Tuesday marked the end of high school days for over 280 graduates of John Gray High School.
Graduate Jawara Alleyne read a poem titled Goodbye Old School, which led into the graduation song Days to Come written by his fellow graduate Kenroy Millwood.
Graduates were receiving certificates and awards at the ceremony which was held at the Agape Family Worship Centre.
As loved ones, friends and dignitaries took their seats at 7pm, Head of Year 12 Chris Bounds began to speak about the accomplishments and challenges the 2009 class had come through to arrive at this point. He later spoke about a graduate who went on an Internet search to find his father just so he could attend his graduation.
‘Tonight is seen as a new beginning and the dawn of a new day,’ said Education Minister Rolston Anglin, looking out over the sea of graduates.
He told students that, as they moved from the comforts of home and high school, they would be making many choices, but he said whichever path they took there would be challenges but there would also be a lot of opportunities to embrace and through hard work and dedication, the sky was the limit.
‘Do not take for granted the small achievement … through small steps you will find success at the end of your journey,’ he said.
Acting Principal Alan Hewitt said it was a very challenging year for staff at John Gray as virtually all John Gray High School students were taught and entered for examinations at either GCSE or CXC level for the first time, as in previous years 20-40 per cent of students were classed at a lower entry level.
To the students, he said as they moved on in life beyond John Gray they needed to assess where they were going, evaluate current achievements and successes and weigh up the alternative for their future.
‘Will it be further education or will it be straight into the workforce – who knows – each of you is an individual, each of you will have a different path in life,’ he said.
‘For the last 12-13 years teachers have persistently told you to wake up, pay attention and stop dreaming. Tonight I am telling you to wake up, pay attention and start dreaming.’
Certificates and awards were presented to graduates in various categories:
Student of the Year: Saleicia Samaroo.
Head Boy and Girl: Andrel Harris and Saleicia Samaroo.
Best Reports: Bethany Buckley, Angella Genao, Shanda Hunter, Renise Peter, Tetrina Rivers, Stephen Robinson, Saleicia Samaroo, Abigail Stoddart, Elizabeth Wahler and Marcie Wood.
Governor’s Achievement Award: Leannie Douglas and Diandra McCoy.
Leadership Award: Takiyah Smith
Michael Gourzong, Elizabeth Wahler and Theodecia Watler.
Christian Character Awards: Whitney General and Kadane Hall.
Cultural Awards: Marcie Wood, Beneil Miller, Shenek Conolly and Kayla Manderson.
Community and School Service Awards: Shanda Hunter, Shemila Eden and Kenroy Millwood.
School and Community Service Award: Celina Russell
JGHS Sportsmanship Awards: Raheem Robinson and Jahzenia Thomas.
Summer Vocational Training Program Awards: Rico Christian and Michael Gourzong.
Thirty-nine students from the graduation year of 2008 also received honour awards and plaques at the ceremony.
2008 Achievement Award for Academic Excellence: Martina Jackson.