The twenty seven (27) graduates of the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division were issued a challenge to dream big, pray hard, work hard and work smart as they move on to either furthering their studies or entering the world of work.
At the graduation and prize giving ceremony held yesterday, July 5 at the Catholic Community Centre, guest speaker Dalan Vanterpool told graduates that in life there are two sets of people - those that make a choice to wait for the rain or to dig wells.
"There are untapped wells of greatness hidden within you. You see friends, there are a few ways we can get water; some are passive and others are active. We can sit around waiting for the rain, or we can dig wells. Look to your left and look to your right. When we leave here today, some of these people will make a choice; a choice to wait for the rain or to dig wells," he told the graduates.
Graduates of the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division on July 5, 2012.
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
Vanterpool went on to tell the young men and women that they have seen rain waiters before in life, stressing that they are the ones sitting lazily by the ferry dock in Road Town, asking passengers to give them a thousand dollars; those applying for jobs with their BVI passport and birth certificate instead of a well prepared resume; those buying lottery tickets, rather than paying their tithes; those asking why they have to work hard to succeed in their own country; and those using their own money for things they want, then begging elected representatives for the things they need.
"In high school you may have seen the rain waiters, playing video games all night then asking to copy your homework in the morning. You may have seen the rain waiters speeding through the streets on scooters with no helmets, instead of using that money to buy land, buy books or start a small business. See, I told you that you've seen the rain waiters before," he said.
However, Vanterpool, the son of Communications and Works Minister Hon. Mark Vanterpool and Judith Vanterpool, said they may not have seen the well diggers before, because they are scarce. He said well diggers are the people who wake up every day, making an active choice to dream big, pray hard and work smart.
"If you want to find a well digger, here are few places where frequent sightings have been reported. You may find them sitting in libraries reading books about how ancient Kemet became Egypt or contemplating how a white European named Pythagorus suddenly invented his own new theory about triangles after a trip to study the pyramids in black Africa. You may find them asking people to teach them about millions, rather than begging for thousands. You may find them using their free time to make sure they're not wasting time. You may find them working two jobs so they can pay college tuition. You may find them plotting how they can open the next luxury resort on Virgin Gorda," he asserted.
Graduates were told that well diggers are those who do whatever they do so well, that it defines a new normal.
"As I take my seat, I encourage you to let these words resonate in every corner of your spirit. When you do dream, and I hope you do, dream big! When you do pray, and I hope you do, pray hard! And when you do work, and I hope you do, work smart," the graduates were told by Vanterpool.
This year, there were a total of 27 graduates with 24 grade one passes and three grade two passes, while there were 15 honour students.
Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron Walwyn told the graduates that what they plan to do with their professional lives will dictate who the Virgin Islands will be in the next 20 years.
"Will the Virgin Islands still be leaders in tourism and financial services? Who will be the owners of our economy? Who will make up our House of Assembly? Who will be leading our law enforcement agencies? And who will be in a position to steer the direction of this Territory? Students, graduates of Bregado Flax Educational Centre, our country needs you to be the answers to those questions," the Minister stated.
He said as citizens, they are missing out on opportunities to own tourism based establishments and to work in the sector and learn about an industry that puts bread on the table for the majority of residents in the Virgin Islands. Furthermore, he said the tourism industry is too important to the economy for them to not have Virgin Islanders in the majority of key positions and establishments.
"That is the situation we find ourselves in today and graduates we are depending on you to change that. The same can be said for our financial services industry. We need young persons such as yourselves to soon replace the Virgin Islanders that are heading our industry in both the private sector and statutory boards. We need to ensure that in 2032, the Virgin Islands remain a premier financial services jurisdiction, with young persons like yourselves leading this sector," he told the graduates.
The Education Minister said though some persons do not like to hear him say it, he will tell repeat the same words he told the graduates at the Elmore Stoutt High School in relation to being born here.
"As Virgin Islanders we cannot depend on being born here to get us everywhere in life. It is because we are born here that we should have the highest level of pride in this great Territory to do our part to protect its rights and keepings for the next generation of Virgin Islanders."
He added, "Being born here should never be used as an excuse or reason to wait for opportunities to fall in our laps. Being born here should give us all the energy and motivation to go out and work hard, find opportunities to develop our talents in order to become stakeholders in the industries and affairs that run this great Territory."
Principal of the school, Caryl O'Neal urged the graduates to have pride in their country and always seek excellence in whatever they do in life.
In presenting the 27 graduates to the society, O'Neal issued a warning and implored on them not to use social media to attack and hamper the reputation of persons. She said that while there is freedom of speech, there is a responsibility attached to it.
"Use your freedom wisely. You must be responsible; you must live each day with a positive purpose...," she told the graduates.
Dalan Vanterpool speaking at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division graduation on July 5, 2012.
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
Ninth District Representative and Opposition Leader, Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal during his remarks told the graduates that growth is not static, but it expands. He told the young men and women to strive for excellence in life.
Hon. O'Neal noted that even though some persons think that Virgin Gorda has no representation any longer, he is committed to help in the development of the entire Territory.
"I pledged to continue to work for the upliftment of this island and the Territory and do everything in my power to represent you and see the good of all...," he said.
Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith also spoke at the graduation ceremony.
Valedictorian, Ms. Tahirah Bascombe in thanking the Government for its support, said there is no politics involved in education and Governments have shown this in the Territory. She urged her colleagues to make intelligent choices as they move on to their future endeavours.
The Salutatorian was Mr. J'Verne Findlay.
Meanwhile, a number of awards and special prizes were given out the ceremony. The Valedictorian, Tahirah Bascombe was awarded the Ilma O'Neal Traditional National Scholarship, a laptop computer and an iPad compliments of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Salututorian, J'Verne Findlay was awarded the Traditional National Scholarship, an iPad and a Kindle compliments of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
National scholarship awards were awarded to students for attaining a grade point average of 7.0 and above - Denesha Gumbs; Sapphire Flax-Clarke; Yeassu Shilchand; Alexander Parillon Jr.; Gabriel Williams; and Monique Joseph.
All other students maintaining a grade point average of 6.0 to 6.99 are also eligible for a two year scholarship abroad after completing two years at the H. L. Stoutt Community College, provided they fulfill all the necessary requirements for their scholarships. The students include - Hanika Nichols; Ryshawn Malone; Rasheim Walters; Deondre Rymer; and Caleb Williams.
Three students received a brand new Kindle Fire, compliments of the Ministry of Education and Culture - Crystal Koonts who is being recognised as most determined to succeed; Caleb Williams who is being recognised as the most improved male student; and Shanice Ferguson who is being recognised as the most improved female student.