More than 130 graduates attended La Trobe University Mildura’s graduation ceremony at the Mildura Arts Centre last Friday, with family and friends proudly looking on.

The graduates managed to put their heads down and complete studies as well as work placements during a tough 2020-2021 period which was filled with COVID-related challenges.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO said he was thrilled the graduates could be recognised and celebrated in a proper graduation ceremony.

“After an incredibly tough year, it’s wonderful that we can come together in person to acknowledge the achievements of these students,” he said.

“The resilience and dedication they showed as well as the skills they have honed in critical thinking and flexible working over the last 18 months will make them an even greater asset to employers for years to come.”

Among them was a unique pair – Education graduate Shene Stephens, whose mother, Jaime Scholz, is a teacher at Irymple Primary School, and Nursing graduate Luandie Fourie, whose mother, Janine Fourie, is a nurse at the Mildura Base Public Hospital.

Both of these graduates had the opportunity to complete placement at the same workplace as their mothers and learn from them in the process.

“It feels so good to graduate and it was really comforting on placement that everyone knew mum and me and made me feel at home,” Luandie said.

“It was nice to have a familiar face right there next to me who could give me support and advice.”

Shene shared the same sentiments as Luandie, and said she will be better off after the experience of the last year.

“It’s so exciting to graduate after a challenging year with COVID, it’s just awesome to be able to celebrate and relax,” she said.

“Having mum there to help me has been great and now I can focus on building my knowledge and skills in my early career.”