UWI Registrar amazed by Vincentian  Valedictorians’ speeches
November 25, 2016
UWI Registrar amazed by Vincentian Valedictorians’ speeches

Over the past decade, more and more Vincentian students have been selected as valedictorians for the various faculties across the four campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

This year was no exception, as Elizabeth Bullock and Calvon Charles were among six students at the St Augustine Campus of the UWI who were given this prestigious accolade.{{more}}

Bullock and Charles delivered their valedictorian speeches at graduation ceremonies, which took place on October 20 and 21, respectively – both of which were described as “exceptionally amazing” by Clement Iton, the registrar at UWI Mona Campus.

“They were confident, creative and poised. Their styles of delivery were different, but equally effective,” enthused Iton.

“As a Vincentian, I am beaming with pride, as my fellow country persons held centre stage. They are genuine exemplars for our youth.”

Bullock, valedictorian of the Faculty of Science and Technology and Food and Agriculture, graduated with first class honours with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics (minors in Environmental Physics and Electronics).

Her speech – which she delivered in spoken word fashion – focused on the journey that this batch of graduates had gone through to achieve their respective degrees.

“Responsibility and self-reliance were learnt faster than what was taught in any lecture. Balancing our extracurricular lives, sacrifice and time management were struggles to endure. Not because we didn’t know how – but because individually we played many roles; as son or daughter, as mother or father, as sister or brother, as spouse or friend, as part-time worker or breadwinner, as students,” she said.

Bullock further spoke of the challenges some may have faced along the way.

“It was all just a test. Tests of faith designed by God for us to push ourselves to become the very best – as we battled emotional rollercoasters, attempted to solve this puzzle called university life.”

She further urged her fellow graduates to continue to strive for excellence in whatever they choose to do; reiterating that only they can determine their futures.

“…regardless from where we originate, we have been equipped with the tools to impact change.”

Bullock added: “This is not the end of the road – instead, look ahead and continue moving your feet. Evaluate yourself. What do you want from life? What are your passions? What keeps you up at night? Embrace these interests and take flight… Go forth, revive and revolutionise lives.”

Charles’ valedictory address took a similar slant; where he, too, focused on the often difficult journey students would have endured to triumph on graduation day.

Charles, who was the valedictorian for the Faculty of Social Sciences (graduating with first class honours in a Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies), described the UWI journey has having three chapters – the beginning, the middle and the end.

Before delving into his explanation of such, he expressed heartfelt thanks to God, parents of the graduates and the “hard-working” staff and lecturers at UWI.

“…in Chapter 1, the plot began… we were given an opportunity of tertiary education… Our UWI story began with that choice and looking around today, we stand proudly behind our decisions,” explained Charles.

He went on to describe ‘chapter 2’ as the “lost chapter”, in which they, as students, were still adjusting to university life.

“…we embraced the challenges. Amidst a melting pot of different cultures… suddenly, a eureka moment. We were not so different. Ou second chapter brought to life that familiar term strung around campus. That is, ‘regional integration’. However, it changed from being a mere term to a reality, preparing us for our final chapter.”

Charles added: “Chapter 3, the conclusion of our fascinating script… By this time, we embraced sleep as only a concept… The library, TLC, FSS rooms and Faculty of Engineering rooms became ‘home’, and we learnt the true value of teamwork…”

He also cautioned his fellow graduates that although those chapters have ended, the “pen is still in your hands: to create your story, honour God, fear mothing, live your life, cherish those close to you and never regret experiences that moulded you into the person you are today.

“Wherever life’s journey takes us next, whatever challenges we face, the choice is ours!”

Bullock and Charles are both graduates of the SVG Community College, with Bullock having attended the Girls’ High School and Charles, a former student of the St Vincent Grammar School. (JSV)