The Institute for Theological and Leadership Development can boast 27 new graduates.
‘In the last five years 500 persons from different walks of life, belonging to different churches have passed through the portals of ITLD, attending a seminar, a course or a full programme,’ said the Rev. Dr. P.J. Lawrence at the 27 November graduation ceremony at Cayman Prep and High School.
‘Most of them attest to the fact that ITLD has made a significant impact on their learning process and lives. Our focus at ITLD is to develop critical thinking with a didactical approach of learning by doing, action and reflection process. ITLD is unique in imparting excellent academic knowledge, combined with theological reflection and spirituality,’ he said.
Of the 27 graduates, 15 now have a Bachelors of Arts degree in Guidance and Counselling; 10 have Masters of Arts degrees in Pastoral Psychology and Counselling; one has a certificate in Theology; and one has a Bachelor degree in Theology.
Mr. Bryan Bothwell, deputy general secretary of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, chaired the graduation ceremony.
The Rev. Randolph Turner, chair of the Cayman Islands Council of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, offered the opening prayer.
The Rev. Joe Crawford, minister of the George Town charge of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, offered the prayer of dedication.
Both Leader of Government Business Mr. Kurt Tibbetts and Minister of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture Mr. Alden McLaughlin Jr. lauded ITLD for contributing to the healing of the community after Hurricane Ivan by providing training for counsellors who used their skills during that time in the Island’s history.
The Rev. Dr. Maitland Evans, president of the International University of the Caribbean, delivered the keynote address.
He challenged the graduates to become agents of change just like Jesus was and told them that the training gained from ITLD was an opportunity for the graduates to stand up and fight against injustice and other ills of society.
Valedictorians were Tasha Ebanks, Bachelor of Arts graduate in Guidance and Counselling, who received the award for the most outstanding student; and Mrs. Lillian Archer, a Master of Arts graduate in Pastoral Psychology and Counselling, who received the award for outstanding leadership qualities.
Miss Ebanks was absent, but her speech was read by Mr. Clifton Gayle, a Bachelor of Arts graduate in Guidance and Counselling.,
‘I am now attending Alliant International University in Southern California pursuing my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy,’ explained Miss Ebanks to the Caymanian Compass. ‘My experience at ITLD was a life changing one that I was able to share with my graduating class, family and friends in my speech as Valedictorian.’
Her speech is included in this feature.