Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has advocated for more students to pursue their tertiary education at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) and also consider joining the public service to help transform the territory with a wave of fresh ideas.
Dr Wheatley, the former Minister of Education, made that call in an address to the 137 graduates of the Elmore Stoutt High School yesterday, June 23.
Dr Wheatley said this moment was the beginning of the next step for these students and now they have the tools to move forward on their life’s journey whether it is to further their education or become a member of the workforce.
“I must say to you that I am a former lecturer at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College and a strong advocate for students enrolling there; whether it’s to pursue an Associate’s Degree or get certified as solar technicians and marine professionals or some other of their ever-improving programmes. This training will help you improve down the road to provide maximum value to your place of employment or business venture,” Dr Wheatley stated.
He noted that some graduates will enter the workforce and others will start a business to help continue to grow the Virgin Islands
’ economy. He encouraged them to step into the future of the territory because it is theirs.
The Premier also expressed that once the graduates become qualified in whatever area they choose, they should consider joining the public service.
“This is a transformative time for the public service. We have the digital transformation and modernisation of the public service. You know we as well have a programme of major reform that has started, and which will be continuing over the next two years or so. The reform will create a lot of opportunities for our people in public administration, especially in policy development,” Dr Wheatley stated.
“While we are doing this reform and even further in the future, the public service will need qualified individuals to bring new and creative ideas and new and modern competencies so that we can remain competitive efficient and effective. So, we can continue to evolve as the world changes and new technology come about,” the Premier added.
Principal of ESHS, Vanessa Garraway told the students they had made the school proud based on their accomplishments in several areas over the course of their senior year. She also took the time to acknowledge the students who were unable to participate in graduation and encouraged them to continue on a good path.
“It has been an honour and a privilege watching your progress and success. Today, there are some students who should have been celebrating with us and for whatever reason, they have stumbled and felt they have hit rock bottom. The key is to not stay there. Let us all be encouraged that when we find ourselves in these situations we use them as learning experiences and to go at it again until we can achieve our goal,” Garraway said.
Meanwhile, Minister for Education Sharie de Castro advised students that the future might be daunting, especially heading into the unknown of adult life. However, she advised them to stay focused and carve their own path to their own version of success.
The ESHS graduating class of 2022 comprised 137 students with the top 10 students having a generous mixture of both males and females.
Christina Creque was the valedictorian while Caliyah Charles was the salutatorian. The other students in the top ten were Jenisha Jones, Akyai Herbert, Chakia Smith, D’Khoi Susana, Azeem Nibbs, D’Andra Roberts, Halla Selwood and Dave Persaud.