Almost 600 of Charles Sturt's class of 2020 were finally able to celebrate finishing their studies at this week's graduation ceremonies, which were rescheduled last year as the university felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eight ceremonies were held at the university's Bathurst campus during the week-long celebration, which finished on Friday and welcomed friends and families to help mark the occasion, with around 1,800 guests also turning out.
A number of students from the Orange campus made trip to Bathurst to attend the ceremonies, which included the university's schools of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, and Arts and Education earlier in the week.
Four of the teaching graduates that were on hand to celebrate reflected on the important milestone with unique perspective, they marked the occasion after their first six months on the job, all of them in regional schools.
After finishing her studies Jessica Matthews has been working at Blayney Public School, explaining her inspiration to educate came from one of her former teachers at The Assumption School in Bathurst.
"I am currently working at Blayney Public School. I work across multiple stages so you need to be really adaptable, but I have learnt so much already being able to work with such a wide range of kids," Ms Matthews said.
"The practical experience we had while studying at Charles Sturt was great, I am now teaching at (the school) where I did my last practical placement, so felt really comfortable starting my career in a familiar place."
Amber Benson, Anneke Pretorious and Rachel Vickery are now teaching in schools at Dubbo, Sofala and Bathurst, respectively, and the trio were all excited to have the opportunity to celebrate their graduation, albeit retroactively.
Charles Sturt Central West pro-chancellor Carole McDiarmid congratulated the entire class of 2020, not just those who were able to be on hand at Bathurst, doing so in advance for those who will attend ceremonies in Wagga next week.
She also highlighted the diverse range of graduates from last year's finishing group, applauding their resilience and commitment to finishing their studies during a testing period last year.
"All I've seen this week is a lot of happy faces," Ms McDiarmid said.
"A lot of mums and dads have been graduating it might be the second career for them.
"Some of the young female members have had babies during the course of their studies so it's been a really testing time for them but it's quite remarkable to watch.
"It's wonderful to ...welcome back to the campus so many of our graduates. It's amazing to see the depth of interest from our graduates who are scattered right across the country come back and celebrate."
The final round of on-campus graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 will start in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday. Close to 550 graduates and 1,650 guests are expected to attend.
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