South Canterbury graduands get their day in the sun
Under bright skies on Thursday morning, students from the Ara Institute of Canterbury had their chance to celebrate educational success.
More than 70 graduating students paraded their way down Timaru's Stafford Street before making their way to the Southern Events Centre for a formal ceremony.
The group was the first graduating cohort from the Timaru, Oamaru and Ashburton campuses since Ara was created, following the merger of the Aoraki Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology last year.
Mikie James, 23, had cooked her way to success having just completed a level four course in bakery. She said she had loved the hands-on nature of her course.
"The best part was definitely making bread, especially when you get to eat it straight off ... I like doing more practical things."
After graduating she planned to head straight out into the world of work.
"I have got a job at a bakery in Southland. I'll work there for a few years then hopefully open my own bakery."
Fellow graduate Michael Tough, who graduated from a level four early childhood course, said he had really enjoyed it.
"The group of people that I was with were really great", he said.
Tough said he was poised for more study in the near future and wanted to complete levels five, six and seven "until I'm fully qualified and have a bachelor's in teaching."
Tough's sentiment was echoed by student Rebecca Toole, who speaking on behalf of her fellow graduates at the formal ceremony, provided some inspiration in the words of Blues legend BB King
"The beautiful thing about learning is no one can take it away from you."
"Added to that, I would like to say that whatever vocational, educational or life pathways we as students take from now on, we have been enriched by the qualification that we are being presented with."
Toole had completed a certificate of business, administration and technology at levels three and four.