Dominican UWI valedictorian speaks of challenges

Jerelle Joseph

“While I cannot speak on all of the things that made each of our journeys here unique, I know that one thing unites us all today: WE DID IT!”

Those were the words of 2012 University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus valedictorian, Dominican Jerelle Joseph, as she addressed the graduating class of 2011/2012 at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Barbados on Saturday.

Joseph received a first class Bachelor in Science and Mathematics in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences. She was also awarded the R.L. Seale & Co. Ltd. prize for Chemistry.

The valedictorian revealed that despite her tremendous success she endured various challenges along the way one of which included losing both parents in January, 2011. She indicated that she was dedicating her graduation to them whom she described as the “wind beneath my wings.”

“It is not so much the end, though the reward is sweet but it is the journey that makes us who we are, that helps us build character, compels us to beat the odds and to succeed regardless of our circumstances. I am certain that the other graduates here today will agree with me that, UWI has without a doubt, shown you what you are really made of,” she said.

Joseph recounted asking one of her mentors some probation questions. “Sir what’s the point to it all? Why do we put ourselves through all this stress and labour, toiling into the wee hours of the morning, only to get a piece of paper in the end to say we have a degree? What’s the point to it all?” she remembered asking.

According to the top student his response to her was quick and blunt but very insightful. “He said, ‘Ever asked yourself, why artists like Da Vinci, who dedicated his life to creating these masterpieces, bothered to do it or why scientists like Einstein, spent so many hours at work to come up with these theories. The answer is why not?’” he told her.

Joesph urged her fellow graduates to be “movers and shakers” of growth, industry and innovation. “I urge that we live our lives with a consciousness of how our actions not only affect our selves but also the people and the space in which we live in.” she also urged them to always acknowledge everyone who was instrumental in their successes,” she said.

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  1. Robo
    May 14, 2013

    Jerelle I am very proud of you and all those focused young people like you. I know all those at the MoE who had to deal with you during your undergrad years are extremely excited. Congratulations are in order. hmm.wah

  2. Harrison Dalrymple
    October 26, 2012

    Congratulations from your Uncle Harrison. Your parents are looking down, and are very proud of you. Continue on your road to success, knowing that there are many family and friends that are pround of you too. Best wishes in all endeavors.

  3. Auntie Elaine/MIA
    October 25, 2012

    Par Excellence!!! High Achiever!Gifted Learner! “Cheap off De Ole’block”.
    In memory of my dearest deceased brother Aurelius and sister in law Victoria, Allow me to offer my heartfelt Congratulations , on this truly admirable achievement,and in keeping clear on the mark of your higher ideals.
    Even,amidst such trials and loss.
    “Success is delivered only to the derserving”. You have truly made Our family proud my darling!

    {Upon your graduation, hold your memories in one hand, but leave the other open; For your life is just begining, and the world that awaits you is limitless. “May God Bless You”}. Rd Joshua 1:9.
    “Stay Connected”.

  4. JFabs
    October 24, 2012

    May the good Lord continue to shine his light upon you Jerelle. I am so very proud of you! Congratulations

  5. /////////..
    October 23, 2012

    She is from the beautiful village of Vielle Case.

    October 23, 2012


  7. Anonymous
    October 23, 2012

    Where is she from? A little background

  8. vcase girl
    October 23, 2012

    You are such a blessing ellie..Congrats to you..
    Inspite of everything you persevered..
    Congrats to you sisters as well who stuck with you through it all..Your parents are proud of you

    • B.E.B
      October 24, 2012

      Did’nt u read that she lost her BOTH parents in January, 2011? Well u might say that they are proud of her while they are in the!!!

    • Anonymous
      October 24, 2012

      Please remember God he did it all for you JESUS.

  9. sexy verns
    October 23, 2012

    look js like ure big sis mwah ! lets go Itassay village >>>> we moving nothing cant stop you now girl

  10. sexy verns
    October 23, 2012

    You go girl , i remember back in High school u were always untop of things… Congratsss

  11. irir
    October 23, 2012

    congrats she taught me for one school year in high school an that was my best teacher and school year congrats again

  12. Former PSS teacher
    October 23, 2012

    Congratulations Jerelle!! Well deserved! This just shows that a balanced life is one of the greatest keys to success! From pre-school up you you showed equal interest in your school work as well as in extra-curricular activities. Your drive and motivation have never ceased to amaze me. You always excelled at what you did, always placing first. I am not surprised by this additional success. Despite the dark hands of death, you persevered and came out a shining star. I wish continued success in your endeavours. I know that this is just a continuation of great things. God’s richest blessings Jerelle.

  13. Hmmmm....
    October 23, 2012

    Fantastic! I wish you continued success!

  14. tami
    October 23, 2012

    congratulations cuz you did really great….. you made your family and the country proud…..

  15. ?????????????
    October 23, 2012

    Congratulations young lady. After having read that you lost both parents in 2011, I could not keep back the tears. Whatever the tears joy or sadness but what matters is you have made it with God’s help and strength.

