Skye woman named as Student of the Year
A student who was determined to complete her degree in the face of adversity has been named as Highland Theological College UHI Student of the Year.
Morag MacLeod has completed a BA in biblical studies through the University of the Highlands and Islands earlier this year.
The 52 year old from Kyleakin, Skye, was praised for her commitment to her studies despite several family issues and bereavements. She was also commended for her contribution to student life at the Dingwall-based college as well as her role in encouraging others to take up study.
Although Morag had a negative experience of education at school, she decided to give learning a second chance by undertaking an access course in Christian theology at Highland Theological College UH from 2003 to 2005. She progressed onto a degree in biblical studies in 2005 and has been studying part time ever since while continuing her work as a self-employed hairdresser.
Morag was nominated for the award by her tutor, Reverend Hector Morrison, who is also principal of the college. He explained: “Over the course of her studies, Morag had to cope with a series of family issues and bereavements. Due to additional pressures and responsibilities, it looked as if she would have to pull out, yet she was determined to complete her degree.”
He continued: “Despite her geographical distance, she has also been an enthusiastic and regular participant at college events whenever possible, including our open learning conference days, ceilidhs and sponsored walks. In her own area, she has organised an annual event to promote the work of the college.
“Morag’s experience of education had been largely negative, but with the confidence gained through the access course, she went on to achieve consistently good marks in her degree. This makes her a great role model for others. She is also an example of the way a transformation in one person’s education can rub off on others, not least because of the enthusiasm with which she encouraged others to become involved in education.”
Speaking about her award, Morag said: “I am honoured and overwhelmed that I have been awarded this accolade, especially knowing the quality of my fellow students. Being at HTC has been, without doubt, one of the best, most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. HTC not only provided an excellent, well-designed course; the quality and support of the staff, and their exemplary care and attention to student struggles, was way beyond anything I could have imagined. Furthermore, their practical set up allowed me to study from home, (though on occasion by VC and on campus too), while yet continuing to work my hairdressing business.
“It is thanks to HTC that I am leaving with more than a degree in Biblical theology; I leave there a much more confidant person. The blessings, teachings and truths of Scripture, the new skills I developed, new experiences I was exposed to and the new friendships I have gained, will all equip and serve me well as I pursue the next step of my journey with God.”
Morag was presented with her Student of the Year certificate and a cheque for £150 at the Highland Theological College UHI graduation ceremony in September. She will also go forward as a candidate for the overall University of the Highlands and Islands Student of the Year award, the winner of which will be announced at the university’s Foundation Day in Fort William tomorrow (Tuesday 26 November).
Now she has finished her studies, Morag hopes to undertake mission work in the Middle East.