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It is graduation time again

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This is the time of the year when all across St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) parents and their children, teachers and educational officials, and a wider swatch of friends and well-wishers gather together to celebrate the achievements of our students who have competed various stages of the educational journey. Some have completed pre-school and must now be moving on to full status as primary school students. The youngest of our students, they are simply beyond precious. We hope they keep their innocence for as long as possible.{{more}}Some of our children have gone through the fires of sitting examinations that not only end their primary school careers, but carry potentially life determining consequences. These exams have determined which secondary schools they will be will allowed to attend. Given the fierce completion for places in the more prestigious secondary schools in the country, we hail those students who have achieved their ambitions. But we do re-affirm the central vision of the Education Revolution: providing secondary access to all of our students will benefit them and our society immeasurably.

Pride of place in the graduation sweepstakes has usually been reserved for our students who have just completed their secondary school journey. This is warranted. Some, and we hope most of them, would choose to further their education in the colleges and the universities of the world. Others would enter the workplace to take that critical step into adulthood – becoming self-sustaining individuals. And this is precisely the point why we attach so much value to graduation from secondary school. It represents a fundamental rite of passage where we as a society begin to see the full measure of our investment in our children. We invest much – financially, socially, emotionally. And we hope, as we must, that they will become the bright stars that light up our days and nights, as our society barrels its way into the future.

Some of them have already shown us what that future might look like. These are our students – young adults really – who have completed one or more of the academic and technical programmes offered at the SVG Community College. Some will become doctors; others will become engineers. Some will become nurses; others will become teachers. Some will become economists; others will become lawyers. Indeed, the full range of occupations we know, and some which are yet to be invented, these graduating students will fill these roles and the SVG we will live in in the decades to come will, in no small measure, be shaped by these young graduates whom we celebrate.

In the end, of course, our commitment to our students is a commitment to ourselves. Our reason for existing is indelibly bound up with the obligations we make to one another. The protection of its young, the preparation of its young for an unknowable future is the fullest expression of the principle that our lives have meaning beyond the moment within which we live. We have instead a trans-generational compact to make SVG a better place. Each generation is called upon to honour its predecessors and to prepare its successors. It is in the end a profound statement of our faith in the promise of life. Each graduation season represents the opportunity to renew our faith. As our younger ones march across the many graduation stages throughout the length and breadth of SVG, they keep awake the dream of a new and better SVG to come.

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