WELCOME TO GRADUATION: Primary Education students Michelle Walker and Joel Armbruster celebrate getting their degrees at USC Gympie's special graduation event.
WELCOME TO GRADUATION: Primary Education students Michelle Walker and Joel Armbruster celebrate getting their degrees at USC Gympie's special graduation event. Renee Albrecht

USC Gympie celebrates first education graduates

THE FIRST crop of local Primary Education students have graduated from their degrees at the University of the Sunshine Coast's Gympie campus.

The budding teachers were part of the fourth USC Gympie cohort to doff their academic caps since the campus opened in 2013, receiving their degrees last week at the official ceremonies on the Sunshine Coast.

READ MORE: USC Gympie numbers on the rise

Joel Armbruster, Michelle Walker, Grace Smith, Amy Sheaffe, Codi Ringland-Jones, Kierra Jones and Samantha Harris made up the successful group, with Mr Armbruster and Ms Walker present for the special event put on by USC Gympie to recognise their achievements.

Mr Armbruster, 26, praised the community environment he experienced throughout his four-year degree, which began with a tertiary preparation pathway course across from the campus.

"There's more of a connection at Gympie,” he said.

"I got to go all the way through with the students here.

"The office ladies are unreal, and you get more one on one time with your lecturers.

"There's so much group work, especially in education, so it was good to have no stress about who you worked with.

"You could bounce off each other a bit, which made it easier.”

BACK: Samantha Harris, Joel Armbruster and Lecturer Natalie McMaster, MIDDLE: Grace Smith, Amy Sheaffe, Codi Ringland-Jones and Kierra Jones, FRONT: USC Lecturer Rosemary Horn, Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill, Head of School of Education Professor Shelley Dole.
BACK: Samantha Harris, Joel Armbruster and Lecturer Natalie McMaster, MIDDLE: Grace Smith, Amy Sheaffe, Codi Ringland-Jones and Kierra Jones, FRONT: USC Lecturer Rosemary Horn, Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill, Head of School of Education Professor Shelley Dole. University of the Sunshine Coast

Ms Walker, 44, said she enjoyed forming close relationships with her peers while studying.

"We've formed some really close friendships, we're really tight knit.

"It's been like one big family, which is a bit different than it is at Sippy Downs.”

Fellow graduate Kierra Jones, who now teaches Year 3 students at Cannonvale State School near Proserpine, said her degree had given her the confidence to embrace her first post-degree job.

"I attribute a large part of my success to the wonderful support and many opportunities students receive at USC Gympie,” Ms Jones said.

"I am enjoying using my creativity to develop innovative learning opportunities for my students and it is a wonderful feeling when you see everything go 'click' and you know you have helped them to realise their potential.”

Ms Jones received a USC Leadership Award and a Faculty Commendation for academic excellence at the graduation ceremony.

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