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More than 80 graduating students and their guests assembled in the spectacular setting of the Argyllshire Gathering Halls in Oban last Friday for Argyll College UHI’s annual graduation ceremony.
Guest speaker Gary McLean, of Masterchef – The Professionals fame, gave an entertaining and motivational speech encouraging graduates to work hard to achieve their dreams.
Campbeltown student Rebecca Allan was named Further Education Student of the Year. Rebecca completed an NC in Administration in 2017, having progressed from an NPA in Construction.
During her time at Argyll College UHI, Rebecca was unanimously voted class representative by her peers – a role she performed with dedication and enthusiasm. She has represented the college at the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) annual meeting in Inverness and was part of a small group of students invited to the Scottish Parliament to give feedback on student life.
Her tutor describes her as ‘an excellent student and ambassador for the college’.
The 2017 Higher Education Student of the Year was Wendy Chance from Islay, who has successfully completed an HNC in Horticulture this year.
Wendy has shown an extraordinary talent for the subject and, despite being the only student from Islay participating in the course, she didn’t let
isolation affect her studies.
Not content with local opportunities for her work experience unit, Wendy applied to the prestigious Chelsea Physic Garden in London, and was given the great accolade of being awarded a place. She made the most of this experience by working hard while there and evaluating her experience in
great detail upon her return.
Wendy excelled academically, gaining the college’s highest recorded result of 93 per cent in her graded unit. Her tutor nominated her for the award because of her ‘academic ability, dedication and enthusiasm’.
There were a number of other prizes bestowed on the day, with Tobermory High School student James Penny receiving the Skills for Work Student of the Year prize and Dunoon woman Eileen Kistner receiving the inaugural Isle of Lismore Taproot Festival event for creative writing.
Shannon Lafferty, HISA depute president, presented two HISA
Scott Anderson from Dunoon was voted as the student with Best Engagement with the Student Voice. Scott is no stranger to awards – last year he won the best class representative accolade in the same scheme.
The student who nominated him said he has ‘worked tirelessly, always trying to engage with students across our network. He has made every effort to hear what students are saying and to act on their feedback. He has gone above and beyond in his role and his dedication should not go
Scott said: ‘I am genuinely shocked, honoured and humbled that people went out of their way to nominate me again. I’m really grateful to the students of Argyll College UHI and to HISA for giving me these opportunities and experiences that I have enjoyed so much over the past year.’
Shannon also presented the HISA Best Support Staff Award to Maureen McKenna and Judi Worthington, the Arran centre manager and assistant centre manager respectively.
They were nominated by a student who said although there were only two of them, they ‘provide the support, encouragement and advice of a team of 100’.
The student nominating the pair said: ‘They are always so happy, enthusiastic and positive, and work together so hard as a team to make our lives at college as smooth as possible. They have given me the best support I’ve ever had from non-teaching staff and have been a vital part of my college year.’
The presiding party were piped into the ceremony by Oban High School student Kate MacPherson.
Chairman of the college Andrew Campbell said: ‘I thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that our students fulfil their potential and get every opportunity to learn, achieve and advance.’
If you would like to find out more about the wide range of opportunities available through Argyll College UHI visit www.argyllcollege.ac.uk .