STUDENTS from Borders College were praised by their principal at this year’s annual graduation ceremony.
The highlight of the college’s academic year took place at Springwood Park in Kelso on Friday.
More than 700 family, friends and guests watched 174 students graduate from the further education establishment.
During the ceremony, an Honorary Fellowship was bestowed on former board member Andrew Grant of Riddell Estate, near Lilliesleaf.
But the day belonged to the successful students. And college principal Liz McIntyre paid them deserved credit.
She commented: “Their success has come about through hard work and a huge amount of dedication on the part of each and every one of our graduates, and I congratulate them all on their achievement.”
She added: “Thanks also to all the staff of the college whose dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement have aided them in achieving their success and in making Borders College one of the most successful in Scotland.”
The graduation ceremony also saw the formal launch of the Borders College Alumni Association.
z Best Higher Education Student – Jeni Brus: completed the HNC Early Education and Childcare course on the two-year part-time evening programme. She chose this route as she is a mum of three children and it was easier. Her academic work over these two years has been exemplary and her work placement reports superb. She was a source of encouragement and support to her classmates and still found time for voluntary work with a number of childcare organisations.
z Best Further Education Student – Gareth Johnston: an outstanding student on the NC Digital Media course. Knowledgeable, inquisitive and ready to help fellow students, he showed exceptional aptitude for programming and web development. Developed his own Web Hosting Services and proved an excellent acting chair to the faculty council.
z Achievement Award – Kirsty Fojcik: began her hairdressing studies in August 2010, an enthusiastic and motivated student. She has exceptional client care skills; an empathetic yet professional manner with clients; and produces hairdressing work comparable to the most prestigious of salons. She entered the Scottish heat of the Wella Xposure competition and was one of five selected to go to the national competition. Judges described her work in both competitions as exceptionally high.
z Superior Performance in a Work Placement – Kelly Robson: started on the Level 1 Hairdressing course in August 2008 and has completed her HNC Hairdressing. Her work placement was at the Envy Hair Salon in Hawick and she was a hard working, dedicated junior who showed great interest in the stylists’ work. She has an excellent manner and rapport with colleagues and clients and Kelly’s overall employability skills are superb. Owner Emma Carmichael identified Kelly’s talents for creative hair design and is now the salons’ creative stylist.
z Best Access to Learning Student – Sophie Todd: a Workwise student with an excellent attitude who received great reports from her work placements as well as developing innovative strategies for dealing with her dyslexia. At ASDA, she received a 100 per cent score from a mystery shopper for her great customer service. This was a great accolade – the first student on work placement with Asda to achieve such a commendation.
z Stuart Wilkie Memorial Trophy and Scottish Motor Trade Apprentice of the Year – Keith Thomson: over the past three years Keith has flourished at college and demonstrated an enthusiastic willingness to learn and succeed. He completed his SVQ Level 3 course, gaining six distinctions from nine exams. He has been supported by his employer S & I Thomson in Galashiels and the Scottish Motor Trade Association, who recognised him as their Apprentice of the Year.
z Citizenship Award – The Hospitality Students: as part of their course, they took part in various events linked to helping local charities and the wider community, taking projects from early planning stages through to execution of the event. They acted in professional manner at all times in the preparation, cooking and service of food for charitable events.
z Entrepreneurial Award – Students from the Rural Mechanics and Introduction to Landbased Industries course in partnership with the Kelso and Berwickshire High Schools Plus Group: they worked on various projects to reduce waste produced at the college’s campus at Newtown St Boswells.