Resilience and achievement celebrated at college’s first-ever Higher Education Awards

Hopwood Hall College and University Centre celebrated three exceptional students at their inaugural Higher Education Awards.

Principal and CEO Julia Heap, alongside Head of Higher Education Simon Farrar, presented the gongs at a special virtual graduation ceremony. 

The glitzy online event first featured the yearly Roll of Honour, in which the entire Class of 2020 was praised for their hard work and accomplishments. 

Stacia Temples, from Rochdale, then won the first-ever Remarkable Achievement and Dedication Award.

Having grown up in care and left school without any GCSEs, the 38-year-old was chosen for the award after overcoming numerous obstacles on the path to success.

Stacia is now a lecturer at Hopwood Hall and teaches Hair and Beauty students at the college’s contemporary Riverside Salon located at its Rochdale Campus.

Meanwhile, Foundation Degree in Sports graduate Joshua Watt earned the Academic Excellence Award.

Joshua, from Preston, achieved the highest mark in his class and was applauded for performing particularly well in the second year of his two-year course.

Finally, Saad Farooq picked up the Outstanding Research Award. 

Having completed the HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Saad’s independent project was commended for being extremely professional.

Hopwood Hall introduced the awards to further celebrate this year’s graduates, who finished the last months of their course during the national lockdown.

The learners would go on to express their appreciation by giving an overall satisfaction rate of 84.62% in the National Student Survey.

This impressive figure is up year-on-year despite the changes implemented from March.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College, said: 

“This seemed like the most fitting year to introduce these awards and shine a light on those who really have exceeded expectations.

“It just goes to show what our talented students can accomplish when they’re driven by ambition.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our three winners and the entire Class of 2020.”

Stacia Temples, winner of the Remarkable Achievement and Dedication Award, said: 

“It feels amazing to win this award and I’m filled with a real sense of achievement. 

“My advice to others is to follow your dreams. Do not think you cannot do it, because I did for so many years.” 

Saad Farooq, winner of the Outstanding Research Award, said: 

“This award is only possible because of the tutors who pushed me to be my best. 

“They really encouraged me to learn and this only increased my knowledge of electronics.”


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346