Top class students are 'an inspiration'
AFTER discovering she had fallen pregnant, sixth form student Jayne Foster thought she would have to give up her education for good.
But two years later the 19-year-old from Blurton is successfully juggling her studies with being a mum to 21-month-old son Max.
And now Jayne is on course to complete her BTEC in graphic design and AS art qualification by June.
Her determination to complete her studies was recognised at the Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College's awards presentation evening.
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Jayne, who was awarded the Miller Construction Prize for Art and Design, remembered a time when she thought her chance of a career was over.
She said: "I never really planned to have children so when I found out I was pregnant, my world stopped.
"I was really ill throughout my pregnancy and had to drop out of school. I thought that's it. I'm destined to be a stay-at-home mum on benefits."
After Max's birth in April 2011, Jayne suffered from post-natal depression.
She said: "It was horrible and I just wanted to do something to stop feeling that way. My nan suggested that I join the sixth form college and offered to look after Max while I was at school. It worked really well for a while but in September she hurt her back and couldn't care for him anymore."
Jayne was forced to take more time off while she applied for financing from Care to Learn.
She said: "When I was awarded the funding I found a really good child minder for Max and I was able to go back."
Jayne's determination has paid off, as she has already achieved a distinction in her graphics course and a C in AS art. She hopes to continue her studies at Staffordshire University in September.
Jayne said she felt 'honoured' to receive her award.
She added: "I'm proud of myself and I want other young mums to know that just because you have a child, it doesn't mean your world has to end.
"I'm so happy that I get to have Max and carry on with my life."
Around 200 students and parents attended the annual prize presentation ceremony on Wednesday night at the Atrium of the college on Leek Road in Stoke. Twenty one prizes were awarded to students aged between 16 and 18, some of whom triumphed academically, some who have overcome adversity or have made extraordinary contributions to college life.
Eki Oviasu, from Biddulph, who is studying for a BTEC in applied science was awarded The Old Hanliensian Prize for Science having moved to Stoke-on-Trent from Nigeria in August 2010.
She lives with her grandmother, but speaks to her parents daily, though settling into a new life without them made Eki's first year of studying particularly challenging.
Now she helps out at Biddulph Pentecostal Church and has many interests including star gazing.
The 18-year-old said: "It was very strange to move to England on my own but I really wanted to study science.
"When I finish at the sixth form college I want to go on and study town and city planning though, because I've seen the speed at which Nigeria has developed and been fascinated with how the planners have coped with organising all the resources for that."
College Principal Paul Mangnall, left, said: "These awards reflect not only the academic excellence of our students, but also their community spirit. We hope all of our award winners are encouraged by the recognition they have received and go on to enjoy a very successful future."