Former principal Jeff Broomes was not in attendance at Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Alexandra School.
However, as headboy Jherad Morris-Sealy and headgirl Keshanna Leacock reflected on the past five years, in particular the teachers they “fell in love with” but were forced to say “goodbye” to in third form, there was no leaving out the former principal.
In fact, at the mention of his name, the entire Graduating Class of 2015, broke out in thunderous applause.
Third Form was also a major decision-making year for the students, as they considered what they were going to become in life and yearhead Marilyn Crichlow was charged with ensuring that the students would stay true to their school motto, Per ardua ad astra – through difficulty, reach for the stars.
“Success, if it is to be, is up to me,” was also the year group’s mantra. And as they prepared to leave their beloved Queen’s Street, St Peter school, valedictorians Nickolas Wright and Rianna Cobham encouraged their colleagues and friends not to forget the morals and lessons learnt as they embraced their future.
Playing on the theme of the evening, they also encouraged the over 100 graduands to reflect on their past of diligence and hard work.
However, Principal Orson Alleyne, in his brief remarks to the graduands, urged them not to dwell on past achievements, but to look ahead and embrace the future.
“Broaden your mind’s horizon/Exchange the ‘no’ for ‘yes’/ This open door of adventure/Will lead to new success,” he said, reading from the poem, The Open Door, by Margaret Freer.
Featured Speaker and past student of the school Kaymar Jordan lamented the number of young men seen on the court pages of this island’s newspapers heading in and out of court on a daily basis.
“Many are like you, just out of school, a year two years and instead of choosing a wholesome path, have opted for a life of crime when our society so desperately needs productive citizens,” the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Barbados TODAY pointed out.
She was equally concerned that a growing number of young women were also making the crime headlines and that “no one seems able to tell the other, ‘come back’.
“We now have girls fighting each other and posting it on social media, something which, in my time, certainly was unheard of.
“You didn’t dare disrespect yourself in that way, much less your school, your teachers or your family,” she said, while calling on the students to “man up and woman up fast”, amid all the current distractions.
“Man up to your dreams. Woman up to your responsibilities. Honour the memory of [late principal] Glencora Titus and all the other great educators, both past and present, who have given of their time, energy, experience and knowledge to ensure that you are where you are today.
“Honour your parents and your guardians – many of whom are with you today – and remain committed to supporting you all the way.
“But they can’t choose for you,” she cautioned.
“You have got to choose for yourself, remembering always that there is precious little time for costly mistakes, especially, in this era of instant technology where your mistake can go viral within minutes, and then becomes hard to correct,” she said.