CAVA award winners

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The CAVA awards stand out as a yearly highlight for the entire team, shining a spotlight on exceptional students through two awards: the Academic Achievement Award and the Commitment to Study Award. Each year we receive remarkable nominations, and the 2022-23 academic year was no exception. The winners this year were embodiments of determination and hard work, overcoming significant challenges to achieve their well-earnt success.

The winner of the Commitment to Study Award was Danny Svenson who studied the Access to HE Diploma (Land-based Studies) at Bishop Burton College. The winner of the Academic Achievement Award was Sophie Clark who studied the Access to HE Diploma (Science) at Nottingham Trent University.

Danny Svenson

As the most mature student in his group, Danny initially had concerns about fitting in. He faced significant challenges with technology, struggling initially with basic computer skills like using word processors and spreadsheets. Undeterred, Danny dedicated extra time with learning mentors to improve his skills, eventually mastering various software.

Danny also faced a range of personal struggles, including a marital breakdown which led to a period of homelessness, financial difficulties and mental health issues; at times fearing this balance was compromising his academic performance. Despite these obstacles, Danny maintained impressive attendance and continued to submit high-quality work.

Remarkably, throughout these trials, Danny's determination never wavered. He continued to support his peers, even when facing his own hardships, and his dedication paid off. Achieving Merits and Distinctions, Danny not only succeeded in enrolling in the BSc in Conservation but also secured a job at Sewerby Hall and Gardens, aligning perfectly with his passion for animal work and conservation. Danny's story is a powerful example of unwavering commitment and resilience, an inspiration to adults considering returning to education.

Sophie Clark

Overcoming personal challenges, including the loss of a family member and an initial educational setback, Sophie demonstrated exceptional determination and courage. After a period of working as a sales executive, she reignited her passion for science by returning to college, transforming from a hesitant newcomer to a confident, respected course representative.

Sophie consistently achieved Distinctions in all her assessments, setting a high standard with presentations that her tutor stated ‘could rival those of seasoned lecturers’. Her work, particularly in her assignment about reproduction, left audiences thoroughly impressed and earned high praise from professionals in the field.

Sophie's visit to the Microbiology lab was a pivotal moment, with her work impressing the Head of Microbiology, who compared it to that of a second-year university student. This recognition boosted her confidence and spurred her to break new boundaries, sharing her knowledge and inspiring her peers.

Not only did Sophie and Danny win the CAVA student awards, both of them have been chosen as the runner-up for the national Keith Fletcher awards, where they will be celebrated on Wednesday 6 March at the House of Commons.

Congratulations from the CAVA team on their success and we’d like to wish you all the best for your future studies.