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Graduation in a time of uncertainty

Graduation in a time of uncertainty

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BY THE TIME September rolls around each year, our schools’ graduations are usually long past. This is not the case in 2020, owing to the disruptive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some schools had contemplated not having a ceremony at all, but over the past three weeks, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) as well as two of our leading secondary schools have held modified ceremonies to celebrate our young scholars and mark the end of one stage of their educational journey.

The ceremonies themselves posed challenges for the students, parents and other well wishers, with attendance at the ceremonies being limited to as few as one guest in the case of the SVGCC, placing students in the uncomfortable positing of choosing which parent would accompany them to the ceremony.

The temperature checks, uncomfortable choices and physical distancing not withstanding, our educational institutions that held graduation ceremonies must be commended for so doing when they could have taken the easier route of cancellation.

Our young citizens who are graduating in the midst of a global pandemic must be commended for getting to this stage, as without exception, they completed their courses and wrote their exams in a manner that could not be predicted at the beginning of the academic year.

And today, September 22, our secondary school graduates as well as those graduating from the A’level programme of the SVGCC will receive from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the results of their external examinations.

These exams, like the graduation ceremonies were delayed and modified. It would be interesting to see if the changes to the exam format have appreciably impacted the expected outcomes of students.

We must be sensitive to those young people who do not live up to expectations, in many cases, their own expectations. Also in need of encouragement and support are those who have not worked out the pathway (financial and otherwise) to achieve their dreams at this time.

We must remind our young people that they should never give up, as they have a great asset – their youth — which gives them ample time, energy and opportunity to get back on track when they falter.

They should be encouraged by the fact that young people of today have more choices than any other generation that came before them. They are not constrained by the150 square miles that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines; they are truly a part of a global village whose opportunities are there for them to grasp, once they put their mind to it. They are part of a generation that is not afraid to question the status quo and will march to the beat of a drum only they can hear. All the very best to our graduates at all levels!

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