Kurdish student bags overall progress award at ceremony for new Northamptonshire college campus

Kurdish student Stira Haj Ibhrahim with her family.
Kurdish student Stira Haj Ibhrahim with her family.
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The first intake of students at Northampton College’s new-look Daventry campus has been honoured for their hard work and dedication at an awards ceremony.

More than 400 people, including students, their families and a host of VIP guests, attended the ceremony at the new multi-million-pound campus in Badby Road West, Daventry On Thursday, June 22.

The 'Best Overall Progress' award went to Kurdish student Stira Haj Ibhrahim, who came to England with her husband from Syria eight years ago.

The principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett, said: “For Stira, the decision to study at Northampton College has truly proved to be life-changing and we wish her every success for a sparkling career in the fashion industry.

“Her story is inspirational and these awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the lives and achievements of our students who are helping to make Daventry Campus an incredible place to study.”

When Stira first came to England, Stira couldn’t speak any English and didn’t even dare to answer her front door for the first six months.

Eventually, she developed the courage to join the college and enrolled in a course in English for speakers of other languages.

She was inspired to learn words and phrases by reading everything she could get her hands on and watching children’s TV with her young child.

Stira’s confidence improved and she has now completed her Level 3 Art and Design qualification with flying colours.

She has now received an unconditional offer from the University of Northampton on the Textiles for Fashion degree course.

Among the other winners was mature student Gina Newell, who picked up the award for Most Dedicated Student having retired from her career as a police officer before coming to college to re-invent herself as a hairdresser.

Jamie Harris was named 'Most Determined Student' having joined the college to follow a course in transport maintenance while Shannon Timms was given a special award for ‘overcoming challenges’.

The awards were presented by Conservative MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris alongside representatives from sponsors including Daventry District Council and Tidy Technology.

Mr Heaton-Harris revealed he had discussed the ceremony with The Queen while he was ‘held hostage’ at Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, and Her Majesty had passed on her best wishes to all the students.