    • Hmmm
      October 23, 2012

      Yes this is a great accomplishment for her! She has persevered. Congratulations my dear….but ???? what you crying for? Do you know her? lol…allu really have jokes. I’m sure a tear never dropped. Stop it. lol

  16. dom
    October 23, 2012

    i must say congratulation to ms Joseph u did it and the lord is on your side. i mist say nurse victo and mr aj is proud of u and we also is very proud of u God bless u and keep it up

  17. October 23, 2012

    Congrats Jerelle….

  18. Amazing
    October 23, 2012

    Congratulations my dear. To graduate from UWI with first class honours is in iteslf an amazing feat . to obtail first class honours in the Sciences and Math is even more inspring but what I am really amzaed at is that although you lost your parents within a year this did not prevent you from achieving greatness. I salute you. I pray that you will be able to further your education. Maybe a PHd at Oxford or Cambridge?

  19. Yes Fada!
    October 23, 2012

    Awww, such inspiration. Congrats, young lady! Losing both ur parents in a rapid space of time, yet you DID it. Resilience; u define the very meaning. Keep aiming for the top.

  20. son of Jah
    October 23, 2012

    congrats ,i am inspired .I wish you the best in life cause i see the courage of your mum in you .

  21. Small Fish
    October 23, 2012

    DNO, I find this an incomplete article. Now I know from the comments that Miss Joseph is from Vieille Case, her father A . J, It would have been nice if you had researched this information and said so in your story and also to refer to the lady as Miss Joseph or Jerelle would sound a little more professional. …… My little observartion……

    • penville
      October 23, 2012

      Her father is from vielle case and her mother from penville, .

    • Agreed
      October 23, 2012

      My thoughts exactly!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. October 22, 2012

    I love it when children in the north excel.Naturally inteligente!Boom!

  23. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats jerelle .tears you make we Dominican

    proud .may the keep and guide you may he shine on
    all days of your life .

  24. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    congratulations ellie….im not surprised at ur achievements at all, im just very happy for u. i remembered our days at dsc(bio class); always so friendly and intelligent…u go gurl!!!

  25. dom
    October 22, 2012

    Take your education somewhere where you will get paid and appreciated for it.

  26. Sisterlyyyyyyyyyy
    October 22, 2012

    I like to hear Good things like that , Congrts my dear

    although my both Parents are here with me I wish i could be doing great things like that hmmmmmmm tears tears tears!!!!!!!!!!!
    Congrts again Young Lady

  27. October 22, 2012

    the didier family is so proud of you wishing that your mammy and daddy was alive.but thank god u made it through



  28. d/ca
    October 22, 2012

    to you I say congratulations, sorry about the death of ur parents and still you journey on. Proud of you, thanks for making it “Dominica” on the top list.

  29. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats jerelle! This came as no surprise to me. Respect to you on that degree! Chemistry! Wow

  30. itassi4us
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations Ellie!! reach for the stars. the sky is your have yet again made Vieille Case proud today, showing off again that majority of the beauty, the brains, the brilliance,the bold of D.A come from Itasi City. big up to you Girl. We are proud of you. Itassi Soaring high!!. A.J and Victo are smilling down at you, so proud of you.

  31. proud
    October 22, 2012

    congrats ellie! i know that nurse vito and a.j. are looking down and they are really proud of you! congratulations on your achievement

  32. Hi Ellie
    October 22, 2012

    WoW, I remember this girl in PSS, so smart and fun,Elie! Very talented.
    Never knew she was studing UWI Barbados!

    WOW Congrates!By their fruits, you shall know them!

  33. goldie
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulation my girl. i dont know you, but i know your parents and they would be very proud of you were they alive.

  34. labourite at heart
    October 22, 2012

    congrats! congrats! congrats! hoooooorraaaaaaaaay!Go Ellie goooooooo!

  35. proud
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats Ellie!!!

  36. Raven
    October 22, 2012

    Ellie! Congratulations! W’re proud of you!

  37. Sunshinegual
    October 22, 2012

    CONGRATSS JERELLE!!!!!! Your achievement is no surprise. We in th Caribbean Healthy Lifestyle Programme (CHLP) have always recognised your ability. You always excpelled during your presentations and other activities which you participated in during our workshops. as a netballer you were outstanding, as a student you were great, as a member of the CHLP FAMILY you were exceptional. Youl have done yourself proud, you have made your family proud. Your teachers , friends and assosciates share you joy and success. WELL DONE.

  38. karla
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats jerellle …I am so happy for you babes and I know that your angels are so very proud of their daughter!!!! Youre a true diamond!xxxx

  39. Greeneyes
    October 22, 2012

    I’m so proud of you coz, congrats on your achievement!

  40. AHA
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats! well done

  41. michel
    October 22, 2012

    i always admire nurse victo’s children.

  42. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations young lady.

  43. Jespen
    October 22, 2012

    Nice going cuz. Victo and AJ’s creation. Congrats

  44. michel
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats.anyone can follow your footsteps. i’m so proud of you.

  45. No Name No Warrant
    October 22, 2012

    Is she the sister of Jael Joseph and if so is she from Vieille Case also. They look so much alike.

