St Gabriel’s School held its annual Valedictory Service at the Anne Johnson Auditorium under the patronage of the Right Reverend Michael Maxwell, Bishop of Barbados.
The service, held under the theme The Greatest Dream, encouraged the students to never give up on their dreams.
In her brief remarks before the presentation of certificates, Principal of St Gabriel’s School Angela Blackett said the institution had performed admirably at this year’s Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination.
“Fifty-one students took the examination. In Mathematics, our average was 88 per cent compared to the national average of 62 per cent. In English, our average was 84 per cent compared to the national average of 66 per cent. The averages tell us that many and not just a few of our students did very well in this year’s examination,” she said.
In her featured remarks, Radio Broadcaster and Media Personality Carol Toppin told the students that dreaming is a beautiful thing and that they should not be afraid to dream.
“Do not let anyone kill your dreams, just dream. Think about things that make you smile. Think about things that make you a better person and dream. Dreaming is not just a nighttime activity, you can dream right where you are. You can dream as you are sitting outside, you can dream at lunch. I encourage you to open up your minds and dream,” Toppin told the graduates.
The radio host whose talk show 40 and Phenomenal airs on Life 97.5 and The Beat 104.1, told the students that it is normal to have their dreams change throughout their lives.
“Dreams change and that is something you are going to learn, and you know what? It is Ok. Some people knew what they wanted to be when they sat here last year or say four years ago; then they got into fourth form and they changed. Some people get into University and they choose a major, start doing their first year and their dreams change. It is Ok if you cannot figure it all out or if you realize that there is something that you are passionate about that you never realized,” she said.
Toppin told The Junior 4 graduating class that the greatest dreams include others as there is an interdependent relationship required when one is in pursuit of their dreams. “Dreams include others. It is called interdependence. You have to include others in your dreams. If you are going to pursue a career in life, you do not just roll up and say you want to be a lawyer and go to the bar exam and say – I am just coming here because I do not think that I need to be taught; I did not think I needed to go to lectures; I just think I will be a brilliant lawyer. You have to depend on others to get where you are going,” she said.
Toppin told the parents that their dreams are not their children’s dreams. “You may have a dream for them, but they are not supposed to live your dream. They are supposed to live out their purpose. Dreams are only fulfilled when you wake up and you put in the work,” she added.
The radio personality encouraged the students to repeat, “I will produce where I am planted!” She told the students that no matter what secondary school they attend, they can aspire to achieve their dreams and their purpose in life.
St Gabriel’s students also showcased their various talents as seven-year-old Nasya Netwon received a standing ovation singing Yesterday’s Dream by ABC Kids.
Graduate Saniya Brathwaite showcased her vocal range as she sang Never Enough by the Greatest Snowman Cast.
The graduates also did a musical titled The Greatest Dream which highlighted how easily dreams can be forgotten due to financial gains. However, in a shocking twist of events, the students managed to save their ‘dream tree’ from being cut down by a wealthy businessman after receiving the needed signatures.
The Junior 4 graduates also showcased their poetic skills with a choral poem entitled Dreams Big Dream which was conducted by teacher Edith Moise.
Receiving the Spirit of St Gabriel’s Award presented by Bishop of Barbados, Right Reverend Michael Maxwell was Nikolas Greig. The top female student was Adriel Bayrd and the top male was Joshua Connell.