Sixteen students of the Ann Hill School were today the centre of attention as they were celebrated for their accomplishments and offered advice on how to approach the next stage of their lives.
Delivering the feature address at a graduation ceremony that was themed Celebrate our Past, Embrace the Future, former student Senator Kerryann Ifill urged the students to build on what they had learned at the Pine, St Michael institution which caters to children with disabilities and special needs.
“As you prepare to start the rest of your life, take everything that has happened so far – the good things and the not so good things which you would rather forget – and [let them] form you into [what you] want to become,” said Senator Ifill, who pointed out that she had been able to succeed despite losing her sight at the age of five.
“If someone does something unkind to you, forget them, because it doesn’t make sense taking that negativity into your future. Take the things you have learnt in your past and make them a part of your future and who you will become.”
Senator Ifill also advised the students to aspire to greatness.
“You must dream as well. In other words, in order to do anything in life, think about it, dream about, imagine it and celebrate it….Celebrate, embrace and become everything God wants you to be.”
The school’s principal, Emelda Bell, who lauded the students for their performance in academics and sports, urged them to be proud of every step they took towards reaching their goals.
“Celebrate the little achievements as you journey into your future. These are words I hope you will take with you after you leave us here at Ann Hill School. Embrace the future, dream and work towards all that you can be . . . . If you trust in God, everything will be ok,” she told them.
Bell also advised students to close their friends wisely.
“Find friends who have similar values; that means friends who will help you reach your goals and realize your dreams. Those are friends we want you to find. Friends that will lead you into trouble are not good friends.”
She also reminded parents they have a vital role to play in their children’s development.
“Continue to stay the course with the child and ward as they move on to the next stage of their development,” Bell urged them. “Encourage, support, monitor – these are some of the things I want you to do with them, and seek to expose them to as many new positive opportunities and activities as possible. Encourage your child to do their best and work hard to achieve their goals in life. Remind them of the goals they have achieved in the past and urge them to continue to set goals and go after them in the future.”
At the graduation ceremony, the award for the most outstanding student award went to Nicholas Daisley. Nicholas Holder was the most improved; Makala Boyce won the Principal’s Prize; and Tiffany Branch and Shanice Spencer won special prizes.