Top students making 
the grade

(left to right) Izabela, Michael and Carol with their awards
(left to right) Izabela, Michael and Carol with their awards
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Three of Forth Valley College’s brightest students received prizes for their outstanding achievements.

A science and computer whizz, a business brain and a budding engineer scooped prestigious departmental prizes, receiving a cut glass trophy and £100 at the college’s awards night last Thursday at Stirling Castle.

Around 93 per cent of the college’s 16,500 students go on to employment or university after completing their courses and the top trio are shining examples.

Michael Johnstone from Falkirk’s Bog Road area was named the most promising engineering student after completing an HND in electrical engineering with aplomb.

He went to college straight after school four years ago and did his NC, NQ and HND and has now entered the second year of a degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

The modest 21-year-old said: “I am shocked and surprised and really was not expecting anything like this. I didn’t even know there was a prize for each department. The prize money will certainly come in very handy as I’ve just moved to Glasgow.”

Fellow Bairn Carol Chrysanthous (45) scooped her award for business after graduating from an administration and technology course, while Izabela Szymczykowska (27), from Denny, was awarded the applied science and computing prize.

Married Carol, who went to Graeme High School, previously worked in retail but decided to gain qualifications to move into management through a three-year HND course.

Her hard work has paid off and she is now in a management position with Catering Academy.

She said: “I was happy to be graduating with my HND, the extras are totally unexpected. I was absolutely amazed when I found out I had won the department prize. My family is really proud of me.

“It was a big career change for me, but I felt I had to do it and I loved college. It gave me the skills to move into management. ”

Izabela, who achieved an HND in chemical process technology, is now continuing her studies in chemical engineering at Heriot Watt University.

She said: “I really couldn’t believe it, but I’m so pleased and all my friends and family are very proud of me.”

College principal Linda McKay said: “As always this year’s graduates have worked very hard throughout the course of their studies and have been a credit to themselves and to the college.

“I would like to wish them all the best in their future careers and am confident they will make a success of whatever they choose to do.”

The three awards were sponsored by AG Office Supplies, Falkirk Council Provost Pat Reid and OPITO.