“If you have no confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated in the race of life.”
After having received the highest grade point average, this was the reminder from Valedictorian of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic Institute of Technology [SJPI] Raymond Padmore from the Division of Automotive and Welding Engineering.
He was speaking during the institution’s graduation ceremony on Saturday at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Wildey, St Michael.
He spoke of times prior to reaching his accomplishments when he had the wrong attitude but felt as though God had a plan for his life.
“In my teen years with zero responsibilities, no commitments and having all the time in the world, I was doing a course at this institution and I failed miserably in my attempt to get a 2.0 GPA [although] all these factors [were] working for me. What was against me was myself. I had no purpose. I had the wrong attitude,” he said.
Padmore added that young men and women are highlighted daily for all the wrong reasons, but they were now in the limelight for more positive reasons having reached graduation.
“It brings me great joy to be recognized of the SJPI class of 2019. I am grateful for this opportunity to deliver this speech but the greatest pleasure is in knowing that I am in the presence of people filled with ambition, possibilities and charisma,” he said. The valedictorian added that he was indeed surrounded by the educators and innovators of tomorrow.
In her address, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Santia Bradshaw encouraged students to celebrate the moment.
“You have worked hard and shown dedication and it is fitting this evening that you celebrate [that] in the best way possible,” she said.
“I invite you to embrace the future, inspire the future as well and for some, I know that the future may be a little scary. That unknown is a cause for excitement rather than trepidation. And most importantly, when you leave here do not forget what you came here to do.”
The SJPI is celebrating its 50th anniversary and tributes were paid to the institution in drama and dance. Principal Ian Drakes said the institution is one of inclusion and he believes in the youth.
“We are in good hands with [young people] contrary to popular belief. These are exciting times. The SJPI continues to make great strides in making it closer to accreditation. Our learners continue to strive for excellence in their various occupational disciplines and today’s performance is no exception.” (Michron Robinson)