“I want to emphasise the word celebration – Please clap, cheer, and don’t be afraid to express yourself, this evening is all about you”
Such was the address from Principal Andrew Slade to guests at the annual Graduation Ceremony at Oaklands College this week. The celebrations, which were postponed last year due to the pandemic, welcomed graduates from 2020 and 2021 to its St Albans campus for a night of student recognition.
Hundreds of guests, comprised of students their family and friends were in attendance at the colleges St Albans campus, as it held its first in-person awards ceremony since 2019 to cheer on graduands.
The ceremony was dedicated to students graduating from courses ranging from Foundation Degrees to Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas and Level 5 Diplomas respectively.
Amongst graduates were seven prestigious award-winners for Academic Excellence, recognising students who were nominated by college curriculum for their outstanding achievements. The awards are central to the college values, recognising learners who have gone above and beyond in their subject fields.
Luke Wheeler, a recipient of the Academic Excellence award said: “I am shocked – In a good way, to be recognised for this award! It’s hard to explain how proud I am of my achievements, but I left school feeling like education had failed me and so came to Oaklands with little optimism, but the support, guidance and freedom to express my creativity has been so rewarding, I am so grateful to the college for believing in me – I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.”
Principal and CEO of Oaklands College Andrew Slade said: “Graduation is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our Higher Education students and all those that have supported them through their educational journey – friends, family and, of course, our staff. It was particularly pleasing to be able to include students who would have had their ceremony in 2020 and which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. And this, being Oaklands centenary year, provided an additional reason to celebrate as we reflected on providing 100 years of transformational education.”
Also in attendance was Pro-Vice Chancellor of Education and Student Experience at University of Hertfordshire Dr. Mairi Watson, who addressed graduates and commended them on their achievements.
The Graduation was a brilliant way to highlight the end of an amazing chapter in the life of our students and we were delighted to see everyone enjoying their evening.