I get a little tear in my eye when I look at our graduation pictures – this is from yesterday when the class of 2016 came together for one last time to graduate. I know from personal experience that it is never just the achievement of the individual in the robes that is being celebrated, so many other people support them to get to this place. I got to welcome and thank everyone and was looking out over so many proud faces.
I got to chat to each person here one to one at the end of the course as their tutor for their final year. The back stories of many students make their achievements even more remarkable. There are those who had been told that they would never get a degree, that found school hard. Others faced difficult personal circumstances which challenged their capacity to keep on studying. At least one student told me that on another course they probably would not have carried on.
One of the things we get to do at our graduation ceremonies that doesn’t happen at big universities is that we say where people have been on placement and where they are going to next. Each of these students is carrying on developing their calling to children, young people, mission or ministry in some form. I look forward over the years to seeing their updates on social media or catching up with them at different events and hearing what God has been doing in this next phase of their lives.