By Isanella Patoir
A female medical student, Karishma Narain and a male biology student Shane Rampertab are the best graduating students at the University of Guyana’s 53rd Convocation ceremony this year.
Both Rampertab and Narain attained a 4.0 GPA and are the recipients of the President’s medal.
A total of 1,918 students graduate with degrees and diplomas from the faculties of Agriculture and Forestry, Education and Humanities, Heath Sciences, Natural Sciences Social Sciences, School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation among others.
The ceremony was held at the University’s campus at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara where Rampertab urged his fellow colleagues to hold themselves to a high standard and hold themselves accountable for the future of the country.
“The reason I am standing before you here is not because I am supposedly better than any other student, it is because I was allowed the right environment to succeed,” Rampertab said to loud cheers and applause.
He said it was the support from those around him that he was able to walk on that stage and be conferred a degree in biology.
“I was fortunate to have supportive parents, a sister and amazing lecturers, I didn’t had to work while I study and I didn’t had to travel long hours, among other things,” Rampertab said.
He noted that even though it was exhausting sometimes, it was the little moments of achievement, the dumb jokes and trips off campus that made it worthwhile.
“We all had our fair share of struggles from registration to finals, I am sure we all remember the multiple breakdowns in the middle of the night because we just remember an assignment was due tomorrow at 8am or the test we never heard about, or worse yet the test that had nothing we studied for.”
To the continuing students, Rampertab urged them not to give up and to keep pushing.
Importantly, the Valedictorian urged the graduates to take time for themselves and to get sufficient sleep.
“If you want something to get done, you have to do it yourself and this is especially applicable to us as we leave UG and go into our respectable fields,” Rampertad said.
Karishma Narain is also this year’s valedictorian; she will address the gathering at UG’s second graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon.
The University of Guyana Medical Student’s Association in a social media post said Karishma gained entry to the UG’s School of Medicine after completing an Associate Degree in Chemistry where she also graduated with a perfect GPA of 4.0.
“Yes it was difficult, frustrating at times and sometimes you even question yourself and your abilities. But it was also fun and exciting. You create such a bond with the people around you that they become like family and they make the 5 years memorable,” Narain said.
She noted that the hardest part of the journey was trying to maintain a balance between medical school, personal life, social life and religious life.
Meanwhile, the 10th Chancellor for the University of Guyana, Professor John Edward Greene was officially installed as Chancellor at the ceremony.
His first duty as Chancellor was to confer degrees and diplomas to the graduating class of 2019.
During his address, the Chancellor told the graduates that they have been blessed with far greater opportunities to have access to higher education.
“The imperatives for you as you leave this campus are really to be seen as part of the product and part of the investment in higher education from Guyana and to give internal recognition for protecting the integrity of your qualifications.”
The Chancellor said he will work with all stakeholders within and outside the university to build accountability to the future.
“Accountability to the future means understanding what the core values of the university are and promoting them,” the Chancellor said.
The Chancellor said the core values of a university include, increasing access to education that must be based on talent and not on circumstance, establishing diversity by catering to students from both upper and lower income families, high achieving high school graduates, traditional ‘A’ students, adults, returning students and those who are differently able.
“Yours is the generation fortunate to emerge on the cusp of a projectile buoyant economy. You must recognize that these degrees or certificate is a blunt instrument unless you go forth and build something with it.”