MORE than 100 students graduated from Hereford College of Arts last week as almost a quarter of students celebrated achieving a first class degree.

In total 103 honours degrees were awarded, with graduates coming together with their friends, families and tutors to celebrate at Hereford Cathedral last Thursday.

Speaking to graduates at the ceremony, principal Abigail Appleton thanks the college's staff, but saluted students for opting to take a vocational degree.

"I know that I speak on behalf of all the staff of the Arts School, academic staff behind me and the many others who have supported you in saying how much we respect you and respect the educational choices you have made," she said.

"You don't need me to remind you that creative degrees take time and tenacity, the development of making through skills through materials and performance, and critical thinking. Our society often undervalues, in education, making in favour of a narrow view of what it means to be academic.

"As one of our honorary fellows said at an event during your degree show, creative education is vocational, not only for being directly connected to a vast array of real-world jobs as it is, but also for answering a calling in the heart.

"Many of you have taken brave decisions to change direction in life and following that calling and we salute you for it."

The celebrations moved from the cathedral to The Left Bank, where a drinks reception provided the opportunity for everyone to relax and enjoy the celebratory occasion.