ACHIEVEMENT: Graduating students, from left, Hannah Broomfield, Kimberley Songberg, Michelle Pullen, Kirstyn Massie and Tom McQueen.
ACHIEVEMENT: Graduating students, from left, Hannah Broomfield, Kimberley Songberg, Michelle Pullen, Kirstyn Massie and Tom McQueen. Jamie Brown

Graduates celebrate next step

IT was a case of tossing the mortarboards sky high yesterday as 250 students from Southern Cross University hung up their gowns and looked to the world beyond academia.

For mature student Michelle Pullen of Byron Bay, her five years of higher education had to be juggled with a young family.

"My fourth child was two years old when I started," said the former graphic artist.

She now looks forward to a career that will fit in with family life.

For Brunswick Heads graduate Tom McQueen, a career in education was piqued by his former physical education teacher who was "able to connect" with his students.

Mr McQueen now hopes to emulate his teaching style to also stimulate a generation of thinkers.

And Jemiel Jett of Lennox Head was thrilled to graduate as a primary education teacher after spending a few years as a garbage collector on Rottnest Island near Perth.

Will these students find themselves at the mercy of real world economics when they leave the protection of their university?

Professor Martin Hayden, head of the school of education, does not think so.

"These students are dedicated and enthusiastic," Prof Hayden said.

"And they are looking forward to employment. They are pretty well prepared for the technology of the future," he said.

"The structure of education as a career is pretty well understood and is likely to remain stable.".

Of the graduates from the three campuses of Southern Cross University, 11 gained higher degrees.

Former Page MP Janelle Saffin was awarded an honorary fellowship in recognition of her contribution the university as a council member over a period of 16 years.



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