One hundred and fifty seven students of the Charlestown Secondary Graduating Class 2007, received strong admonition from Premier of Nevis and Minister of Education Honourable Joseph Parry, to never lose sight of their dreams even when they faced adversity. His advice came at the school’s graduation ceremony on November 14, 2007 at the Charlestown Methodist Church, as he showered the school with praise for a successful year.
“You are now charged with the responsibility of being an adult to go to work, to give service to be productive. I hope all of you have now concluded that this is one phase in your life and that you would regard this phase as a gateway to the world of education, learning and training.”
“I want to say to all of you, hold on to your dream, hold fast to your dream. There are many opportunities for you. The Nevis Island Government is there to give you training. Every one of you will get the training if you want the training if you are willing to take the training. Hold on fast to your dream,” he said.
He encouraged them to take their destiny in their hands, to be willing to make sacrifices with regard to long hours of reading, discussions and working; to not shy away from hard work; to hold fast to the principals of their parents and school; to be honest at all times and to resist the glitz and glamour of television.
“Shortcuts are dangerous, stick to the principals and the proven path, learn to communicate with others and also learn to listen. You cannot learn if you are always talking there must be a time for listening as well. Learn to listen and understand; take criticism. You can learn about yourself from even your fault finders but know this, not all criticism is bad. It often helps you to see yourself as other people see you.
“Your opinion of yourself is vital, the opinion of others can help you to understand who you really are. Be polite at all times, politeness is not synonymous with weakness. You can be firm but polite, you can be decisive and polite, know when to say no and when to say yes. Never say maybe, maybe is not an option, it smacks of indecision and weakness. It opens you to cracks in your armory which others can exploit. Be ready for all opportunities,” he said.
The education minister stressed the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) had taken steps to ensure that the island’s students received exposure through local, regional or international training and the opportunities would come in the form of practical, college and university courses. He said it was the Administration’s way to give students value added to give greater earning power and to take their place in the world.
He also appealed to the graduating class of 2007 to remember their parents, teachers and their school who collectively helped them through dedication and a sense of commitment to reach such an important milestone in their lives.
“Evaluate these qualities but most of all develop a sense of loyalty. If you have no loyalty you become ruthless. You lose respect for others you only see them as stepping stones and stumbling blocks on your way of your personal ambition and your goals. Eventually, if you have no loyalty, you lose respect for yourself as well.
Remain rooted in your family the teachers who have served you well and the schools who have protected you and have nurtured you so well. Be loyal and give something back to your parents, to your teachers to your school,” he said.
Ms. Kyndra Liburd who topped the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination in the Federation; Ms. Sashia Goddet who topped the Caribbean Secondary Certificate and Mr. Clifford Harrigan who was the top student in the National Certificate of Education Competencies all gave valedictory speeches.
Ms. Liburd urged her classmates of the Sixth Form to set goals for themselves, work arduously to achieve them and to not forget those who would help them to achieve those goals since all things were possible if they believed.
Ms. Goddet in her address told her fellow students that though they had reached a significant milestone in their lives they should realize that they had not yet arrived but had just begun a lifelong journey of learning with its share of trials. However, she urged them to press on with zeal and confidence and to endeavour to make their lives an example for others to follow.
Mr. Harrigan expressed his gratitude to all who made his success a reality.