Dozens of north-east students are celebrating the culmination of years of resilience, determination and dedication this week.
Although traditional ceremonies might still be at a halt due to fears of spreading coronavirus, graduates of North East Scotland College’s (Nescol) have the opportunity to mark their achievements virtually.
Four ceremonies are being streamed online this week to bring students and their loved ones together and commend their accomplishments during challenging times.
Principal Neil Cowie praised the graduates’ strength of character and determination and said: “It is fantastic to be bringing graduates together online this week to share the occasion with family, carers, friends and all who have supported them during such as a challenging period.
“It has been a time like no other. Every individual being recognised this week has their own personal story to tell and is able to reflect upon the experiences of this extraordinary moment in history that we are all living through.
“Many of the challenges our graduates experienced have been unseen and unspoken, but sit behind the certificate each now holds.
“I’m incredibly proud of the way in which the college community has rallied during such adversity.”
‘You are special and you have a bright future ahead of you’
The events are hosted by stage and screen star Alan McHugh, with a special address from Paralympic gold medalist Neil Fachie.
Mr Fachie, who scooped the top spot at this year’s games in Japan, used his speech to reflect on his personal experiences leading up to his triumph and praise the graduates’ resilience.
The 14-time world champion cyclist said: “What I learnt over that 18-month period is that with these tough moments that come along, great opportunities often arise as well.
“To have graduated during a global pandemic makes you special, that makes you unique.
“You have learnt skills and techniques that others simply haven’t, you have learnt how to cope and adapt in situations where others wouldn’t.
“You are special and you have a bright future ahead of you.”