A chapter has ended but another has just begun for eighty students of the St. Mark’s Secondary School (SMSS). Comprising of thirty-five boys and forty-five girls, the students graduated last week Wednesday under the theme: “Embracing the challenges - Turn them into opportunities.”
This year the school observes its 25th Annual graduation ceremony, hence the Class of 2013 had a ceremonial send off with much significance to mark the milestone in the school’s history.
In delivering the principal's report, Ms. Irva Alexander highlighted the school’s achievements over the years and congratulated the graduates wishing them success in their endeavours.
“Graduands, as you are about to leave us, you seem quite eager and excited to venture on that journey to another life beyond these walls. We want to remind you that you will encounter mountains of difficulties and unprecedented challenges. In you quest to survive in particular protect yourself from the winds of change in the hostile world that is awaiting to welcome you, strengthen your immune system with medicine of good manners, respect, decency, sound values, pride in self, healthy lifestyles and faith in the Almighty. As you are part of us and our history and refinement, today we urge you to keep you shine as silver with the memories you live behind; and as you depart these walls be prepared to glitter as gold in all you future endeavours.”
Described as a Soldier leading the frontline battle, Ms. Alexander said that at times the journey was challenging but with true diligence they overcame.
“As we focus on SMSS to reflect on the contribution it has made, there is no doubt that the school has served its communities well and has transformed the lives of many. Twenty-five groups of graduates from this humble Institution is a significant amount. The writing is on the wall and the evidence is in the hall. Although we have had our fair share of challenges we have always remained a resilient Institution; and although times demand tough people, let us be resolved to elevate ourselves to the heights of a transformed Institution and rise to the occasion to continue the process of upholding its guided ideas, principles and reputation to strengthen its capacity as a beacon of hope in delivering quality service to our nation’s children.”
Ms. Alexander said that as the stake in Education is very high, there is an urgent need to realign themselves with home, school, and community to make a difference in the lives of the children if they have to save the future generation.
“As our societies have undergone major shifts in values and traditions in the absence of the effective extended families today, “it takes a village to raise a child” carries much significance and must be applied. As SMSS will be embarking on another phase of development beyond the Silver Jubilee experience, let us reposition ourselves with all our talents, expertise, energies and resources and in partnership with the school we can be a powerful influence to impact lives in our communities which can have ripple effects on what happens in our homes, schools and nation at large.”
In delivering the Feature Address Pastor Gerald Keens-Douglas congratulated the graduates stating that they are celebrating the joy of having to stick with the programme. He told them that without God nothing is possible, urging them to embrace their challenges and turn them into opportunities.
"Life is full of challenges but with the challenges you can become the best person you can be.”
Valedictorian - Ms. Kania George thanked the principal and staff for the dedication and perseverance that were shown towards them. She gave the assurance that, as past students of the school, they will put their best foot forward.
Words of encouragement left for the graduates: “It is yours, go for it; No one said it would be easy; no one said it would be a stroll on the boulevard. Overcoming challenges is a hike to Mt. St. Catherine, filled with treacherous twists and turns, so drape yourself with the aura of determination; walk with resolute hiking boots, pack your bag with grains of the desire to succeed - seeds of initiative and motivation and bottles of faith in God. Keep knowledge and discernment as your constant companions; the opportunity to reach the peak is there just waiting, calling you. Daring you to take the chance and embrace the challenges of life and turn them into platinum opportunities.”