Forth Valley College awards:  Falkirk students gain top accolades

Forth Valley College has hosted two successful graduation events at Stirling Castle and Falkirk Town Hall.

Friday, 11th February 2022, 10:36 am
Updated Friday, 11th February 2022, 6:27 pm
Jade Harley, David Connell and Donna McLean.
Jade Harley, David Connell and Donna McLean.

More than 930 students were eligible to graduate this year - and 204 of them chose to collect their scrolls.

The keynote speech at at Stirling was given by Nicola Killean OBE, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, while guest speaker was Michelle Thomson MSP.

The Falkirk prize winners honoured at the town hall included:

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Megan Stewart

Jade Harley, 28, graduated with a HNC Working with Communities, and won the Most Inspirational Student in the Department of Business and Communities.

She has now progressed onto a Master in Learning and Communities at Edinburgh University.

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She said: “It was very unexpected to hear that I had won the award, given that I was very fortunate to be in such a great class with so many peers who had way more experience of working with communities than me.

“They are a very supportive group and everyone helped each other along during an unprecedented period through lockdown.

“I am very proud of myself. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about the lecturers I had, who did everything in their power to make things feel as good and normal as they possibly could through the challenging times.”

Donna McLean, 43, from Bainsford, graduated with a HNC Working with Communities, and won Most Promising Student in the Department of Business and Communities.

She now works in Alloa as a community development officer with Sauchie Active8.

She said: “I am overwhelmed at winning this award and did not expect it.

“I really did enjoy the course and it was a different experience, especially after being out of education for 26 years so it was quite hard. I would recommend it, but without the support of the lecturers and my fellow students I would not have been able to get the qualification for the role I am in today.”

Megan Stewart, 28, from Larbert, graduated with a HNC Childhood Practice, and won the Most Inspirational Student in Care, Sport and Construction and has progessed on to the University of Stirling to continue her studies at degree level.

She said: “I feel honoured and privileged.

“As a mature student, I was nervous to start college, but everyone made me feel so welcome, and I’ve had a great experience.

“I couldn’t have gained my HNC and Higher English without the support of my lecturers. My Forth Valley College qualifications have allowed me to continue my studies at the University of Stirling.”

David Connell, 33, from Polmont, graduated with an HND Applied Biological Science, and won the Most Promising Student in Engineering and Science.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win this award. I came back to study after a few years away and I was really apprehensive about it.

“Fortunately my classmates made me feel welcome and the staff at Forth Valley College are very supportive.

“Personally, it’s been a tough couple of years and I wouldn't have completed this course if it wasn't for the support from staff and students! They deserve an award.”

Four worthy candidates with Forth Valley College Board experience were also bestowed with the honour of Fellow of Forth Valley College at the Stirling ceremony.

These were academic Fiona Campbell a Forth Valley Board of Management member and former FVC evening class student, Anne Mearns a former deputy chair, and former Head of Service at the SQA, Colin Alexander an electrical and electronic engineer who had a 30 year career in the oil and gas industry across the world, and Fiona Brown who had a 37 year further education career before retiring in 2019 as vice principal learning and quality.

Dr Ken Thomson, principal, said: “It has been a very difficult and challenging two years for everyone, but it is now great to see a sense of normality return across society.

“That is why we were absolutely delighted to host two excellent graduation ceremonies this week and to celebrate the tremendous efforts of all students who showed determination, skill and adaptability to successfully complete their studies despite unprecedented circumstances.

“All our prizewinners this year have also excelled despite these challenges - they will be held up as inspirations to what is possible in further education for years to come.”

Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band were on hand to lead in the top table and stage party at both ceremonies.

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