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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig marks graduation success with online celebration

Chaidh cuirm Luchd-ceuma Shabhal Mòr Ostaig a chumail air-loidhne air Dihaoine 2 Dàmhair, nuair a thàinig an luchd-ceuma, luchd-teagaisg agus riochdairean bhon Bhòrd Stiùiridh còmhla airson meal an naidheachd a chur air na h-oileanaich agus airson an cuid shaothair a chomharrachadh ann am bliadhna a tha air a bhith gu math neo-àbhaisteach.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig held an online celebration on Friday to mark its graduates’ successes, which brought graduates, teaching staff and representatives of the SMO Board together to congratulate all the students on their acheivements and hard work, in what has been a challenging year.

SMO – the National Centre for Gaelic Langauge and Culture – saw 59 students graduate this year with a variety of titles from the undergraduate and postgraduate programme.  For the first time, we have a cohort of 11 students from various secondary schools who have gained a certificate in 2 Foundation Apprenticeship courses currently offered by the College.  Postgraduate success sees 3 students graduate with Distinction from our MSc; and we also have 6 graduates awarded with First Class degrees.

SMO Principal, Dr Gillian Rothach, said: “This year, in spite of the chaos caused by the global pandemic Covid-19, the graduates successfully finished their degrees. What a reason to be proud! Congratulations to each and every student, from this country and from many countries around the world, who chooses to study with us. And congratulations too to the graduates’ families and friends, SMO lecturers and support staff, who all helped the graduates in their journeys. Even though we can’t be together physically at SMO yet, we look forward to an event in 2021 when we’ll celebrate together with the graduates and dance the night away at the ceilidh mòr.”

Amongst the many prizes that were announced on the night, the UHI award for SMO Student of the Year went to Ross Christie from Kilchrenan, Argyll.  Ross came to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig as a school-leaver and was an outstanding student on An Cùrsa Comais.  He was awarded tha national prize for Gaelic Learner of the Year in 2017 at the Royal National Mod and continued to excel at his studies, now graduating BA Gaelic Language and Culture with First class Honours.  Ross’s nomination gained unanimous support from his tutors and other staff at SMO who knew him well.  His lecturers praised his academic ability and the fact that he was always helpful, hardworking, encouraging to his fellow-students and a great role-model for male students.  He is now employed by MG Alba as a Communications and Content Co-ordinator.

Mairi MacLennan from Inverness was the recipient of the Duncan MacQuarrie Memorial Prize which recognises excellence in teaching on the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education programme.  It is so appropriate that this prize has been established at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig since Duncan had strong and lasting connections to the College and especially as his own daughter, Gwen, is a lecturer on this very course.  Mairi’s inclusive and encouraging approach impressed both college tutors and she is currently in her first year of Gaelic-medium teaching at Salen Primary School in Mull.

This year for the first time we are also marking the FE SMO Student of the Year and the recipient is Èirinn Toner from Glasgow.  Èirinn undertook the Foundation Apprenticeship in Children and Young People and now hopes to continue her studies and become a Gaelic teacher.

The evening’s online celebration included Gaelic music and song from current SMO students – piping from 1st year student, Tòmas Young and a song from Saffron Hanvidge who has just started her 3rd year.  Afterwards a live ceilidh was held via the College’s Facebook page, with music from Mànran’s  Ewen Henderson and Gary Innes.  We hope to be able to hold a Graduation Ceremony for our 2020 graduates at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig sometime next year, to properly mark their achievements.

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