HUNDREDS of graduates dressed in gowns and mortar boards processed amid rapturous applause towards a brighter future after completing their studies at a North college.
Families, friends and staff were joined by academic and civic dignitaries to celebrate as the class of 2018 marked the culmination of their studies at Darlington College.
One by one they collected their awards certificates from Darlington College principal Kate Roe and Teesside University pro-vice chancellor Professor Mark Simpson, proving their dedication to learning, often overcoming adversity in the process.
Guest of honour Darlington Mayor Veronica Copeland told guests at the graduation ceremony, at the Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel: “We are hugely proud of Darlington College which reflects the aspirations and talents of our community.
“The partnership with Teesside University is a beacon of best practice nationally and internationally and the college is a flagship of the Tees Valley. Today is about student success and the qualifications they have received are an exceptional achievement.”
Professor Simpson said: “In the current climate we are all too aware of the sacrifices made by families to support students and the dedication and commitment of staff, without which these achievements would not have been possible.
“Students should be very proud; they have opened their minds to the opportunities that exist and are bringing new skills and expertise to our region. We are confident they will thrive and make the leaders of tomorrow.”
Ms Roe described the graduation as the highlight of the college year. She added: “We are so proud of our students. It is not just what they have achieved but how they achieved it, with the majority studying part-time, juggling studies with work and families, often completing assignments when their children have gone to bed, which is truly inspiring.”