STUDENTS grabbed the attention as they officially passed out at a special ceremony to celebrate their learning.
Project-U students paraded in uniform in front of invited guests at the event staged at Darlington College at Catterick.
Capt Francis O’Connor, of the Infantry Training Battalion, presented the students with a variety of awards, ranging from most improved attitude to most improved academically.
For the past four years Project-U has been transforming young lives targeting students who found it difficult to adapt to conventional schooling.
In some instances the course saw student improve their school attendance from just 13 per cent to 100 per cent.
Capt O’Connor told them: “It has been a privilege to be part of your course and I have been so impressed with your commitment and ability.
“You have demonstrated fitness and leadership, teambuilding skills and were outstanding on your expedition. You have shown that you have the ability to overcome your difficulties and I am confident you will now move forward and achieve success.”
He said Darlington College staff had been passionate about their care and learning and the course would stand them in good stead in the services or any other career they chose.
Darlington College 14-19 Skills Centre manager Tracey Laycock said: “Project-U has worked so well for the students and the staff have been amazing going well above and beyond.
“With their help many of the students have overcome difficulties that an adult would have struggled to come to terms with yet they have attended college every day.”
She said she was thrilled that a high number of the students were transferring to the main college site to continue their studies, while others had been accepted into the Armed Forces.
For Scott McCullough, 18, of Catterick Village, the course had been a revelation and he was now planning to join the Royal Logistics Corps.
“My tutor Jane Rishworth totally inspired me and from a very low point I became sergeant in charge,” he said.
“I came from a tough background and didn’t think I would be still here. I never thought I would get anywhere but have proved that anyone can do it. Never let anyone put you down. You have to push yourself but you can do it.”
Nathan McCormack, 15, of Catterick, improved his very poor school attendance to 100 per cent at college.
“I have loved all of it,” said Nathan, who collected the award for most improved attitude. “You are treated more like an adult and now I am aiming to join the Royal Navy to serve on a minesweeper.”
Liam Banks, 15, of Catterick, was awarded an accolade for most improved academically. He now plans to study a Level 2 Public Services course at Darlington College.
For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.