Hundreds of proud parents, partners, friends and families filled the pews of Bristol’s stunning cathedral on Saturday for not just one, but two higher education graduation ceremonies.
More than 300 higher education students were invited to dress in their caps and gowns for the illustrious ceremony marking the end of their studies at the College.
The occasion was made even more special by the attendance of former students who sadly were not able to participate in a graduation ceremony last year due to Covid-19 restrictions. They sat among their peers graduating this year to celebrate what has been both a challenging and enjoyable time for many.
Graduation guests enjoyed keynote speeches from Peaches Golding OBE, The Lord-Lieutenant of the City and County of Bristol, and The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Steve Smith, as well as speeches from dignitaries from our university partners.
Chief Executive and Principal Rich Harris attended the event with other members of staff, to congratulate students on completing their higher education courses. He said: “Completing a degree or university-level course is a huge achievement and requires perseverance and dedication. Students should be incredibly proud of what they have done and this event was an opportunity to celebrate.
“Education has the power to transform lives and address economic inequality, and holding these degrees will enable so many of our learners to continue to further their education, find their dream job or move up within their current role.
“Thank you to our partner universities, course providers, College staff, friends and families for supporting our learners to achieve their full potential.”
The event also celebrated two students who were awarded a special graduation prize.
Tanyka Griffiths, who graduated from the Health and Social Care Management degree, was presented with the Martin Gibbs Memorial Prize. The prize is presented in memory of a member of staff who tragically lost his life in a sailing accident in September 2008. Martin strongly believed in the role of higher education at further education colleges as a way to give students the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Tanyka has overcome many challenges throughout her educational journey, especially in the past year. After completing her Level 3 Health and Social Care course with us, she gained the confidence to progress onto a Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Practice. A formal dyslexia diagnosis allowed Tanyka to gain insight into the underlying reasons for her previous difficulties and she has worked incredibly hard to improve her academic skills.
Her determination to improve prospects for herself and her young daughter has been fierce and impressive, and she now has a renewed passion for her chosen area and increasing self-belief.
She said: “Learning will help me become the best person I can possibly be, this way I can use my knowledge and skills to contribute positively to society.“
Shaun Canning was named the winner of the Plymouth University Academic Partnership Prize. The FdA Graphic Design and Digital Arts student was celebrated for his achievements during his studies on the University of Plymouth course. Shaun has come an exceptional distance since enrolling and, after suffering a great personal hardship for a number of years, he has shown great resilience and fortitude. He made the most of the opportunities to pursue his passion, exhibiting a positivity towards learning and spreading his enthusiasm for the subject among his colleagues.
For all the photos from the higher education graduation, keep an eye on our social media platforms. Graduates can also purchase their on-stage photos.