It was with a heartening look back at the challenges and changes of a very trying year that the John Gray 2005 graduating class received their certificates Tuesday evening.
Called the Ivan Class by Joni Ebanks in her graduates address, this did not stop graduates, faculty and attendees from feeling proud of the accomplishments they had achieved.
Students beamed with anticipation at the prospect of receiving their leaving awards and loudly cheered other classmates on making the grade.
Held at the Agape Family Worship Centre, it was with a sad note that John Gray High School principal Debbie McLaughlin recapped the horrible events of 11 and 12 September when Hurricane Ivan nearly destroyed the school.
She recalled how faculty members had cried and held each other a couple of days after on the grounds and how they had rallied together to get the school cleaned up so that students could return to school as quickly as possible.
‘You have experienced the worse disaster that this country will see hopefully in your lifetime,’ she told the students. ‘It will continue to impact you physically for a long time but mentally it will impact you forever.
‘Use this experience to become a better person and a better citizen. Certainly these were very stressful and trying times for sitting final exams. But no matter the exam results do not use it as an excuse for not accomplishing your dreams. You still have options, do not give up; remember it is not what happens to you, it is how you handle what happens to you that is going to make a difference in your life.’
Of the 202 students graduating, Andrew Campbell was named student of the year.