When they aren’t busy studying or working, many 18-year-olds choose to unwind by seeing their friends or chatting on social network sites.
But Blackpool and The Fylde College student Shannon Meldrum prefers to be busy planning and delivering drama and dance workshops to vulnerable and underprivileged local children.
It is this dedication to her art, coupled with her faultless work ethic, which saw Shannon named Student of the Year at the College’s 2014 awards ceremony.
Shannon, from Blackpool, who is studying a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts, scooped two awards at the event – a Gold award, from the School of Creative Arts and the College’s closely contended Young Student of the Year, recognising academic excellence, a commitment to study and extra-curricular activities and evidence of relevant work experience and volunteering.
College was a big step for Shannon, who was home-schooled until the age of 15. She said: “I enjoyed going to local drama groups when I was younger so I decided to take up performing arts.
“I fell in love with Blackpool And The Fylde College at an open day and I’ve never looked back. The teachers are so welcoming, I’ve made so many good friends, who are more like family, and loved every minute.”
Such is her talent, Shannon auditioned and was accepted into ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts), one of the UK’s top 20 drama schools, to continue her studies. Financial pressures mean she is unable to take her place, but will work towards her dream of a professional stage or television career by studying a BA (Hons) in Acting at B&FC’s University Centre.
She will also continue her volunteer work with local charity Aspired Futures, teaching performance skills to children aged eight to 16, who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these services – providing a fun and safe environment and encouraging people who never had any aspirations to go to college.
She said: “It’s an amazing thing to be involved with. I did a dance show with them recently and they really enjoyed it. I loved performing when I was younger and it’s good to be able to give something back.”
Winning Student of the Year she said was the perfect end to her qualification.
“I was surprised to win, but it feels good to know all my hard work has paid off. I’d like to thank my tutor, Sam Stenton.”
Sam, a performing arts tutor at the college, nominated Shannon for the award.
She said: “Shannon is an inspiration to other students starting with us. Her passion is college, she participates in any extra-curricular activities we have, volunteers for everything and I can’t remember her missing a day in three years.
“She has blossomed during her time at college and been on an incredible journey; I’m delighted she’s won this award.”