    Congrats to you young woman, you have Dominica proud.

    • Answer
      October 22, 2012

      Yes she is Jael’s (Shelly as we northerners call her) youngest sister.

  46. Blondie
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats Jer. You made me cry. Above all you did it and come out “above and not beneath, the first and not the last.”

  47. jean vcase
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats ellie boo!! so proud of u hun!!! Continue striving for excellence :)

  48. Sout Man
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations!!! Job well done!! We await the future Dr. Jerelle Joseph!! Good luck and God Bless!!

  49. DA Sister
    October 22, 2012

    Great to see another Dominican sister excel! Congrats and keep following your dreams of greatness and distinction in all you do! Well done sister!

  50. Tiger
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations Jerelle, shoot for the stars. Stay humble and don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way.

  51. Homeboy
    October 22, 2012

    The excerpts from her speech are vibrant and moving. Good job young lady all the best in your future endeavors.

  52. The Engineer
    October 22, 2012

    I don’t know the young lady, but she is amazing indeed! Congratulations!! Losing both parents and still coming out on top – wow! I salute you! Job well done!.

  53. Sir Heinrich
    October 22, 2012

    i am so proud of you girl. you a true role model for young women in this country. the sky is the limit

    • coco
      October 23, 2012

      Hey ellie i am so happy for you and your sisters by extension.Remain focused and go for your doctorate.Your parents would have been very proud.Congrats Mimie or Little Miss as your Mom would say.You have made Dominica proud.

  54. Dash-in
    October 22, 2012

    Eddie lost out :lol:

    • Kixx
      October 24, 2012

      lmfaooooo woyeee that is di best comment here! Good for him!

  55. Nikkei
    October 22, 2012


  56. Pondera
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations to my fellow UWI alumni. You have persevered in a reputable instution and has emerged victorious. I love the response of the mentors whose response was “Why Not.” Now prepare yourself to be misunderstood by those who have not similarly journeyed. I can guarantee you that your conviction tempered with this noble experience will make you of a steely personality. There’s so much more to conquer. Follow your dreams! CONGRATULATIONS!!

  57. NICA
    October 22, 2012


  58. assuass
    October 22, 2012

    you are bless just continue having faith and dont forget your root ok

  59. possie
    October 22, 2012

    CONGRATS Jer’s, victo would be proud of you, they are both looking down on you from heaven. Am so proud of you, always have… go girl, masters or PHd next? always have a strong head over your shoulders, that group of PSS children were always good, from Rapture Time preschool to State College, now most of you are at University.. oh so proud of you girls

  60. hmmm
    October 22, 2012

    congrats sweetheart… you did it!

    October 22, 2012

    Your parents are smiling at your achievements

  62. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats Jerelle!!! You have always been a very bright young lady since PSS. No surprise here. Keep on aspiring to even bigger and greater things yet!!!!!!!!!!

  63. blessing
    October 22, 2012

    HOORAY, Elie, I’m so happy for you, knew that you had what it took to beat all odds and make it to the top.

    • Merl
      October 22, 2012

      penville used blessing as name

  64. family member
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats Elle.. i know that aurellius and victoria are watchig from above with big smiles on ur face..proud student of the Portsmouth Secondary School… Proud to be ur cuz.. wish u all the best in life hunny

    • penville
      October 22, 2012

      Nothing less is expected from A..J. children. He was my teacher so I know. Congrats J.J.

  65. Ella
    October 22, 2012

    Proud of u J!! Ur an inspiration…

  66. WellDone
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats Jerelle!!! I know its been hard but God helped you to succeed! Way to go grl!

  67. travis etienne
    October 22, 2012

    Congrats…Jerelle..u have done very well and we are all proud of you..As A fellow Aries..sharing the same birthday..we always march to the beat of our own drums…and blaze our own trail….keep your head up… n pops are proud of you….I am proud of you…Travis Etienne.

    • budman
      October 22, 2012

      why you just can’t give congrats without trying to link your self into it? what Aries have to do with it? you trying that hard to identify with someone else’s success?

  68. ME
    October 22, 2012

    not surprised sweety! congrats love!

  69. Anonymous
    October 22, 2012

    well done Ellie Vieille Case people are so very proud of you!!!!!!!

  70. Lay Lay
    October 22, 2012

    aaaaaaawwwwwwwwww my ellie lil miss!! congrats again! knew you had it in you from way back when! continue to make us proud my darling. keep on keeping on! remmeber to ALWAYSSS Give God thanks NO MATTER WHAT!!

    ( first time i leaving a comment on here..but ..I JUS HAD TO! ) :) wish i could give you a big hug and kiss!! lol

    all the best smarty pants! remember me ur cousin when u making all ur $$$ :(

    Love you doo doo!

  71. Positive
    October 22, 2012

    Congratulations! This is a great tribute to both your parents who set good example for you to follow. While it must have been bitter-sweet not to have either of them there. Know that they are smiling down at you from above.

    You are one more example that DSC does provide a solid foundation for further studies.

  72. ha ha
    October 22, 2012


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