A Valleys teenager has scored top marks at a national education awards after impressing judges with her straight A*/A results and her community focus.
Megan Howells, 18, from Merthyr Tydfil, fought off stiff competition from some of the country’s most talented A-level students to win the A-level award for Wales at the prestigious British Education Awards.
The talented learner, who studied at Coleg y Cymoedd, scooped up the sought-after prize at a gala presentation ceremony in Manchester for her outstanding educational performance at the college, having achieved 2A*and 1A grades in her A-levels last year, following on from a straight A* profile at GCSE.
Competing against four other shortlisted candidates for the top spot in the Wales category, Megan, who is now studying law at the University of Oxford, was chosen as the overall winner after impressing judges with her academic success and voluntary efforts.
Speaking about her experience, Megan said: “I’m over the moon at winning this award. It came at the perfect time for me during my first few weeks at Oxford. Like many students, I started to feel the ‘imposter syndrome’, worrying that I was taking someone more deserving’s place. Receiving this award really boosted my confidence and reminded me that I have worked hard to get where I am.
“It confirmed to me that if you work hard and remain dedicated, you can achieve great things, and this has put me in a positive mind set for the term, giving me that extra motivation.”
Launched in 2017, the British Education Awards (BEA) recognises the outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements of students, and is the only event in the UK that celebrates individual success on a national platform.
The unique awards ceremony is designed to reward students who have excelled at their level of study - split into four categories for GCSE, A-Level, Vocational and Degree - as well as champion those who have excelled outside of academia in areas such as sport, music and voluntary work.
The judges were impressed by Megan’s commitment to helping others, which has seen her involved in multiple community initiatives and fundraising activities outside of college, including voluntary work in food banks, schools and job seekers’ support services. She also has two half marathons under her belt in aid of Tenovus Cancer Care and the Wheelchair Access charity, as well as multiple awards for public speaking.
Megan, who is passionate about social justice and helping those who cannot help themselves, dreams of becoming a barrister. Hoping to specialise in human rights law, she has gone on to secure a three-week internship this summer at the human rights office in Ghana where she will gain first-hand experience helping individuals in need.
Director of Faculty of A-Levels at Coleg y Cymoedd, Ian Rees, said: “Megan is an extremely hard-working, reliable and motivated pupil who thoroughly deserves this award. Her fantastic results are testament to her outstanding work ethic, which stretches outside of academia with her commitment to helping the community and always looking to support those around her.
“Thanks to her exceptional aptitude and appetite for learning we have no doubt that Megan will make her mark in the highly rigorous academic environment of an Oxford Law degree. She should take great pride in her achievements so far and know that everyone at the college is very proud of her.”