Mother of six among college graduates
Mum gains diploma against the odds
A mother of six is among the 160 students who are due to attend the annual graduation ceremony at South Eastern Regional College this evening.
During the past two years, Sinead McKenna completed two JEB qualifications gaining her a JEB Level 3 Teaching Diploma in Education Practice.
She will join her fellow students in Downpatrick, where they will receive recognition of their academic achievements.
Despite a range of challenges throughout her time at the college - including pregnancy and a family bereavement - Sinead still found time for her studies.
"I could not have done all this without the great support I received from my lecturers, Mary and Colette," she said.
"My baby was in hospital for a while during my course and they constantly forwarded me the class notes. Most of my children are now at school so I want to be well-qualified to eventually gain employment as a part-time lecturer."
Sinead is now commencing the HNC in Computing at the Adult Education Campus at Downpatrick.
Another student graduating this evening is Leanne Brown, who completed an HNC in Computing.
Leanne, who hopes to eventually gain employment as a software developer or project manager, has now commenced a BSc Honours Degree in Applied Computing at Letterkenny Regional College.
She said: "My lecturers were tremendous, they widened my knowledge on programming, project management, systems analysis, end-user support and quality systems."
Speaking ahead of this evening's ceremony, acting principal and chief executive Tom Place expressed his warm congratulations to the graduates.
"You have grasped the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills with commitment and enthusiasm. Continue to forge ahead with your quest for learning and development."
The guest speaker at the event is Jack Ferris who retired last year from his position as headmaster of Down High School in Downpatrick.
He is a magistrate for youth and family courts and a member of the new Governing Body of the South Eastern Regional College.