Twenty-four-year-old Juanita Beejaimal, a Caribbean Proficiency Examination Certificate (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) Teacher at the New Amsterdam Secondary School was named the 2019 Valedictorian at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus 18th Convocation Ceremony held on Saturday, in Tain East Berbice Corentyne.
Beejaimal made history as the first student from the Faculty of Natural Science to be named the Best Graduating student and the Valedictorian. She graduated with the highest grade point average and attained her Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology.
During her address to the graduating class, she noted despite the challenges faced; determination and resilience were key components in achieving their success. Beejaimal urged her colleagues to remain open to learning.
“Despite us having our degrees, let us remain open to learning. The truth is having a degree does not mean we have our lives figured out nor that we are infallible. We will make mistakes… but in all of this let us always look for the lesson to be learnt. Now that we will be embarking on the next chapter let us define success on our own terms, let us rise with even more grit than ever after every fall, and let us actualise the ambition cradled in us”.
Beejaimal recognised the efforts made by her parents, colleagues, lecturers and everyone who encouraged and contributed to her success. The Edinburgh, East Bank of Berbice resident, concluded by encouraging her colleagues to hold their heads high and be proud of their milestone achieved.
Meanwhile, Chancellor of the University of Guyana Professor John Edward Greene, while delivering the feature address, called on the 216 graduates “to be the voices of transformation” and to promote unity, not divisiveness.
“Be the voices of transformation; use your voices to shape public opinion by talking about issues of inclusion and equality of keeping them on the front burner and taking action to ensure their fulfilment. To champion the causes of civil society, the grassroots organisations of Guyana for empowering of the marginalised and the disadvantaged. To trigger policy innovations emphasising the how; which I assure you is more important than the why”.
Professor Greene advised the graduates to use technology and information to help shape policies for a brighter future.
“Let our multi-cultural heritage influence messages of cohesion rather than divisiveness and help people recognise the double sword of the digital revolution for which social media has been a boon but also a major source of disinformation. And then graduates. engage in legacy thinking to frame policies and prime people to think about accountability to the future thereby leaving this world a better place. Go forth and conquer the world.”
Additionally, he commended the campus for engaging in several impressive initiatives which helps to strengthen communities through public/private partnership and the need for continued human capital investment through education. The Chancellor of the University also referred His Excellency, President David Granger’s policy on education, one which he supports.
“The UG and GOG must utilise gains of oil and gas to support programmes such as those offered on this campus that are complementary to oil and gas and provide the basis of sustainable or responsible development and the green economy. Most heartening is the recent announcement by President Granger that education is his signature policy proposal; this includes the return to free university education. I wholeheartedly support this proposal for free education as an essential investment in human capital development. It accords with a vision that education is the root and fruit of social mobility and economic liberalisations.”
Among the graduates was differently-abled student Colleen Hamilton 36, who graduated with an Associate of Science Degree in Social Work from the faculty of Social Sciences, while the youngest female graduate, 17-year-old Sujada Azeez gained an Associate of Science Degree in computer science, and the youngest male was eighteen-year-old Assad Jaferally who earned an Associate of Science Degree in Biology.
(Department of Public Information)