Early childhood education graduates celebrated in Auckland
Close to a thousand people descended on Auckland’s Victory Convention Centre on Wednesday 3 April to celebrate the achievements of New Zealand Tertiary College early childhood education graduates.
Qualifications ranging from bachelor to master’s level were awarded to the 148 graduands in attendance with a further 373 acknowledged for their significant achievements throughout New Zealand.
A karanga resounded within the auditorium as the official party entered and made their way to their seats before an NZTC staff pōhiri acknowledged everyone in attendance.
NZTC Chief Executive Selena Fox shared a special message with graduates, encouraging them to always take another look at their practice as they care for our youngest generation.
“Graduates, you know to your professional core the importance of observing, really seeing, intentionally noticing, and then acting for children on the basis of your evidence observed, to serve them well. It is your daily early childhood teacher life,” she said.
Special commendation award winners included Rajni Sharma who displayed Academic Excellence during her Master of Early Childhood Education studies.
“Winning the Academic Excellence award was a very surprising moment for me. I really enjoyed my NZTC study and the lecturing staff were really supportive and co-operative. Everything has awesomely changed since my master’s with NZTC. I have improved relationships with colleagues, whānau and children.”
The college’s treasured values award was jointly celebrated this year. The award is for students who display a true commitment to each of the college values of Vision, Heart, Competence and Spirit throughout their qualification. The decision between two outstanding graduates proved to be too difficult as David Mos and Sophie Leigh Fraser shared in the celebrations.
“Working while studying really allowed me to connect the dots and I could see all the theory I was learning day to day. It was like the penny dropped and everything suddenly made sense. That was really special for me, that I was getting all that theory but also seeing it and it was making sense to me in my practice,” said Sophie.
When asked about the support she received during her studies, Sophie commented, “Whenever I needed help there was someone there, and it always felt really genuine and compassionate. This was so important to me because studying at home you can sometimes feel a bit lost, but as soon as I asked for help there was always help there.”
Values Award winner David Mos returned to the stage for the third time that evening as the graduate speaker. Reflecting on his study experiences and NZTC journey he said, “My children are the reason why I am standing here speaking to you all this evening as I realised that I wanted to learn, inquire and make new discoveries everyday just like them.”
“While my coursework introduced me to the curriculum and to concepts such as bicultural development and internal self-review, it was practical experience that has enabled me to develop and understand my teaching practice. I’ve been able to bring my theoretical knowledge and understanding to life in ways that are responsive to children's strengths, interests, abilities and needs,” he said.
The ceremony included further celebrations and special gifts but details of these will remain top secret until after our Christchurch graduation ceremony next week. Watch this space…
Sophie Leigh Fraser, Rajni Sharma and David Mos