SVG Community College turns out 691 graduates
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June 28, 2024

SVG Community College turns out 691 graduates

Six hundred and ninety one young men and women graduated from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) in a well coordinated ceremony held at the Victoria Park on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

The theme theme this year, “Class of 2024: Create Your Legacy,” aimed to reflect on the spirit of innovation and leadership that the college strives to instil in its students.

Some of the persons in attendance at last Tuesday’s graduation ceremony

This year saw 361 students graduate from the Division of Arts, Sciences, and General Studies; 247 from the Division of Technical and Vocational Education; 60 from the Division of Teacher Education; and 23 from the Division of Nursing Education.

Senior Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr Halimah DeShong who was the featured speaker said the theme took her back to when she was just embarking on A level studies, and awaiting o’ level results.

She shared that Dr Nigel Scott, current Director of the SVGCC, was tasked with speaking to the group of students of which she was one, and he anchored his remarks “in a simple yet powerful phrase: ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ “. She admitted that the quote made her feel pressured, and heightened her anxiety ahead of receipt of the o’level results, but on reflection, his remarks left her with an immense sense of responsibility.

DeShong, who was part of the SVGCC’s first cohort, the class of 1996–1997, recalled the time she graduated from secondary school and how policies have changed to allow more access to higher education.

“When we completed secondary school, our options for post-secondary education in St Vincent and the Grenadines were the single A level institution at the St Vincent Grammar School, the then Technical College, or the School of Nursing, and of course the Teachers College.” She acknowledged that since the union of the College’s four divisions, the college has seen exponential growth.

Though Dr DeShong, boasts an impressive biography, she has not forgotten her roots. An Author, and the current Head of the Institute for Development Studies at The UWI, reflected on being raised by and in the community of New Montrose, where she also was part of a netball team.

DeShong possesses a strong history of activism and urged the graduating class to never forget about the colonial history of the Caribbean. She also encouraged them to delve deeper into the history and culture of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Caribbean as a whole.

“Graduands, the stakes are high. St Vincent and the Grenadines’ election to the United Nations Security Council in 2019, and our 2023 presidency of the Community of Caribbean and Latin American States, as the first Caribbean island to hold this distinction, are to be celebrated for the significance in calling attention to the richest resource we possess as a nation; our people.”

Also making brief remarks was Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who congratulated and encouraged the graduating class as he spoke of the growth of the institution which he said The University of the West Indies described as “a highly esteemed community college in the Caribbean region”.

The Prime Minister, who has taken on responsibility in Cabinet for tertiary level education, promised to continue his work in making it easier and cheaper for people who wish to pursue studies at the college. He wants to see more young people enrol “because it is an important matter for the continuation of our civilisation”. He pointed out that 70% of the population at the college is female.

Dr Gonsalves also noted that the government spends $45 million on post-secondary and university education.

“This large number in dollars covers a relatively small number of people,” he noted, adding that he anticipates that soon each household in SVG will have at least one person attaining higher education, and underscored the importance of collaboration to achieve real progress. Several awards were given to outstanding students drawn from each of the college’s four Divisions.