UWI recognizes 45 local graduates
January 23, 2015
UWI recognizes 45 local graduates

Ikarmola LaBorde, this year’s University of the West Indies Open Campus’ valedictorian, has encouraged other graduates to “work together for the common good of every member of our Caribbean civilization.”

By doing this, she says, we can achieve much.

“It is clear that when we rally together and put our hearts,{{more}} skills and talents to work much can be achieved, as is evident in our presence today,” said LaBorde last Friday.

The teacher was at the time delivering the valedictory address at the University of the West Indies Open Campus’ 2015 Recognition of Graduates Ceremony, which was held at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown and saw some 45 persons graduating.

LaBorde, who aced her Bachelor of Education (BEd) Educational Leadership and Management studies with first class honours, described graduating as a “glorious day, a proud moment, the fruition of years of study,” while she noted that the journey was not an easy one.

The emotional speaker asked the other graduands to never underestimate the power of friendship or a unified force, “as together much can be achieved.”

She stressed that the UWI Open Campus experience was more than just academics, but was also about understanding what it means to be a Caribbean citizen and learning the true meaning of sacrifice and love.

“It was about everyone becoming our extended family, rallying around our successes. The experience was about the special cords that bind us as citizens of our Caribbean civilization, as we weathered every challenge of our educational journey”, said LaBorde.

She added that she was proud to be a graduating member of the Educational Leadership and Management programme, as the course has changed her life, while being a pivotal force in her quest “to be all that I can be.”

LaBorde, whose course was a four-year process, said over that period, she was tempted to quit because of illness and other difficulties, but she never did, and the journey has helped her to realize that there must be a willingness to take the right risks.

“Anyone can take a risk, but a transformational leader takes calculated risks that more often than not result in positive outcomes,” said LaBorde.

She told the gathering that they must be cognizant of the fact that their success is not only for them, but also points to the success of the region and the growth of the UWI.

She said that persons who see the success of other persons enrolled in the various programmes will be encouraged to follow.

LaBorde, who is a mother of three, also stressed that the UWI Open Campus provides a glorious opportunity for persons to realize their dreams by making available quality education.

During her speech, LaBorde thanked the Government for allowing her to access an economically disadvantaged student loan, “which made my journey much easier, as it erased the uncertainties of meeting payments and motivated me to give of my best always.”

She asked the Government, “please continue this initiative so that the lives of others can be transformed.”

The ceremony saw 45 persons receiving recognition for completing studies in English, Literacy Studies, Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees in Accounting, BSc Management Studies and qualifications in areas like counselling, tourism and health and family life, among other areas.

Present at the function were, among others, head of the Open Campus SVG Deborah Dalrymple; director of Human Resources, UWI Open Campus Trinidad Eric Baron; and featured speaker Dr Mineva Glasgow, who is the deputy director of the National Insurance Services (NIS) and a UWI graduate.

During his presentation, Baron said that a UWI education is one that changes lives by contributing to the development and enhancement of careers.

He added also that by graduating, it shows a mark of distinction and evidence, “that you have gained knowledge and obtained a certain level of proficiency in your respective field.”

Other persons receiving recognition for graduating with first class honours were Janelle Grant and Twyla Thompson, BEd Literacy Studies.