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University Centre St Helens graduation ceremony showcases inspiring students

A cohort of over 100 students from University Centre St Helens celebrated their academic achievements on Saturday 12th November 2022 during a graduation ceremony at St Helens Parish Church.

The students were joined in celebration by family, friends, academic staff and honoured guests, including the Mayor of St Helens, the Mayor of Knowsley and motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Angela Preston.

University Centre St Helens’ Class of 2022 processed through St Helens town centre, led by the Town Crier, Parr Band and Valley Brass Band, to the delight of passers-by.

Once the students arrived at the church, CEO and Principal, Simon Pierce, opened proceedings with his address, before welcoming honoured guest, Angela Preston to the stage.

After leaving a career in the finance sector in 2014, Angela has had an inspiring journey, from staging her own play, standing as a parliamentary candidate in the 2019 general election to becoming an internationally recognised bestselling author.

Angela’s empowering message encouraged the graduands to reach their full potential, she told them, “You all have the opportunity to live life on your terms. You don’t have to fit in any box; what is important is to do something you love, because nothing will stop you moving forward. Don’t leave the pen in someone else’s hand – write your own story.”

Every year, St Helens Rotary Club present the Rotary Club Award to a graduating student who has overcome adversity, showing dedication to their studies and determination to succeed. This year’s winner was Antonia Green, who graduated from the Foundation Degree in Media Production. After being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder during her studies, Antonia demonstrated that neurodiverse conditions are not a barrier to success. Her natural leadership skills and drive to manage projects was praised, including a collaboration with the Daniel Fox Foundation, her work on a new BBC Three comedy series with Red Television Ltd and setting a stellar example for her peers.

After being introduced back in 2021, this year’s Microbiology Award was presented by esteemed guest, Dr John Kerry to Lauren McDougall. Lauren showed tremendous resolve throughout her studies, including overcoming the effects of long Covid to complete a fascinating project on antimicrobial substances.

The graduates then returned to University Centre St Helens for a canapé reception, served by St Helens College’s catering and hospitality students, who gained valuable work experience and provided first-class service to guests.

Those inspired by this year’s graduates, considering a career change, or looking to progress their career can apply now for 2023 entry on a range of full and part-time degrees, including flexible evening study. Visit for further information.