WEST CORNWALL graduates from Cornwall College, Duchy College and Falmouth Marine School celebrated as they were officially awarded their certificates this week, watched by hundreds of family, friends and former lecturers.
This year 900 students – more than ever – passed degree level courses, with 500 of those attending one of two ceremonies held at Truro Cathedral.
Dave Linnell, principal of Cornwall College, said: "It's always a pleasure to see graduates surrounded by their proud family and friends on such a happy occasion.
"They fully deserve the recognition they receive for their achievements and successes and I wish them all the best for their futures."
Courses range from foundation and bachelor's degrees in business and sports to marine science and zoology with all undergraduate degrees awarded by Plymouth University through Combined Universities in Cornwall.
Graduate George Wykes, from Penzance, who studied a foundation degree in wildlife education and media, said: "It's really exciting to be graduating, I'm really proud. I'm doing my honours degree now at Newquay as I want to be a wildlife journalist.
"It's something that's always appealed to me. The degree was very interesting. I had a great time and met some really great people."
Sisters Victoria and Tamsyn Lomas, from St Ives, both graduated from courses at Camborne; Victoria, 22, with a bachelor's degree in business enterprise, and younger sister Tamsyn with a foundation degree in sport, health and fitness.
Tamsyn said: "I studied sport at college and wanted to carry on. Camborne seemed like a really nice place and everyone was really lovely."
Victoria said: "I did a two-year foundation degree in event management before this and wanted to broaden my horizons so that's why I choose to study this course and it has definitely given me a broader outlook on things."
Nabil Ahmed, from Hayle, graduated with a foundation degree in forensic science. He said: "It feels amazing to be graduating, it's something different. I have wanted to study forensics since I saw CSI. I have always had a feeling inside to give people justice and I really like the mystery behind crime and I love finding the clues and piecing the puzzle together. I am now going on to study at the University of Cumbria."
Guest speaker at the ceremonies was Pirate FM's programme controller Neil Caddy, a former Cornwall College student, who said: "If you want to achieve something, you can. I realised I wanted to achieve, I set my goals and I achieved them, and that's something I'm very proud of.
"For many of you this is the first of many more successful days in your life, which is why I'm thankful to be here to share that with you today."
Cornwall College is currently taking applications for courses starting in 2013, with a range of bursaries and scholarships available to those eligible. For details see www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0845 2232567.