Giovanni Slack is Grammar School 2020 valedictorian
“Success of any sort does not come about without discipline, commitment, and dedication.”
Those are the words of Giovanni Slack, the valedictorian of the 2020 graduating class of the St Vincent Grammar School (SVGS).
Slack made the statement on Monday as he delivered the valedictory address at the SVGS’s graduation ceremony, held at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.
Speaking to his peers, their parents and teachers, the scholar said that the school’s motto, “Through rough ways to the stars”, is applicable, and aptly describes their five-year journey through the SVGS.
“Despite the challenges, what kept some of us grounded and focused were the voices of parents like my mother’s echoing in our ears.
“I remember the phrases, ‘You are the head and not the tail’; ‘You are a leader and not a follower’, ‘You can do anything and become anything you want to with God’s help, just apply yourself and do your work, and do your best always’,” Slack said.
And, it is obvious that he followed this advice as the science student swept up several awards during the ceremony.
He took the awards for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography and Spanish. He was also given the RAJ Services Award for most outstanding science student.
He told the gathering that striving for excellence is a way of honoring and thanking God for the abilities and skills that we are blessed with.
“Do not sit on your talents, cultivate them. Indeed, academic excellence is desirable, however other virtues must also be cultivated so that we do not just become educated.
“We must also strive for mastery in self-control, temperance, as well as respect for self and others. We must also seek to develop the art of genuinely accepting and celebrating the differences between self and others,” Slack stressed.
Quoting Aristotle, he said, “we become confined to what we repeatedly do, hence excellence ought to be a habit and not just an act.
“If you are going to do a job, do it right, do it excellently. Shoot for the stars, be the best that you can be.”
Slack also recognized the persons he said helped him get to where he has reached so far, among them, teachers, his brother Lewis, his mother Deyon Nanton and the Norma Keizer Scholarship Foundation.
“I am honored to have been selected as the first boy to receive the inaugural Norma Keizer Scholarship, a full scholarship spanning a seven-year period from form one right up to A Levels.
“It was one of my motivations for applying myself and studying hard during my time at the SVGS. Ms Keizer and the other members of the scholarship foundation and other contributors to this foundation, I am extremely grateful to you for granting me the scholarship.
“I have done my best, and I am pleased to report today to the Norma Keizer Scholarship Foundation that you choose well,” Slack commented.
He also made mention of Joyce Burgin, Morvilla and Merle Muckett, Pat Roache, Bernard Morgan and, “Anne in the tuck shop and Denise, for feeding and nourishing us, so that we could work.”
Slack will receive today, the results from the 11 CSEC subjects he wrote this year, having already passed mathematics last year.
The graduation ceremony saw some 125 students graduating and also heard from headmaster Alfred John, feature speaker Daniel Campbell and Andrea Best on behalf of the parents of the graduating class.