Tears of joy as caring student Meredith scoops top award at Chichester College’s glittering ceremony

Mer Buckley

Caring Meredith Buckley was the star of the show as students and members of staff scooped awards at ceremony with a glittering night of celebration at Chichester College.

Meredith got the top gong a stars of 2017 night in which a host of exceptional achievements were marked on Thursday (9 November). The college paid tribute to hard work, determination and accomplishments over the past year at the ceremony, sponsored by the University of Chichester.

The ceremony celebrated dreams and aspirations with a number of themed performances, including opening with a fashion parade showcasing the designs of the college’s fashion students.

It was brought to life with a number of spectacular performances from dance and musical theatre students, who staged a show-stopping performance of  the opening number from the musical Fame.

And performers from Theatre Inc, a specialised training company supporting young performers with disabilities, also took to the stage to perform “You’re Welcome” from Disney’s Moana.

Musical Theatre

But the night belonged to former student Meredith Buckley, who was named the college’s Brightest Star of 2017.

Meredith, 20, completed her Level 3 Art & Design Diploma earlier this year – and was praised by her tutor, Maria Smith, for her devotion to her studies, undertaken whilst caring for her disabled mum, and siblings.

She said: “I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe it. I have no words. I’m just overwhelmed and surprised. It’s amazing!”

Meredith, who cycled a 14-mile round-trip to college every day from Southbourne, was joined at the ceremony by her mum, Julie, and her family.

Julie added: “We’re so proud of her.I’m proud of everybody who was here at the ceremony receiving an award as they have all done exceptionally well, but to hear Meredith called out as the star of the year – that made me cry. She worked so hard, and she does so much.”

Stars 2017

Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group, presented the awards. She said: “We were privileged to celebrate the achievements of some of our truly amazing students and staff.

“To hear their stories, the obstacles they have overcome to get to where they are, is truly inspiring and it is a joy for each of us to be part of their journey.

“The college’s aim is to change lives through learning, and nights like this help us to see just how we are achieving that. We see our students grow, making strides to achieving their dreams and aspirations – and that’s why we are here.

“It is also important to celebrate the achievements of our dedicated staff, who go above and beyond all that is asked of them to ensure our students are getting the best opportunities and experience we can provide.

“Congratulations to all of our award winners. And we must, of course, also say thank you to the staff and students who were involved in organising and setting up the event.”