Disabled graduate relieved to end studies

18:40, Dec 13 2012

When Nathan Hills receives his qualification alongside more than 300 other Southern Institute of Technology students today it will mark the end of a challenging three years.

The 21-year-old has muscular dystrophy and has full movement in his fingers only. He cannot lift his arms up off the tray of his wheelchair, he said.

He liked working with computers, which was why he chose to take the three-year bachelor of information technology course after he left Southland Boys' High School.

Mr Hills was now looking for work and had been in contact with an IT company that had offered him work experience to gauge his skills, he said.

While he was studying he had a reader/writer who helped him with things such as getting out his laptop, opening doors, and anything else he needed assistance with.

Using a full-sized keyboard was difficult so he used his own laptop, with any software he needed installed on it, he said.

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"They were very accommodating."

He enjoyed meeting new people at SIT and getting to know his classmates and it had not fully sunk in that he had finished his degree, he said.

"I guess it is quite exciting. It is probably a bit of a relief as well, I have been studying for ages if you include all the study I did at high school - not that I mind, I quite enjoy study."

The graduation ceremony for the 330 SIT students will be held at the Civic Theatre at 2pm.

Students from business, information technology, health, new media, humanities, arts, and trades and technology programmes will graduate with a range of degrees and diplomas.

The first intake of students from the bachelor of fashion (design and technology) course, which was introduced three years ago, will also graduate.

A parade from the Civic Theatre, through the inner city, and back to SIT will be held after the graduation ceremony.

The Southland Times