Graduates of the Derrick Smith School and Vocational Centre were encouraged to do their absolute best as they move onto the next chapter of their lives.
Human resources manager of Massy Barbados Dawn Layne was delivering the feature address at the Jackman, St Michael institution which caters to children and adults with disabilities, when she urged the graduating classes of the secondary institution and the vocational centre, to “soar high like eagles above the clouds”.
Directing her comments solely to the graduates, Layne instructed them to not be defined or limited by their disabilities. “Remember, a disability is not a limitation for anyone once they are committed to making their dreams a reality,” she said. “I urge you to be concerned with doing your absolute best, with caring for yourselves and others, with being a decent human being and remembering to have fun in the process. Let your spirit soar, because as I see you, you are enough just as you are. Strive for excellence every day, do not give up, trust in your abilities and you can attain anything,” Layne further emphasized.
The human resource specialist cautioned them not be afraid to be independent and take control of their lives. Layne reminded them that their future possibilities were endless, and they just need to grab at opportunities.
“When I look at you, the graduating class of 2019, I see enormous potential. I see problem solvers, artists, thinkers, builders. I see untapped talent,” said Layne, adding “I see very courageous people who are ready to soar to new places, new institutions, new experiences and who will continue to make a difference wherever they go.”
Principal Dr Cheryl Rock lauded the school’s non-traditional education as the driving force for the personal, interpersonal and professional development of the students. She recalled the challenges that some students faced such as issues with speech and memory, staying focused in class, making friends and physical impairments, and urged them to celebrate their successes.
“Non-traditional education can only encourage growth in nontraditional, unique students,” Rock commented. She added that the institution has fostered healthy adults who will contribute to the growth and development of Barbados.
“This is an educational institution where respect, believing in everyone’s ability and a lifelong love of learning is fostered and encouraged to grow.”