USC Gympie is celebrating another major milestone with the graduation of its first Primary Education students.
The six graduates are among the fourth cohort of students to graduate from USC since it opened its campus at Gympie in 2013, as part of the University’s long-term investment in education in the region.
After formally being awarded degrees at official ceremonies at the Sunshine Coast last week, the students will be given another chance to shine tomorrow when the Gympie campus hosts a special event to recognise the achievements of its newest graduates.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said he was delighted to see the first Bachelor of Primary Education students at USC Gympie successfully complete their studies and find jobs in their chosen field.
Graduate Kierra Jones, who is teaching Year 3 students at Cannonvale State School near Proserpine after gaining a permanent teaching position with Education Queensland, credits her academic and job success to doing “extra homework” during her studies.
At her Graduation ceremony, the former special needs teacher aide from Sexton was presented with a USC Leadership Award in recognition of her contribution to the community and the University, and a Faculty Commendation for academic excellence.
“I wanted to make sure I was well prepared when I started my teaching career, so I volunteered at schools to gain extra experience during my degree and was involved with coaching and coordinating children’s sport,” Ms Jones said.
She also helped at University events aimed at raising aspirations among school children and took advantage of additional professional development opportunities.
Last year, Ms Jones was one of only two pre-service teachers from Australia selected to attend a national conference on education in rural Australia.
“Thanks to the skills and experience I gained during my USC degree, I felt really confident walking in the classroom on the first day of school this year as a graduate teacher,” she 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.”
The mother of two said being able to study in her home town was one of the highlights of her USC experience.
“I attribute a large part of my success to the wonderful support and many opportunities students receive at USC Gympie,” said Ms Jones who intends to complete a Master of Education to help achieve her career goal of becoming a school principal.
- Clare McKay
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