It is graduation season and for the past two weeks or so, SEARCHLIGHT has been featuring within our pages, on our website and on social media the good news about Vincentian students who have been excelling at universities all over the world.
On our front page today, we feature Abigail Scott and Gerard Porter, who graduated last week from two of the top universities in the world — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University respectively. For the past 10 years, MIT has been ranked as the world’s top university by the QS World University Rankings, while Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the most selective of the eight Ivy League universities. It is tied at number 2 in the National University rankings in the United States.
These rankings of course, merely hint at the enormous prestige and power these institutions hold in the world of higher learning. They are literally global citadels of knowledge, places that utterly devote themselves to the production and propagation of knowledge and are populated by only the brightest and the very best students drawn from all over the world. Gaining admission into these institutions is therefore in and of itself a signal honour, a statement that your intellectual capabilities place you at the table among the most elite students anywhere on the planet.
For Abigail Scott and Gerard Porter however, sitting at the table among such luminaries was never the end of their intellectual ambition. In fact, throughout their intellectual sojourns at educational institutions here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, they consistently demonstrated that they sought nothing less than to sit at the very top of the table. Indeed both students were well deserved winners of the Prime Minister’s award for the most outstanding students at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Hence, in soaring to the top of two of the greatest universities in the world, these Vincentian students have underlined the judgment of their Vincentian and regional examiners; that these are students of extraordinary intellectual ability.
But they did more than that. They have also demonstrated that Vincentian schools prepare our students with an education that can match that on offer anywhere else in the world. At times our schools and community college have been the target of harsh criticism, sometimes justified, other times unfair, and undoubtedly will continue to be the recipient of such criticism. We however need to recognize this truth: the probability of a student from a country with a population of only 110,000 people winning acceptance into any of these two schools is exceedingly low; the probability of two of them being accepted in a single year is even lower, and the chances of both of them graduating at the top of their class? That should be one in a million. But this is precisely what we have here – the almost impossible has indeed occurred.
To sing their praises of course is to sing our own. They are our children. Their navel strings are buried here. And as Vincentian students have done in the past, these students are doing today — exceeding others’ expectations of us. We may be small, but our intellect range is large – both at home and abroad. This is a story that should inspire every Vincentian.