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Highlights from ITC Graduation 2016

Posted on 16/08/2016 by
Thank you to the Langham Hotel for hosting the ITC 2016 Graduation Ceremony.

Thank you to the Langham Hotel for hosting the ITC 2016 Graduation Ceremony. It was a night to remember!

Did you miss out on attending Grad? Don’t worry – below are some highlights from this sensational evening. And if you did attend, relive all your favourite moments and share this post with friends and family. 

It was an evening of sparkly gowns, dazzling headpieces, and bowler hats. The 1920s-themed ITC 2016 Graduation was an occasion worthy of its location: the Grand Room at the Langham, one of Auckland’s finest five-star hotels.

As students, parents, friends and teachers arrived at the venue, the excitement began to mount. Immaculately dressed, everyone mingled over drinks and delicious canapes as they waited for the fun to start. And start it did. The evening was opened in style by MC Jonny Huxley, who did a superb job as host (and even managed to fit in a Geordie Shore reference).

The first guests to grace the stage were performers from the Edgewater College Kapa Haka Group. They performed a traditional Māori welcoming ritual. Everyone was thoroughly impressed by their amazing performance – the crowd cheered with delight after they played their final song.

Edgewater College Kapa Haka Group

Edgewater College Kapa Haka Group

Next, ITC Managing Director Kerry Priestley took the podium in his trademark humorous style. His speech was short and sweet, and he took this opportunity to celebrate the ITC team, whom he referred to as “his family”.

Kerry was followed by ITC Founder and special guest, Karen Houston, who started the College in 1996. To celebrate ITC turning 20, Karen shared the personal journey which led her to open the College (which believe it or not started with a job in a toilet paper factory). From packing toilet paper as a teenager, Karen’s worked her way up to manage one of the UK’s top travel retailers before she discovered her passion for adult education and moved to New Zealand to live her dream. Once settled in Auckland, she opened the doors of ITC. Karen’s speech was heartwarming, inspiring, and entertaining – what a life she’s lived so far. We’re all immensely grateful she had the vision to open ITC 20 years ago.

ITC Founder Karen Houston

ITC Founder Karen Houston

Next to grace the stage was ITC Tourism Education Team Leader Melissa Fey (known to most of her students as ‘short course Mel’). Mel had a very special message to share with the audience. A few months ago, Mel became the first New Zealand female in 2016 to run the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon in Nepal. Yes, you read right: there’s a marathon on Everest. Mel ran from Everest Base Camp to the small town of Namche, a gruelling 42.2km course that also happens to be the highest-altitude run in the world. Understandably, this was quite the challenge! Yet, as Mel pointed out, “we all have our own Everest”. She compared gaining a qualification with running a marathon; both take a lot of time, commitment and perseverance.

Mel ended her speech by sharing a video of her experience. We hope you have a tissue handy – it’s a tear-jerker!

After Mel’s inspiring talk, the awards began. Distance Learning Team Leader, Carla Sutton, was the first to hand out certificates to her Study From Home students. She was followed by Sarndra and John from the City Campus and Cathy and Stacey from the Botany Campus. The directors, Kerry and Claire, were on stage to congratulate the students one-by-one.

ITC Botany Campus tutors Cathy and Stacy

ITC Botany Campus tutors Cathy and Stacey

Once everyone had their certificates, Head of Group Services, Michelle Chatfield, took to the stage to hand out the special awards. Special awards are for students who went above and beyond throughout their studies. The 2016 winners are as follows:

Study From Home

Communication Excellence: Lindsay Manukia-Siufaga
Academic Excellence: Rebekah Ochia (Linton)
Student of the Year SFH – Melanie Lawrence

City Road

Academic Excellence – Connie Mitchell
College Life: Ayrton Moleana
Outstanding All Round Achievement: Alex Murti
Student of the Year – Samantha Mooney


Academic Excellence: Amanda Bull
College Life: Taryn Brown
Outstanding All Round Achievement: Shalu Dass
Student of the Year –Natasha Colville

The special awards marked the end of the ceremony, and everyone filed out of the Great Room for group photos with friends, family, and ITC staff in the foyer. It was a truly magical evening filled with joy, celebration, and a proud sense of achievement.

A warm congratulations to everyone who graduated – we’re going to miss you! And remember – don’t be a stranger. Make sure you keep in touch, we’d love to hear from you as you enjoy your fabulous career in airline, travel or tourism.

All photos were taken by Mark Moore Photography.

Special thanks to the following industry sponsors for providing vouchers for the Special Awards: 360 Discovery Cruises, YHA, Stray, Auckland Adventure Jet, InterCity, Nomads Fat Camel, and AJ Hackett Bridge Climb & Bungy

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