It was a proud day for adult learners who graduated recently from lots of courses at the Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre.
Scroll through our extensive gallery of photos by Michael Scully.
The award ceremony in Tower Hill was on October 23 and many of the graduates spoke publically to an audience of hundreds of supportive family and friends.
Certs were presented to graduates from QQI Levels 1-5, in Business, Office Skills, Art and Design, Science and Engineering, IT, Adult Literacy, Music and Drama and English for Speakers of other languages.
Learner Stephen Bergin had the job of formally welcoming everyone followed by Cathy Clear who gave an account of returning to education at the age of 67.
She had been spurred on by her friend Colette, after confiding in her that she could not read or write.
Brimming with pride, Cathy received her QQI certification and thanked all the people who helped her in the Adult Literacy Service, especially Colette and her tutor Seamus.
The centre has a new Maths Through Darts game, explained by Resource Worker Padraig Hennessey.
The game can be used to learn everyday maths in a fun way. Padraig quoted Tony Flanagan, a learner on this course, and how useful he found it, particularly with helping his grandchild with Maths homework.
Centre Manager Lisa McEvoy explained options for progression at the centre, if adults want to do extra courses or start a job.
She praised the sense of community in the centre and thanked the staff for their hard work.
Kay Doocey told how she completed a full Level 3 Award at Portlaoise FET Centre and now has employment in both retail and office administration.
Business Administration students Nicole Delaney and Reda Andruskiene told their stories too. Nicole initially was a participant on a Family Learning Programme in a local school and Reda started when she decided to improve her English.
Colin Flaherty Further Education Manager ended by thanking staff and learners, and especially the families who supported the students in their studies.