Front Page
October 15, 2004

Shermalon Kirby has created history by becoming the first Vincentian to ever present the valedictory address at the University of the West Indies (UWI)-Mona Campus graduation ceremony.

“It is the first time a Vincentian student has ever been chosen to do this in the 56-year history of UWI, Mona,” a release from the Agency For Public Information (API) stated this week.{{more}}

Already prepared to deliver the speech on November 5, Kirby attributes her success to the fact that she always placed God first, “If you don’t have God in your plan, you don’t have a plan,” said the smiling lady, who refused to give her age.

Kirby, who hails from Simon, has just completed a Bachelors Degree in media communications, with specialisation in social marketing and a minor in psychology with first-class honours.

Employed as an information officer at the local API, Kirby will speak on behalf of 2,500 graduands, as she was selected from among the top nine students nominated to present their valedictory address before a selection committee on Friday, October 8.

Describing her achievement as a joyous one, Kirby says that this is not only a great feat for her, but one that should make Vincentians, her former schools and her villagers in rural Simon proud.

Although persons are often of the opinion that students from rural schools are at a disadvantage academically, Kirby says she is proof that this is not always true. She is a past student of the New Prospect Infant and the Adelphi Secondary Schools, both rural-based institutions.

However, Kirby says that for her, doing three years at Mona was no easy task. She explained that at first, she needed someone to sign her bond, then after that, she had financial problems going into her final year.

She thanks people like Bernadine Gumbs and Gregory Marshall for signing her bond and her Jamaican landlady Eulalee Henry whom she said helped her tremendously and played a very important role in her success. She also noted that Marshall signed her bond without having even met her.

The devoted Christian, who worships at the St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Biabou, has been practising journalism since 1996. “It is something that I always wanted to do since I was in school,” she explains.

“Journalism also looked exciting to me as I saw it as a good opportunity to help impart knowledge and give people information on important issues that affect their lives,” Kirby said.

She returns to Jamaica at the end of this month for graduation preparations and hopes to soon pursue her Masters.