OLYMPIC champion, Jonathan Edwards CBE awarded over 350 South Essex College graduates with their degree awards yesterday evening (21 October.)
The triple jump world record holder presented scrolls alongside Principal and Chief Executive, Angela O’Donoghue at the Cliffs Pavilion ceremony.
Students graduated in a variety of disciplines including business studies, sport studies, fine art and music production.
Jonathan delivered an inspiring speech to the graduates describing his career and how he achieved his goals. He said: “We can achieve a lot more than we think we can. You just have to have the burning desire and determination to achieve. With the right mind-set, you can reach far beyond what you think you are capable of.”
The successful sports broadcaster shared two important messages with the graduates. He said: “The first is to believe in yourself. The second is to always have a ‘why’ – it will help you achieve your goals. The more you ask yourself this question, the more determined you will be to find the answer and succeed.”
Angela added: “Here at the College we encourage all of our students and staff to aim high and achieve above and beyond expectations.
“The success of our students is our number one priority and nothing gives me greater pleasure than the opportunity to congratulate and celebrate that success with them.”
Ruth Gibson, 25, graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Digital Animation, she now hopes to make her way in the world of movies after getting work experience on several film sets.
Ruth said: ““During my degree, we had fantastic guest speakers and workshops with some of the industry’s leading specialists, I’ve made loads of friends and have plenty of fond memories.”
Last night was particularly special for Ruth because she suffers from Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephamylitis, chronic pain and fatigue conditions.
She added: “Suffering with these conditions meant that I often missed lectures and couldn’t always focus during them, this was hard for me but I was always supported by my course friends and tutors.
“That’s why I’m so proud to graduate. It is possible to achieve your dreams, you just have to keep going and remember not to give up in the face of adversity.”
Dayle King, 21, is another successful graduate who enjoyed studying at the College so much, he now teaches there as an associate lecturer. Dayle graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Sport Studies and is full of praise for the teaching and facilities at South Essex College.
He said: “When the Forum opened, it made a big difference. It was good HE students had their own building, a space we could all work together in.
Dayle added: “David Blainey (sports lecturer) is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, his delivery was full of passion and enthusiasm for the subject, it really motivated me.”