GRADUATES celebrating degrees from South Essex College were encouraged to be brave, take whatever opportunities come their way and go for a career they love.

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Peter Allen, who comes from Rayleigh, gave a motivational speech to more than 300 students who saw their years of hard work come to fruition with the presentation of degrees.


 Sophie Smith, Jodie Smith, Jade Smith, Emma Smith

The Cliffs Pavilion, in Westcliff, was packed with proud families as the college’s graduation ceremony celebrated the outstanding work of students. Among them were 31 students who had achieved first class honours.


Alex Moore, James Brotherton, Josh Sammons, Charlie Foster

Peter, a former journalist with the Southend Standard, who received an honorary degree, said: “It is important to do a job you love. Don’t be frightened of taking any opportunities that come along.

“I have learned something from every job I have had. The keys are to work hard and keep smiling.”

Mr Allen has worked in journalism for more than 40 years, starting out in local newspapers before progressing to ITN and London News Network.


Siobhan Coates and Ella Magri

College principal Angela O’Donoghue spoke of the students’ achievements, which included fashion and photography students exhibiting their collections at the prestigious Free Range show, in London, and fine art students providing an end-ofyear exhibition called Forgetting Derek, about a spider that lived in their studio.


Ryan Knight, Alisha Knight, Tegan Dawkins, Mike Baker

Outstanding individuals were also lauded, including Alanah Smitten, who won an NHS competition to design a full workwear collection for staff at North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Photography student David Hyde’s photos from London Fashion Week were published in a high-end magazine endorsed by Vogue, while sports student Joanne Duck was praised for a study on kayaks, which was thought to be unique in the sport.

Ms O’Donoghue said: “I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say howproud we are of all our successful students here tonight, supported by their friends and family who have stood by them and encouraged them throughout their qualifications.

“Graduates, today is your special day. You should feel a real sense of achievement. Each of you has faced the intellectual challenge of advanced higher level study and succeeded.

“You have worked hard, shown dedication and commitment.

“We are very pleased to award 31 first class honours degrees tonight, a fantastic achievement.”


Peter Allen (Honary Graduate) and Angela O'Donoghue (Principal)

Mr Allen presented the students with their degree citations.