It was a night of celebration and inspiration as high achieving students were rewarded for their hard work.

New City College – which has campuses in Redbridge and Epping Forest – recognised its high achievers at the college’s annual student achievement awards evening on Monday, October 7.

Students were treated to a special evening at the Leonardo Royal London City Hotel, beside the Tower of London.

They were joined by the mayors of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Redbridge, GLA member for east London Unmesh Desai, and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes.

Special guest for the evening was BBC news presenter and reporter Ashley John-Baptiste who spoke to attendees about his upbringing in care and achieving his ambition to make it in broadcasting.

Gerry McDonald, group principal and CEO, New City College said: “Tonight, we celebrate the awe-inspiring achievements of our students, many of whom have overcome incredible odds to become successful and be on this stage tonight.

“We witness the power of further education to change lives and help people achieve their ambitions and dreams.”

Christianna Vitanova, a student at the Epping Forest campus, won sports studies student of the year, Christianna is studying for a BTEC extended diploma in sport and exercise, in which she has completed distinctions in all her units.

She is also a competing rhythmic gymnast for Great Britain.

Christianna trains 18 hours a week as well as competing abroad in competitions which has seen her become both English and British champion.

Charlie Poulter won IT student of the year; she has achieved distinctions in every unit of her course.

Andrea Filipcuic won SEND student of the year. Teachers described Andrea as a “passionate and energetic student” and praised her for completing two work experience placements during the year.

Epping Forest basketball team won the group principal’s sports team award – the team won back to back championships in two different leagues.