Hundreds of College of West Anglia students marched through the centre of Lynn for a graduation ceremony at the Corn Exchange on Saturday.
The graduands came through the town at noon from Lynn Town Hall, walking in full ceremonial regalia among Saturday afternoon shoppers.
It was a proud day for both the students and the college and the culmination for so many of so much hard work.
The student of the year award went to Rosanna Day, from March, who studied a BSC hons in Veterinary Nursing and Applied Animal Behaviour.
She said: “I was not expecting to win student of the year at all.
“I really enjoyed my course; we had some amazing lecturers in our final year and without them, my cohort would not have done half as well as we have done.
“We were quite a small group but, at the end of the day, we are all such good friends now and we will all stay in touch. I have already got a job at a veterinary hospital in King’s Lynn.
“I might look at specialising further down the line but at the moment I am excited to get stuck in to my job, fully qualified.
“My dad and my little sister were in the audience at graduation, I don’t think they were expecting me to win either! I did keep looking for them while I was on stage but I think they were sitting quite far back so I couldn’t see them!”
Although there are some 10,000 students in total enrolled at the college’s three campuses in Lynn, Wisbech and Milton (Cambridge) – mainly in further education – higher education (HE) plays an increasingly significant role.
In his speech, CWA principal David Pomfret said: “The College of West Anglia now provides higher education opportunities to well over 400 students and this year there are 155 students graduating from 20 programmes.
“The fact that we are able to offer such a diverse and high quality range of higher education locally is due to the successful partnership we have established with Anglia Ruskin University. We work exclusively with the university to offer a student centred range of courses.
“Our commitment to higher education has never been stronger and we want to raise aspirations, meet local employer skills needs and provide greater opportunities for everyone. Our HE students have sacrificed much to achieve success and today is a day of celebration for you, our graduands.
“It is also a special day for those family members and friends that have been there for you throughout; offering support and maybe a shoulder to cry on.
“I’m sure many of you have found it challenging at times, there may have been moments when you had doubts about yourself and your abilities.
“I’m sure there were times when some of you felt like giving up and it’s at times like this that family and friends are crucial and they deserve thanks and recognition for the role they have played in your success.
“Each of you has made the most of what the college has offered you.
“Your hard work and commitment has paid off and today you are graduating! Like my colleagues and I, you should be extremely proud of yourselves and what you have achieved.
“On behalf of everyone here, I would like to wish you all the very best for the future as you move on to employment or further study.
“You have a bright future ahead of you. Be ambitious about what you can achieve in the future.”