IT WAS a night of celebration as Truro Cathedral hosted the Truro and Penwith College Higher Education Graduation Ceremony.
More than 250 graduates from honours degrees, foundation degrees, higher national diplomas, PGCEs, and other qualifications packed into the cathedral with their families and friends.
Jonathan Burnett, OBE, the former principal of Truro and Penwith College, was the guest of honour and gave the main address. He told the graduates: "The focus of our college and our staff is meeting the needs of the students – it's as simple as that. I wish you every success in the future in whatever you go on to do. You've been to a fantastic college. Look back with pride and affection. Go on with confidence and ambition."
Jessica Ferguson, who graduated from a children and young people's workforce foundation degree, and won the Cup of Excellence for outstanding academic achievement, said: "Graduation is a great occasion as it gives everyone who worked so hard the chance to celebrate what they've achieved. I'm really pleased with my award and look forward to my future. Thank you to all the staff who helped us get here."
Kay Henry, from the children and young people's workforce foundation degree, won the University of Plymouth Colleges Prize; Stuart Falconer, who graduated from the postgraduate certificate in education (part-time) was presented with the Education Cup; and Samantha Reed, from the foundation degree in early childhood education won the Bianca Trew Award for most creative approach to teaching and learning.
Nearly 1,000 people attended the event, and the ceremony was followed by food and drinks in the cathedral, and random outbreaks of mortarboard hats being throw into the air.
Brett Robinson, public services
Despite achieving a triple distinction in his performing arts national diploma, Brett had ambitions to join the police and enrolled on FdSc public services.
To complement his studies and further increase his employment prospects, Brett accumulated voluntary hours for Devon and Cornwall Police. Brett is also part of HM Coastguard Search and Rescue team, which requires him to always wear his pager in order to respond to emergencies.
Brett commented: "The course was great and has set me up perfectly to pursue a career in the police. I particularly enjoyed the project on the ethics of Tasers as it was relevant to my career. I'm currently deciding whether to specialise in armed response or traffic enforcement."
Course tutor Larry Sharma commented on Brett's achievements during his course. "Brett has been an exemplary student and I am extremely proud of what he has achieved both during his course and professionally. The graduation ceremony is the perfect sentiment for students like Brett and he has a great future ahead of him in the police."
Jason Hoole-Jackson, photography and digital imaging
Jason Hoole-Jackson was the recipient of The Most Improved Photographer Award, sponsored by Cornwall Cameras. Jason studied the foundation degree photography and digital imaging course part-time over four years and was awarded a prize of a £50 voucher for Cornwall Cameras. Jason commented: "I was surprised and delighted to receive the award. I was part of such a talented group of photographers so I am truly honoured to receive the award."
Speaking of his course, Jason said: "The lecturers and staff have been incredibly supportive and inspirational. I would recommend the course to anyone wishing to study a photography qualification in higher education."
Programme leader Marcus Way described Jason as a "superb student who has been dedicated to his work throughout his time on the course". Marcus continued, saying: "This year's graduates have been at an exceptionally high standard and I'm very proud of what they have achieved. The graduation ceremony has topped off a remarkable journey for these students."
Jessica Ferguson, children and young people's workforce
The winner of the Children and Young People's Workforce Cup for Excellence was Jessica Ferguson.
Jessica's tutor, Annie Ostapenko-Denton, wanted to introduce a new prize to mark Jessica's outstanding work.
Annie commented saying: "Jessica's work during the course has been extraordinary. The External Examiner stated that her work should be published in journals and her second year work has been at master's level. It was fitting to create an award to highlight Jessica's phenomenal work on the course."
The award will now be presented at graduation to the highest achieving student of the year.
Having completed her foundation degree in children and young people's workforce, Jessica is now studying her bachelor degree in education and training at Truro and Penwith College.
Kay Henry, children and young people's workforce
Kay Henry was the proud recipient of the Universities of Plymouth Colleges (UPC) Prize. Kay was awarded this for her high standard of academic work and her tireless work with Cornwall Council, raising awareness and services for children and young people with additional needs. Further to this, Kay overcame a number of personal difficulties and obstacles during her studies but continued to produce work of the highest quality.
Kay's journey through Truro and Penwith College started with the access to higher education course in 2008.
She has now completed a foundation degree and graduated with a principal's commendation.