Over 300 students graduated during the ceremony

Dr. Vince Henderson, Dominica’s Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), has encouraged over 300 Dominica State College graduates to rise up and be counted among the masses.

He was speaking at the 15th commencement ceremony for the students on Wednesday July 12th 2017 at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium.

“I urge you class of 2017 to stand up and be counted. Do not be caught in that trap that everything will continue as it is. You have to make your contribution; you have to defend the things which are right and the things which are good. You must get engaged in the dialogue, you must get engaged in the discussion of development, you must ask the hard questions that some of us are afraid to ask,” he said.

He stressed to the students to “move away from the petty issues” that continue to pervade in the Dominican society and occupy time, and instead, focus on the development of the country and people.

Henderson addressing the ceremony

“All the things that we do from morning to night on the airways, on the internet, attacking one another, destroying one another and destroying our country, is that the Dominica we want to inherit? Is that the Dominica you want to wake up to? Young people, you know how people tell we are the future? You have to stand up and tell them ‘no, we are the present and the future of Dominica and I want to part of defining the future of Dominica because I deserve a right’,” Henderson stated.

He told the graduates that as they continue their journey, they must continue to want more for themselves and for Dominica.

“Thank God we have gotten to where we are. Are we going to sit by silently and allow all this progress that we have made to vanish away? Are we going to let our voices be drowned by those who have not pursued a form of educational training to help themselves and to help their communities? Is that what we are going to accept? Class of 2017, I urge to thin very seriously about the kind of Dominica that we want,” he said.

He remarked that what he would appreciate seeing is that all of the people of this country commit themselves to a journey of development together as a people, and the graduating class continues to working hard to make life better in their individual communities.

“Let us be willing to have the debates on the troubling issues of our time, let us listen to each other, let us put forth our ideas that we can have a battle of ideas rather than a battle of personalities. Let us all rise to make Dominica a better place for present and future generations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Education, Petter Saint Jean, urged the students to become Dominica’s “greatest generation.”

Education Minister Petter Saint Jean

“If anyone can develop Dominica, you can. You can because you are the best and the brightest, the greatest news, however, is this; if you develop Dominica, if you transform Dominica into some sort of first world nation, then you get to be Dominica’s greatest generation,” Saint Jean said.

He added that with taking on this mantle, the students must be prepared considering Dominica as a small island bringing in big challenges, and they must give back to the country, and fill in the gap, which are the needs of the country.

“The mission for entrepreneurship is to fill the gaps, wherever the gaps may exist. Therefore, as Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, I come to you, the most catered to generation, to implore you to become our greatest generation, focus on our common challenges, fill the gaps that still trouble our existence as a nation,” he remarked.

He also encouraged the students to build a better region, nation, and world and to bear in mind the thought that they are capable of doing anything that they set their minds to.

“This is your Dominica, I urge you, still, I dare you to stay in Dominica, or return to Dominica if you must leave. Remember that Dominica belongs to each and every one of us,” he remarked.

The Valedictorian of the graduating class was Stephanie Pascal, a Mathematics, Economics and Physics major.

Valedictorian Stephanie Pascal