance Crew (DDC. Then the ceremony closed with a performance by sign, song and dance group Derwen on Tour (DOT).

Local dignitaries attended to congratulate students on completing courses that enable them to achieve their ambitions.

Guests included Mayor of Oswestry Jay Moore, High Sheriff of Shropshire Selina Graham, Selattyn & Gobowen parish chairman Craig Emery, and Cae Glas Lodge Freemasons Secretary Pete Adams. College Industry Champions, volunteers who share their expertise to support students and staff, also attended. These were poet and author Jan Hedges, Moreton Hall School chef Stephen Conroy and owner of Oswestry Old School House restaurant Sophie Dillon.

The Graduation was a chance for students to dress up and catch up with old friends to talk about their plans for the future.

Recognising individual talents

Graduate AJ received a Drama Award from Performing Arts lead Jessie Vaughan.

We presented individual prizes to exceptional students. These included the new Caitlin Kelly Spirit Award in memory of a former student who tragically died before being able to graduate. The award recognising spirit and personal growth was awarded to Retail graduate Mary Tait.

Graduate Amy Jude – who was Student Union Board President for two years – was awarded the Jonathon Wooldridge Cup for Achievement in Drama. She was also able to share news that she has been shortlisted in the Association of College’s Adult Student of the Year awards.

Performing Arts graduate Anna Redding won two awards: Outstanding Student Performing Arts and Overall Outstanding Student.

Derwen College Principal Meryl Green said it had been a wonderful occasion, which had made her very proud.

She said: “Thank you to all the students and their families who made this such a special occasion. It’s such a privilege to be able to celebrate the achievements of our students. It is always sad to see students leave us but a delight to hear what the future holds for them.

“We hope that the learning and skills they develop at Derwen College will stay with them and help them through the next stages of their lives into work and independent living.”

And the prizewinners were:

Chair of Governors K Kimber, Mayor of Oswestry Jay Moore, Outstanding Student Anna Redding and Principal Meryl Green.

Outstanding Student Hospitality and Food – The Emma Briscoe Cup  awarded to Peter Davies

Outstanding Student Horticulture – Frank Matthews Cup awarded to Matthew Beni

Outstanding Student Retail and Enterprise – Retail Cup awarded to Mary Tait

Jonathon Wooldridge Cup for Achievement in Drama – awarded to Amy Jude

Bernice Willis Cup for Achievement in Art awarded to Heather Phillips

Outstanding Student Performing Arts – Neil Dew Cup awarded to Anna Redding

Outstanding Satellite Student – Walford awarded to Thomas Abram

Outstanding Satellite Student – Ludlow awarded to Louis Baker

Outstanding Student – Independence Skills – Mary Morris Bowl awarded to Peter Davies

Outstanding Student –  Independence Skills – Paddy Hughes Cup – Amy Clarke

Achievement in Leisure Activities – Boulton Shield – Imogen Wilkes

Guests were treated to entertainment from Derwen Dance Crew (DDC) and Derwen On Tour.

Outstanding Sports Student – Susannah Ruth Trophy – Luke Hodge

Irene Gull Cup – Self Advocacy – Oliver Burrows

The William Chapple Cup (showing kindness and consideration to others) – Isobel Smith

Caitlin Kelly Spirit Award – Mary Tait

Richard Dodd Memorial Trophy  – Matthew Beni

Overall Outstanding Student 2022 – Susannah Ruth Trophy – Anna Redding

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