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730 students graduate from the SVGCC

730 students graduate from the SVGCC

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After two years of burning the midnight oil, studying for exams, early morning classes, sweat and tears, 730 students now have the satisfaction of calling themselves graduates of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.{{more}}

On Tuesday, June 26, faculty members, family and well-wishers converged at the Victoria Park to congratulate the graduating class of 2012 and encourage them to continue along their journeys to career success.

Featured speaker Michael G. Dennie (Ph.D), associate professor of History at the St Mary’s College of Maryland, referred to the event as a “transformative act…without parallel in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

“You are absolute proof that St Vincent doesn’t have to be…an intellectual wasteland,” he insisted.

“This college and your presence here…stand as powerful evidence that Vincentians can in fact interrogate existing institutions and create new ones, better designed to meet the challenges of a changing world.”

Dennie, who has been with the SVG Community College as a visiting professor since January 2012, said that in his interactions with students, he was impressed by their willingness to “listen, to learn, to think and to approach the future with absolute fearlessness”.

He also said that it was refreshing to see so many young people excited about their futures, in the face of the daily bombardment of negativity about them and society.

“This very conflict…can serve as the catalyst for new forms of thinking, and particularly so in the evolving culture of education in St Vincent,” said Dennie.

He urged them to embrace learning as a “life-long commitment” and to always question the status quo.

Dennie further congratulated the SVG Community College on successfully integrating four previously separate entities into a single higher education institution, which he explained has allowed for the transfer of ideas and information across schools and disciplines and between faculty members in the pursuit of “academic excellence”.

He said that he is hopeful that our nation can one day advance to the status of being known as the intellectual capital of the Caribbean. Vincentian-born Dennie conceded that it may be an optimistic ambition, but certainly not impossible.

“Vincentians have shown in the past that we have the capacity to reach and exceed limitations which others have set on us,” he said.

Director of the SVG Community College S. Joel Warrican (Ph.D) reminded the graduates that their journeys have not ended, but rather just begun.

“I want you to see today as the beginning of a new phase of your life’s journey,” he said.

He urged them to raise their standards, as they will now be viewed as adults.

“You will have to be what you want people to see in you. Do not let others define you. Use your youth and vitality to make us proud. Be a credit to yourself!” he insisted.

Warrican spoke of the improvements that the graduating class has seen at the SVG Community College, including the introduction of associate degrees, installation of air conditioning and refrigeration laboratories and infrastructural development.

He also mentioned that the 47 percent general increase in student enrollment had put extra strain on the institution’s resources.

“We all recognize that nothing is perfect, and that there are challenges to be faced with these developments. We should see these challenges as opportunities to seek innovative ways to improve our services.”

In opening remarks, chairman of the Board of Directors Audrey Gittens-Gilkes thanked staff members for their dedication to delivering high quality education.

“Our mandate is to deliver a total student, one immersed in education, while at the same time one whose sense of stability propels him or her to engage in those activities that can truly be described as nation building,” she said.

She also congratulated the graduating class, wishing them every success in their future endeavours, but reminded them to give back to the societies that helped to mould them.

“Graduation is always a time of happiness…a sense that there is merit in hard work…

Go forth and pay your dues to society!”

The valedictorian speech was delivered by Sandrina James-Hamilton of the Division of Nursing Education.

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