The 25-year-old International Relations student who copped the Best Graduating Student prize at this year’s convocation believes an overhaul in attitudes will bring transformation to the University of Guyana, rather than new buildings. Elsie Harry was the 2017 valedictorian and she dubbed her speech a ‘personal renaissance’. She attributed her success to a re-evaluation of her life’s plans, adding that her achievement was a testament to her family, faith and devotion to fully capitalise on her potentials. Harry told her peers in her address that no one is irreplaceable, hence why one should prize being of service to their community and country.
“It is my sincere hope that the excess of two years sitting outside the four walls of a classroom did not make us blind to the outside world to things that matter most in the world: human contact and human impact… Do not think that you have done your duty to this country by simply graduating with your degrees and diplomas. Do not fly out and abandon Guyana. I need you to dig deep within yourselves and figure out what you can do to accelerate your own renaissance,” the valedictorian posited.
She called on the university’s administration to improve the quality of service offered to students, calling for changes in attitudes.
“New buildings will not transform the University of Guyana, a change in attitude will. UG in my opinion is a microcosm of Guyana, therefore the same inefficiencies can be experienced in the country at large,” she observed.
Harry, who secured a perfect 4.0 grade point average, sees herself as one day becoming President of Guyana.
“Among the graduates, there are young entrepreneurs; web, graphic and fashion designers; chefs, poets, singers, electrical engineers, accountants and future Presidents,” she said, further noting that all of the sustainable requirements to build a strong country, are right here in Guyana.
Having received the President’s Medal for best graduating student, the International Relations graduate from the Social Sciences Faculty triumphed over 2000 students in the six other faculties of Education and Humanities, Health Sciences, Agriculture and Forestry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences and Technology.
Harry was also awarded the Council of the University Prize for making the greatest contribution in other areas of university activities. She received a third award for having attained the highest-grade point average and a fourth prize – The Dennis Irvine Award – for the student who made the greatest contribution to the cultural life of the University.
Meanwhile, Aarif Baksh, from the Natural Sciences Faculty copped the Chancellor’s Medal for second best Bachelor’s Degree student while Zainab Abdul-Karim secured the Prime Minister’s Award for best graduating student from Medical School. Mahendra Swinarine, who received his Degree in Public Management received the Prime Minister’s Medal for best graduating student in his field while the Pro-Chancellor’s Medal for best graduating Law Student was awarded to Kalesh Loakman. The KA Juman-Yassin Sport Award was bestowed upon Dwanye McKinnon from the Faculty of Natural Sciences. (Reprinted from Guyana Times)