Achieving a 2.1 degree while juggling a full-time job, a flooded home and a sick child meant Ailsa Woods was a clear winner of the Student of the Year Award.
The 41-year-old, from Chathill, is a mature student who was studying for a BSc while working four days a week as a senior nurse.
In June last year, her home was flooded and temporary accommodation had to be found.
Due to the upset, her eldest son, who is disabled, had a massive seizure and was very ill in hospital for five days. He continued to have seizures after he was discharged, which caused more concern.
The only house they could rent was 20 miles from her youngest son’s school. It had no internet access, making her degree work difficult.
They moved home just before Christmas 2012 and in January Ailsa had to have an operation to remove her gall bladder, with her dissertation due to be submitted at the end of the month.
She achieved a 2.1 BSc with honours.
On receiving her award, she said: “I feel very very proud to have won. I had a lot of determination and support from my husband and family and my work colleagues. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Also shortlisted were Beth Forsyth, 18, who achieved the highest grades in maths and biology in her A-Levels at Ponteland High School and is going to read natural science at Cambridge University; Calum Thompson, 18, who has taken up a place at Masstricht University in the Netherlands after his hard work at King Edward VI School in Morpeth, and twins Heather and Megan McCoull, 18, who worked hard to obtain fantastic results at KEVI with Heather going on to Cambridge University and Megan to York.