President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday afternoon implored new graduates of his Alma Mater—St Stanislaus College—to position themselves to be part of the solutions and to be versatile in their pursuits in life.
President Ali gave a heartfelt speech to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) alumni at their graduating and prize-giving ceremony today at the school’s auditorium.
The Head of State reflected on his fond memories at the school and said that his time there moulded him into the person he is today.
“You will confront challenges of inequality. You will confront challenges of uneven treatment. You would confront disparity. These are the realities that you will confront as you move forward in your life, but I ask you not to be part of the problem but position yourself to be part of the solution.”
He appealed to the graduates to step forward into adulthood with a strong mind and commitment to task, while being versatile in their undertaking, since the working world often calls for adaptability.
The teenagers were also encouraged to be independent thinkers and to generate independent ideas in whatever fields they pursue.
The President noted that the school through its quality of teaching and extracurricular activities gave the youngsters a head-start by teaching them values, morals and principles along with their formal education.
“That is the foundation that will enable you to pass through this phase. If you deviate from that foundation, if you step aside from that foundation, you will be doing yourselves and this great institution a great injustice.”
The Head of State also implored the students to build bridges on their journey of life and to sustain important relationships.
“You were taught in Saints how to function in a versatile environment. The time has come for you to move from a theoretical journey to a practical journey, from fixtures designed by textbooks to adaptability. That is the movement and the transformation that will take place.”
The President also recalled how he pursued agricultural science and underscored the importance of agriculture in today’s world and highlighted its extreme relevance at recent international forums. Those discussions, he said, encompassed the need for greater food security, resilient agriculture, smart agriculture, food sustainability, water resource management, etc.
All of these skills, according to the President, can be honed by young Guyanese.
The Head of State reiterated that although Guyana is becoming an oil and gas destination, the country aims to have a multi-sectoral approach to development.
“In our own country it is not the oil and gas that will create the transformation; it is food security, agriculture in a sustainable way. It will be health and education services, as will be our tourism product. Those will be the sustainable sector in the future.”
The President encouraged the teenagers to choose for themselves, if they pursue higher education. He noted that while the medical, law, finance and aeronautical fields, among others, are important, there are many other fields of development that are critical for national upliftment such as agriculture.
President Ali also explained that the ‘One Guyana’ platform that he launched was modelled after what he learned during his time at the school.
“At Saints, we are one family. At Saints, we are not divided by geography, by ethnicity, or anything like that, or religion.”
He said that he wants to take the Saints model all over the country to create “one family in Guyana”.
“The Saints family must lead by example.”
The CSEC Valedictorian was Ms Kayla December who wrote 14 subjects and attained 13 grade ones and a grade two.
The CAPE Valedictorian was Mr Sherlock Langevine who wrote 18 units and received 11 grade ones and seven grade twos.
At the CSEC examinations, the students wrote a total of 28 different subjects and attained a 99% pass rate for grades one to three.
For CAPE, 30 units were offered in 19 subject areas and the overall pass rate for grades one to three was 78%.