The Territory’s top student Makayla Maduro was among the 153 students who graduated from the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) on 26 June. The 2014 graduation exercise was held at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.
The program began with remarks from Salutatorian Divannia Hill who told the graduates that the day was a moment of celebration. She said: “Today we celebrate the success and accomplishment of this year’s graduating class success which has come through personal sacrifice, determination and commitment…We thank God for blessing our journey in high school. We are thankful for the simple things we often take for granted… although we experience difficulties today is a testimony of our success.”
Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith congratulated the graduates and shared with them, what he said was a formula for success. “Determination, diligence and dedication: this is the formula for success in all you do. It is the success formula for leaders, CEOs, and people who know how to meet their destinies. I daresay it is already the formula for many of you seated here preparing to receive your certificates.”
The Premier urged the Class of 2014 to consider the vital role that their destiny will play in the Territory’s progress from that day onward. “I therefore encourage you to fine-tune your talents and dare to be different! We need determined, dedicated and diligent creative pioneers whose initiatives will contribute to our Territory’s ongoing growth and development in all sectors.”
The School’s Principal, Wade Tobin told the students that graduating from that institution implied that they have mastered the level of academic work at the school and are ready to pursue a higher level of education or have gained some skills that has equipped them with the competency necessary for the world of work. “It is also a time for celebration, you are here to be recognized for your academic achievement at the end of this academic era in your life. Today is the moment to commemorate accomplishments, acknowledge new beginnings and celebrate new success.”
Valedictorian Makayla Maduro told the gathering that Salutatorian Divannia Hill is her close friend and that they supported each other on the journey. Makayla said: “Since Divannia and I were named top students in the Territory I’ve been getting the same question. “How did you do it?” It isn’t only one component or even two that made us the students that we are today but due to the short time allotted to us we will give you one key piece to this puzzle. School isn’t all about school, if that makes sense. School is about having fun, creating a balance in life and exploring different opportunities,” she announced.
Makayla disclosed that maintaining good grades has always been a constant struggle for her, as well as trying to achieve the elusive balance, that she said may not even exist. However, she credited her success to perseverance: “Divannia and I, as well as this class of graduating seniors stuck it out. It was hard at times, but I think this moment in our life proves that it was all worth it,” she said.
Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron Walwyn, during his brief remarks reminded the students that many persons had a hand in their achievements. “What I will ask you to do class of 2014, is to remember that a number of persons have invested in your future, your parents, your teachers and the people of this Territory through the Government of the Virgin Islands and we are all expecting many great things from you,” the Minister stated.
“We are asking that you see yourself for who you are in this community – a vital member of its development…you have equity in this community and as a share holder, you can only get out of the Virgin Islands what you put into building this great Territory of ours.”
The keynote address was presented by Class of 1994 graduates, Attorney-At-Law and Managing Partner of Sabals Law, Ms. Anthea L. Smith under the theme, “Getting Back to Basics”.