Dismal weather conditions failed to dampen the spirits of Coleg Menai graduates last week when over one hundred and twenty students braved the elements to attend the Higher Education Awards Ceremony at Bangor Cathedral.
Students, staff and dignitaries celebrated in a packed ceremony, during which they were entertained by soprano Shân Oliver and pianist William Shaw. This was followed by a reception at Penrhyn Hall, where guests enjoyed strawberries and cream washed down with champagne. Despite the torrential rain, the day was enjoyed by all, with graduates and their families glowing with pride.
Cousins Jeni Francis and Nia Wyn from Bethesda both achieved their Foundation Degree in Learning Support. Jeni commented: “I’ve worked at Ysgol Y Faenol in Bangor for 10 years now, and this course has not only proved my working knowledge, but has also helped me to further develop my skills. I am over the moon to graduate – the tutors were fantastic and very supportive.” Cousin Nia agreed: “I was expecting my first baby when I started studying, so I did struggle a little, but the tutors and other students on the course really helped me through. I am very proud of myself, and so glad I came back to higher education.”
80-year old Sheila Graham from Menai Bridge was delighted to graduate with a BA Fine Art. She said: “I’ve been painting since I was 8, but only boys were allowed to study art when I was a youngster, and I left school when I was 14, so never really got the chance to improve. I’m living proof that you’re never too old!”
Iffat Abbas from Bangor somehow found time to run a business and take care of her family, whilst also studying for her AAT qualification. She said: “The course was very challenging, and there were times that I felt like giving up, especially when my mother-in-law passed away. But my family were very supportive, and gave me constant encouragement. I’m so glad that I made it, and am already thinking about what I can study next!”
Dion Hamer of Llanrug graduated with a First-Class BA (Hons) in Fine Art. Dion is no stranger to success, as his work has already been exhibited at the World Skills event in London, and he most recently exhibited one of his films inside Adain Avion, a mobile art space created from the fuselage of a DC-9 airplane, as part of the Olympic celebrations. Dion said: “I was on my way down to Cardiff to take part in the Welsh Artist of the Year event when I got the news that I’d been awarded a First-Class degree. It was my birthday as well, so it was all quite surreal, but fantastic at the same time. I have to say that my success is down to the guidance and encouragement I received from the team of tutors on the course – they recognised my potential and helped me achieve it.”
Mum-of-four Tirayna Rimmer from Llandrygan, Anglesey gained her Learning Coach qualification, having worked as a learning support assistant at Ysgol Friars for over seven years. “I really enjoyed the course, even though it was a struggle cramming everything in! It was a huge personal challenge, but I’m keen to progress further now.”
Martina Meehan of Holyhead gained her PGCE, celebrating with family who had flown in especially from the Czech Republic to share her happy day. “The support I was given throughout this course was amazing, and I’m so grateful to my tutors. I’m now teaching part-time in Coleg Menai, and am really enjoying it!”
Sam Findlay from Valley gained a HNC in Building Studies: "It was great to graduate on Friday - after all the hard work, it was nice to relax, enjoy the day and celebrate! As for the future, I'll carry on working as a joiner and promoting my band Beyond the State!"
Karen Ann Smith of Penygroes celebrated gaining her PGCE in the company of her parents, her daughter and grandson, Caleb. “I feel so happy and am proud to be graduating after all the hard work over the last two years. I’ve had messages from my sister, Sian and my brother, Ian telling me how well I’ve done. It’s been a great day!”
Dafydd Evans, Coleg Menai Principal told us: “It was a very proud day for everyone receiving higher education awards, degrees and diplomas, for their families and for the staff of Coleg Menai. Despite terrible weather, it was a colourful and inspiring event, and we are very fortunate to be able to hold the ceremony in the historic and beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral.”
Coleg Menai offers a wide range of Higher Education courses. More information is available online www.menai.ac.uk/courses or contact the course advice line on 01248 38 33 33.
Dismal weather conditions failed to dampen the spirits of Coleg Menai graduates last week when....