It is not about persons limiting themselves but more about maximizing their strengths and acknowledging their limitations.
This advice from retired school principal Calvin Briggs during an address at the A DaCosta Edwards Primary School graduation ceremony this morning.
Addressing the theme “Choice, Not Chance, Determines my Destiny,” the former Belleplaine resident asked graduating students to recognize their limitations.
“Know what you are capable of doing and work within those boundaries . . . I am not suggesting that you put any limits on yourselves. Just know that few of you will be A-students in every area of study,” he remarked, as he urged them to develop whatever area they were good at, including sports.
Briggs noted that sometimes those who seemed to be “heading nowhere” ended up being successful “by making different choices”.
“Choice not chance determined their destiny. You can do it too,” he said, as he encouraged the students to “plan, set goals and take action”.
Urging the graduating students to think about life like driving a car where one was required to constantly make choices, he referred to people in his generation who would have “made some wrong turns”.
“We went up hill when we were to go down; we made U-turns; we went the wrong way along one way streets; we went through roads marked with No Entry signs; we even made roads when there were no roads.”
The veteran educator of 42 years explained that in the same way, “life is not going to be always smooth”.
Briggs told the students of choices which were made for him as a youngster where he “had to go to church.
“ Whenever the church door was opened, we had to pass through it.
“Other choices were mistakes,” he said, while “others helped us to become the individuals we are and made us wiser, stronger and richer through experiences.”
The educator encouraged the children to listen to older people rather than consider them “miserable old fogies”. However, he warned them to be wary “because there are some elders who would want to lead you astray.
“Let them speak. You listen. Then think, reflect, introspect before you act,” he stressed.
The one word which he beseeched the graduating students not to entertain as they went on to their new schools was the word “can’t”.
Quoting from Edgar A. Guest’s poem entitled, Can’t, Briggs said the poet described that word as “the worst word that’s written or spoken” and one that “does more harm than slander and lies”.
Instead, the speaker urged the young St Andrew scholars to believe in themselves so they could be whatever they “set their minds to”. He also told them “to wake up early each morning to prepare for school . . . and be punctual.”
In her address, Principal Laureen Hinds welcomed the gathering to the “historic” first graduation of the amalgamated Chalky Mount Primary and A. DaCosta Edwards Primary Schools.
Describing the amalgamation as a “smooth transition,” she praised the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation for its timeliness and foresight in partnering with the staff of both schools through facilitating two workshops.
One addressed the subject of “Creating New Identity” and the other was about “Building a Healthy Team for the staff of A. DaCosta Edwards Primary”.
The amalgamated staff then created a new vision and theme for the school, as well as a theme song entitled “New Beginnings, New Opportunities”, penned by a teacher at the School, Jamar Downey.
Hinds also mentioned some of the school’s outstanding achievements in areas such as netball, cricket and football, as well as the success in this year’s NAPSSAC championships.
The St. Andrew-based School also gained 1st and 3rd place in a recently-held handwriting competition.
Turning to the results for this year, the principal revealed that all 38 graduating students had been placed within secondary schools. A DaCosta Edwards Primary also surpassed the national means in almost every category and is currently fourth in the national means overall.