Some members of the graduating class

The rain poured from the sky and tried to flood the path of the 2011 graduating class of the Portsmouth Secondary School (PSS). However the torrent only provided the moisture needed for the growth of the vegetation of success along that trail.

The Portsmouth Secondary School 29th Graduation Ceremony June 30, 2011, began on time on the school grounds without any major hitch under the theme ‘Forging trails to great destinations’. Officials from the Ministry of Education, parents and well-wishers witnessed the procession of the 107 graduands (36 males and 71 females) followed by the customary items such as the National Anthem done by 6 male graduates, opening prayer, welcome remarks by Rachel Matthew (Salutatorian) and Ivor Dupuis (recipient of the James Fabien Award 2011).

The moment came when the principal, Lois Bristol, presented a stirring and somewhat emotional address. She highlighted the school’s many accomplishments in areas such as academics, sports, and culture/social activities.

Notable achievements included the school’s strong presence at the 2010 National Youth Rally and the 2011 Commonwealth Day presentation in March, the copping of gold medals in Solo (Jasmine Laville) and Creative Dance and silver in drama at the National Schools Arts Presentation and first runner up at Ms. Teen Dominica (Millie Casimir) capturing the National Maths Power Championship upper school and 5 of 6 awards in table tennis.

The winning streak continued with football Under-17 Champs and Under-15 Zonal Champs. The school’s performance at the C.S.E.C exams turned out 100 percent passes in ten subjects. She also complimented her staff for their dedication to the school’s  success.

Remarks also came from the Honorable Reginald Austrie who encouraged the graduates to find success and happiness in their dreams and to embrace every opportunity available to propel them to success. He also urged them to be models for future students of the school.

Featured speaker, Ms. Fredrica James, a past student and former secretary of the PSS, now a lecturer at the Dominica State College used the theme creatively as she advised the graduates to forge their trail wisely and professionally with focus and by maximizing their skills by continuing their educational journey. “Your destination is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. Do not be afraid of tomorrow because you’ve have seen today. Instead keep your eyes on the goal as you forge your trail,” she said.

Valedictorian Esther Hyacinth

The most emotional speaker at the ceremony was Valedictorian Esther Hyacinth. She outlined the secrets she employed as forged on her trail and these included, large helping of God, a focused mind, the support of good friends, and a pinch of family. It was at this point of her address that she became emotional as she reminisced on the contributions and advice of her deceased mother in her expression of gratitude to her family for their unwavering support. Composed, she advised her peers to “believe in themselves, seize the future, and to develop an attitude for hard work and leave no room for mediocrity”.

The ceremony continued with the presentation of awards/prizes for academics, sports and other special awards.

Valedictorian, Esther Hyacinth copped nine subjects’ awards while salutatorian, Rachel Matthew copped six. Curvan Marie and Andrea Remy captured the Sportsman and Woman of the year awards while Ivor Dupuis was awarded the ‘James Fabien Award’. Other students and Faculty were also awarded at that ceremony.

The graduating class of 2011 brought ‘the platform down’ with a hyped choreographed performance and the Vote of thanks delivered by Sherman Valmond (Head Boy) and Ray Joseph (Deputy Head Boy) brought the three and a half hour ceremony to a close.

Salutatorian Rachel Matthew