LITTLE BAY – “Activate Your Potential: Succeed!” was the theme of the graduation ceremony and the charge given to the 57 students completing their education from the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) on Wednesday July 1st at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
The ceremony, which was attended by family, friends and well-wishers from the community was chaired by Roydenn Silcott, a former student of the MSS and now a successful government architect and businessman.
Principal Mrs. Cherlyn Hogan in her Annual Report, told of the successes and challenges of the school during the past year which began with seven teachers short of the full complement. The school faced a number of other challenges to include scarce resources, limited classroom space and the need to adjust the timetable several times to accommodate the school’s shortage of teachers.
She reported that during the 2013-2014 school year, the school had obtained a pass rate of 64% down from 74.8% in 2013. There were successes however. One student Chekube Okereke had obtained passes in 10 subject areas, two students had passes in eight subjects, six in seven areas and twenty in at least 5 subject areas. She highlighted the fact that the boys had performed creditably, stating that 69% of the passes in Grade 1 and 53% of the Grade 1 to 3 passes were obtained by boys.
The feature address was given by the Honourable Minister of Education, Health and Community Services, Mrs. Delmaude Ryan. She used her own experience to inspire students for success pointing out that there is no ‘such thing as failure’. An unemployed mother of two at 19, once she was employed rose through the ranks of the public service, to hold several senior government positions including Head Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), Director Performance Management and Development and Director Organizational Development. She acquiring a 1st degree, a Master’s Degree and the prestigious Chevening Scholar 2008/2009. In May 2015 on International Women’s Day, she was recognized by Chevening as ‘a Woman Making it Happen’. Mrs Ryan was celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary as she spoke.
Gifts and certificates were awarded to well deserving students. These were sponsored by corporate citizens and other individuals in the community and were distributed by Barrister Warren Cassell Sr and Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, the parents of the two valedictorians Mr. Warren Cassell Jr. and Ms. Isis Harvey.
The valedictorians, in presenting their speeches thanked God, their parents and family members, teachers and classmates for the journey through secondary school. Warren likened life to a Multiple Choice Test where there were several options and where sometimes only one was correct, but often one was just better than the others, or two or more were correct. He encouraged his fellow graduates to always make a choice.
Isis told of the experience going to and through secondary school and the role her friends played in helping her to get from being afraid to go to the next door classroom alone, to where she was now able to face the crowd and present her speech.
Meleik Richards, recipient of five top awards expressed that he was extremely honored to have been given the task of presenting the vote of thanks on behalf of the Principal, staff and students of the school. He gave thanks to the Almighty God for making the event possible and to all who took part including the performers. He ended by charging those present to ‘have a purpose, work passionately towards it and progress to excellence’ and wishing them God’s blessings.