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The 27 Southland bachelor of teaching graduates from the University of Otago’s College of Education were honoured during separate ceremonies in both Bluff and Invercargill.
Southland Campus programme co-ordinator Jill Paris said teaching numbers in the region would be boosted, several of the graduates having been offered teaching positions within Southland.
"Aside from placements, they are already making a huge impact in the sector. Many have been busy doing daily relieving this term because of the desperate shortage of relieving teachers locally.
"Former Southland campus graduates make up a large proportion of staff in local schools and early childhood centres, as most graduates choose to remain in Southland."
Donovan Primary School principal Peter Hopwood said in "this hard-to-find-staff climate" it was great to have local people training in the region who wanted to stay in Southland.
A long-term relationship between the college and Donovan Primary School had been "highly beneficial" he said.
Several family members were in attendance at the ceremonies and many spoke of
their pride in seeing their loved ones graduate. Raiha Johnson, wife of graduate Kane Johnson, gave an emotional speech on seeing her husband finally achieve his dream of becoming a teacher.
She applauded her husband’s work ethic after leaving his former job behind to pursue teaching.
All 27 graduates will have their degrees conferred at an official graduation ceremony at the University of Otago in Dunedin on December 15.