Over four hundred students of the Dominica State College received their degrees yesterday at the 20th commencement ceremony at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium.

Four hundred students received their degree across all faculties, while an additional eighteen received their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.

Valedictorian Shawnalee Gordon received the valedictorian award as well as subjects prizes for Business Administration, Mathematics, and the award for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In his final charge to the graduands as president of the Dominica State College, Dr. Donald Peters told the graduating class that their experiences with Hurricane Maria and the covid-19 pandemic have given them the strength they need to overcome challenge they will face in the future.

“The future is not going to be easy but you the DSC graduates are gonna make it no matter where you are. The Dominica State College, Hurricane Maria and the covid-19 pandemic have made you an expert in overcoming challenges. I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to be ready when the time comes to lead our country. I say so because I believe that you and other graduates of DSC will become the future leaders of this country,” Dr. Peters stated.

Dr. Peters congratulated the graduating class on their accomplishment, noting that a new chapter in their life has just started.

“Well my season is coming to an end and I have served my purpose. It is time to move on to another season. But your season is just beginning. Today belongs to you the graduates. Congratulations to all of you, you look splendid in your caps and gowns and you should all feel proud of your achievements. Today you are a college graduate,” Dr. Peters added.

Featured Speaker, Senior Engineer at CREAD, Dr. Genora Joseph encouraged the students to remain open to the lessons that they will learn through life experiences. 

“Some of the lessons of experience are hard. Some of the lessons you may not master at first attempt, not even at the second. I know this because I had to do reseats and sometimes I had to take remedial classes. Whether you decide to further your formal education or not, no matter how old you get no matter what position you ascend to, you remain a student of experience in perpetuity and I implore you to humbly receive the lessons that life teaches you,” Dr. Joseph noted.

She told the graduants that they will meet many challenges along the way, but if they remain grounded they will overcome each obstacle.

“Many of you, particularly those of you who will leave Dominica’s shores to further your education or pursue opportunities elsewhere, will encounter forces that seek to suppress your greatness. People will doubt your abilities and even block your paths, perhaps because they cannot imagine that a spirit of excellence can reside in a small islander, a black person, a Kalinago person, a woman, a person with a disability, a single parent, an abuse survivor, a person who grew up in poverty.  Steel yourself in readiness against these forces, and when they try to muffle you shout out in your big strong Dominican voice ‘just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved,” Dr. Joseph added.  

Meanwhile, Valedictorian of the DSC 2022 graduating class, Ms. Shawnalee Gordon told her peers that sometimes the plans they have created might not work out how they wanted to, but they should always remember that there is more in store for them.

“While our plans may fail, God’s plan is perfect, and secondly you have the ability to be marvelous in whatever avenue you choose. I mentioned earlier that I was nervous because of the uncertainty to come, however what I have come to realize  and appreciate is that this uncertainty is ok, and also plans that take detours or even exits are ok. This is because sometimes, God’s plans may not align with those we have drawn up for ourselves. What I have come to realize, especially now as we take the next step, it is critical that we remember that if the plans that we have set for ourselves do not come to fruition, there is still much more in store for us,” Ms. Gordon stated.  

Ms. Gordon reminded the class that despite the many obstacles, they have made it to end of their journey.

“Most of us here did not have the traditional DSCX experience. Having to adapt to a fully online environment this past year was no simple task. The idea of virtual learning sounds amazing but the distractions were limitless. But in spite the distractions, we were able to focus and make it here today. Class of 2022, we did it and we did it well. Having to complete multiple assignments in one night was no simple task, but class of 2022 we did it and we did it well. Being eligible for graduation despite all the obstacles thrown our way was no simple task but class of 2022, we did it and we did it well,” Ms. Gordon added.

Kermar Stephenson received the faculty award for the Faculty Of Applied Arts And Technology; Suzette Nelson for the Faculty of Education; Mhinyola Gordon for the Faculty of General Studies; and Ja-Juana Baptiste for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Trey Sweeny was named Male Sports Personality of the Year, while Keva Pierre was awarded the Female Sports Personality of the Year.