Hundreds of students celebrated their academic achievements at City College Norwich’s annual graduation ceremonies at Norwich Cathedral.

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Their years of hard work, dedication and study were honoured during the special ceremonies on Saturday which marked the success of more than 700 higher education students who have completed a range of vocational, academic and professional courses. About 360 of the students attended to pick up their degrees in person.

Corrienne Peasgood, principal of the college, said, it was great day of celebration and congratulated the students on their success.

She added: “It is one of my favourite times of the year because it is the beginning for all of these students, it is their new beginning of the next step in their journeys of whatever they choose to do.”

She paid special tribute to the college’s Higher Education of Student of the Year Solange Cross who she said was a true inspiration.

Forty-five-year-old Solange, who lives in Bowthorpe, graduated with a degree in Psychology in Society and was named HE Student of the Year for her outstanding academic success and inspiring others through her passion for learning.

Her degree is the latest landmark in an long academic journey for Solange who grew up in the outskirts of Sao Paulo in Brazil. She began working full-time aged just 13, but her parents instilled in her the importance of education as the key to a better life, and through much hard work and determination she went on to continue her secondary education through evening classes, complete her first degree in administration, and move to London to learn English and continue her education. Her passion for learning inspired her three younger sisters to come to the UK to learn English, achieve degrees and post-graduate degrees and pursue successful careers.

Studying at City College Norwich for her second degree saw Solange return to higher education after a 20 year gap during which she made full use of her language and administration skills while working for Gilchris Confectionary (now Kinnerton) in Fakenham and subsequently Bespak in King’s Lynn where she became customer services manager.

After Saturday’s ceremony, Solange said: “I am just absolutely thrilled. It has been such a journey and a privilege.

“The reason I decided to do this degree was because I just love learning. This was just for the love of psychology. I feel it was a real privilege to be able to learn and be recognised like this. It has been the icing on a very tasty cake.

“I would like to use my psychology degree for a career in education and to improve the psychological wellbeing of people.”

Also on Saturday, John Brydon, who served as clerk to the college’s corporation board for many years as well as more recently working for the governors at City Academy Norwich, was presented with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his services to education and the community.

In the morning ceremony Danny Kerry, head coach of the women’s Olympic hockey team, presented awards in hospitality, travel and tourism, sports science, technology, computing and education.

In the afternoon ceremony entrepreneur Michael Hayman, who co-founded PR consultancy firm Seven Hills and enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, presented the awards in health, social care, early education, humanities, business, management and the creative arts.

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