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837 students graduate from SVGCC

837 students graduate from SVGCC

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The 2015 graduating class of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) is the largest in the history of the institution.

On Tuesday, 837 students crossed the stage at the Victoria Park to accept their certificates from various programmes that they had been enrolled in at the SVGCC.{{more}} This number comprised 784 students from the four divisions of the college, 21 who graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees in social work from a franchise programme with the Jamaica Theological Seminary and 31 students from the Bachelor of Nursing completion programme from the University of Technology in Jamaica.

In his feature address, Minister of Foreign Affairs senator Camillo Gonsalves commented on the evolution of education over the years, noting that 15 years ago, only 851 students were enrolled in all four divisions, which is three times less than the number that enrolled last year.

Additionally, he noted that previously persons could not attain Associate or Bachelor’s degrees within the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Education is the surest path out of poverty, the most powerful tool to change the world and a means by which you unlock the doors to freedom of choice and opportunity. You were born at the right time. A time when your parents, grandparents, neighbours and uncles and aunts decided unambiguously to put their faith in your future and to dream for your life that which may have been beyond the realm of their own parents dreams for them,” Gonsalves said.

The featured speaker compiled his words of wisdom for the graduates into two words and encouraged them to “Be Bold.”

“Two words that I want you to keep with you, when you are alone in the valley of decision, and when you don’t know which path is the correct one. Be bold, dream your own dreams, captain your own ship and don’t be afraid to steer it into uncharted waters. Venture out onto the tight rope and don’t be afraid to fall or to fail because it matters not how often you fall, as long as you get up one more time. Don’t fear falling. Instead, imagine you are soaring like eagles with wings unclipped to new and higher heights,” he said.

While he noted that parents want the best for their children, Gonsalves told the graduates that parents do not know what is best. Instead, he encouraged the students to rely on their parents and benefit from their experiences, but ultimately, to be the deciders of their own destiny.

Among a number of top performers, Kyle James was awarded with the divisional award of excellence for the Division of Sciences, Arts and General Studies. In the Division of Teacher Education, Jevon James was awarded with the divisional award of excellence and Veron Browne from the Division of Technical and Vocational Education received the same award.

James, who had the privilege of delivering the valedictory address, thanked all persons who were instrumental in helping the graduates reach far in their academic lives.

He encouraged his fellow graduates to respect themselves, have big goals and strive for excellence, all while remaining humble, not compromising their integrity and still finding time to relax.

“We must now look forward to the future with hope and resilience. Always persevere in working towards your dreams.

Set attainable goals for yourselves and when you achieve these goals, set higher ones.

There’s always work to be done, there’s always improvement to be made,” James said.

“In our quest for self actualization, there will be obstacles in our path. Therefore it is imperative that we show great resolve in not allowing those problems to deter us from this path of greatness to which we are called.

The path of least resistance is least rewarding.”
 
The valedictorian also opined that it was their duty to impact humankind positively by giving hope to those who are in despair. To this end, he encouraged his colleagues to help the less fortunate and to never think of themselves as too insignificant to make a contribution.

“You may very well spark revolutionary change or save a life,” he said.

Despite nursing a sprained ankle, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was in attendance to deliver remarks to this year’s graduating class.

He encouraged students to be mindful of their next steps after they graduate and to be sure that their choices were practical.

For persons who wish to attend university, the Prime Minister advised that education is an investment in oneself and so they should be clear about where they want to study, what they want to study, how much the programme costs and how they intend to finance their studies.

Director of SVGCC, Nigel Scott also delivered remarks at Tuesday’s ceremony. (BK)

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