Graduation day a double celebration

Telford students show their excitement marching down the main street of Balclutha yesterday as...
Telford students show their excitement marching down the main street of Balclutha yesterday as part of the institution’s graduation ceremony. Photo: Samuel White
Telford graduands and staff proudly marched down the main street of Balclutha yesterday in a ceremony no longer marred by uncertainty over the  agricultural institute’s future.

After months of negotiations, Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre agreed to take over Telford  from Lincoln University.

Yesterday, 10 students graduated with a diploma for rural veterinary technicians and 44 with a certificate in agriculture.

They marched down Clyde St in Balclutha before taking their place in the War Memorial Hall.

Lincoln vice-chancellor Prof Robin Pollard said the day was "marvellous".

It was the  last year anyone would graduate with a Lincoln University qualification at Telford.

"I was really impressed by it. It was my second graduation at Telford. The optimism, the energy and the community support are always really impressive."

He said it was wonderful to see smiles back on people’s faces.

"These changes are not easy  but I think, in particular, the staff have shone through it."

Prof Pollard said one of Lincoln’s priorities was to make sure the students completed their courses and also to ensure the staff’s terms and conditions were preserved under new ownership.

"But also, we wanted to continue Telford serving the Balclutha community and further afield."

All of those objectives were achieved, Prof Pollard said.

They were supported by staff members of both Lincoln and Taratahi and Clutha District Council staff, the Balclutha Pipe Band and, of course, tractors and farm animals.

Telford shearing senior lecturer Ken Payne said regardless of the previous uncertainty, yesterday was all about the students and celebrating their success.

Quite a few were returning next year to continue their studies, he said.

The day was "brilliant" and there was a really good buzz among everyone during the ceremony. Taratahi officially took over Telford earlier in the year with a handover ceremony held in October.

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