Pathway Students Celebrate Graduation

News Release
 

Last week members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated their achievements as part of the Pathway Connections Conference and Graduation for Brigham Young University’s Worldwide PathwayConnect program. BYU-Pathway Worldwide was built to bring education to those who might otherwise not have access to a traditional university. Started as a pilot of BYU-Idaho in 2009, BYU-Pathway Worldwide now exceeds the enrolment of its originating BYU institutions with over 35,000 students in 500 locations around the world.

24 graduates from one of the four graduating classes from across Sydney graduated at the Hebersham Stake Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The average age of these graduates is 37 years where many of them have not been in a classroom since they were very young. Some live in low socioeconomic areas and are seeking to improve themselves through higher learning by undertaking a series of online classes, mandatory weekly gatherings and gospel instruction to strengthen their literacy and numeracy understandings as a precursor for university study.

Elder Matu Tupene, PathwayConnect missionary and mentor, spoke about the success of this program and the impact this will have on the graduates’ lives, “We're excited and thrilled for the graduates. They have come from various backgrounds and have been seeking to make some changes in their lives through education and opportunities to go on for higher education... Many of the graduates haven't been in the classroom for over 20 years."

In attendance were Elder Ian S. Ardern, member of the Pacific Area Presidency, and President Clark G. Gilbert, the first president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

President Gilbert was previously president of BYU Idaho where he incorporated emerging technologies into the classic classroom setting. This made online classes available to over 20% more students. President Gilbert has led the BYU Pathway Worldwide program since May 1, 2017. In President Gilbert’s many experiences, he understood the value of education and the need to adapt traditional teaching methods to more modern practices to benefit as many as possible.

In his closing remarks, Elder Ardern counselled that education “is so much easier when you are in the company of another... If you know someone who can be blessed by education, extend the invitation to this opportunity that the Church is providing."

Elder Ardern’s final invitation was for students to live worthily and qualify for “the ability to tap into the power of the Holy Ghost who knows all things… When it gets tough, [you can] call upon the Lord and He will tutor [you] and the light of understanding will come. You will still have to work but you have the additional power needed to do hard things.”

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