More than 200 NorthTec graduates celebrated with family, friends, tutors and fellow students as they received their degree and diploma certificates at Forum North on Friday (10 March).
Due to the weather, the annual march through the CBD was cancelled, but the rain failed to dampen the spirits of participants.
NorthTec council chair, Vern Dark, welcomed the graduands, their whanāu and friends and special guests, including Whangarei Mayor, Sheryl Mai.
Mr Dark told the graduands: “You may all have had a different path, some straight from school, some returning to education after years raising families. You may have struggled to achieve, or you may have had a simple desire to upskill yourself for a more profitable future. Whatever path you have taken, you are all achievers and you all deserve to celebrate your achievement.”
Guest speaker was Jess Rule, a NorthTec sport and recreation graduate who has established a successful gym and fitness training company. Jess spoke of her recent successful attempt at climbing Mount Taranaki, and drew parallels between the climb and the journey towards success.
From experiencing the fear of failure before setting out, taking the first steps with the support of whānau, and dealing with both the daily grind and the joy of being able to help others, to reaching the summit and taking a strategic approach to the tricky downhill trek, it was all about setting goals, meeting challenges head-on and taking all opportunities to learn.
This year’s Valedictorian was Lee Ann Thoresen, a Bachelor of Applied Arts. Lee Ann thanked all those who had supported the students, including their families and all NorthTec staff.
She told her fellow graduands: “We are here because we set ourselves some goals and have worked steadily towards achieving them award, demonstrating our abilities, our commitment, our passion and our attitude.... congratulations.”
Lee Ann ended by saying: “Education is a life-long process. Today the world has just re-opened to us. Be the best “you” that you can be and you will go far in life. Leave a bit of yourself wherever you go.”
Three special prizes were awarded to exceptional students. The NorthTec Council award for the outstanding student on the Bachelor of Applied Management programme went to Phoenix Moyer, who graduated with distinction with a double major. The NorthTec Council award for the top Applied Social Work student was presented to Sherie Hauraki.
The academic excellence award by the Northland branch of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, for a Bachelor of Applied Management student majoring in Accounting, was presented to Justine Johnson, who also graduated with distinction.
The ceremony was split into two events. Graduates of Business, Management, Information Systems, Applied Social Services, Te Pokairua Ngāpuhi-Nui-Tonu (Te Reo), Cookery, Architectural Technology and Engineering took part in the morning ceremony.
The afternoon ceremony featured graduates of Applied Arts, Applied Writings Sport and Recreations Conservation and Environmental Management, Science and Nursing.
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