There were tales of success and sadness as almost 100 graduates from East Riding College were awarded their degrees at Bridlington Priory
Honours were conferred by the University of Hull and the University of Huddersfield as the students’ family and friends gathered to celebrate their achievements.
Student of the Year was Callum Ewing, who achieved a first class honours degree in Coaching and Health Sciences.
The 28-year-old completed his degree whilst employed full-time as a manager at a leisure centre. The External Examiner praised the work that had gone in to his dissertation in particular, which scored 82%.
Callum said: “I’d recommend the path I took to get my degree to anyone who thinks they may have left it too late.
“I managed to work, study and get the best result possible. I don’t know whether I could have done that at 18.”
The ceremony was tinged with sadness as Christine Quinn collected a posthumous award on behalf of her daughter Sharon Chaperlin who sadly died earlier this year.
Sharon was awarded a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Policy and Practice, which she completed following her Foundation degree.
Christine said: “It was a lovely ceremony and reminded me of last year when Sharon was here graduating with her foundation degree.
“I enjoyed it and was glad to be able to collect Sharon’s award. I was also moved by the kind words from Mark Keen, the head of her subject.”
Sharon’s step-dad Gerald Quinn added, “We really appreciated the remarks from Mark and were overwhelmed by the response from the other graduates and guests who gave a round of applause as Christine collected Sharon’s degree.”
The ceremony was Derek Branton’s last as principal, as he is due to retire at the end of this year.
He said: “I was delighted to see the Priory Church so full of graduates and their families coming together to celebrate their success.
“The ceremony is not only a chance to congratulate students, but also an opportunity to acknowledge the support our students have received from partners, parents, grandparents, children, siblings, friends and employers.
“Colleges like ours give greater community access to higher education study which is particularly important in rurally dispersed communities like the East Riding.
“The mixed modes of attendance we offer mean that many of our students can continue in full-time employment while others can arrange their childcare around a timetable which is sympathetic to family responsibilities.
“Given their other commitments, our students work very hard indeed to achieve their higher level qualifications.
“Higher education will be vital to future prosperity, particularly as we prepare for a post-Brexit world which may see us much more self-reliant on our home grown higher skilled professionals.”
This year’s graduates included the first cohort of HNC Construction students, a course developed to help meet regional demand from employers for higher level skills in the industry.
Alex Sheldon, head of construction at the college said, “I am extremely proud of what the students have achieved. They all completed the HNC whilst holding down full-time jobs and their dedication and commitment was admirable.”