Long, regal academic gowns and caps! Hues of blue, grey, green and red. A simultaneous feeling of euphoria and trepidation fills the air. Proud parents, family, faculty and supporters look on in admiration. Graduation is here and everybody is in a celebratory mood. Years upon years of hard work and sacrifice have culminated in this long-awaited moment and the ensuing ceremonies are full of pomp and circumstance, and rightfully so!
Graduation is undeniably one of the most important milestones in the journey from childhood to adulthood. It signals the end of an era of certainty and the beginning of another era characterized by limitless possibilities, significant responsibility and the “great unknown.”
When the NCPC was established in 2013, its main purpose was to facilitate the enhancement of levels of productivity and competitiveness in Saint Lucia. As part of this thrust, the Council has identified young people as critical in cultivating a new generation of productive, self-driven and success-oriented citizenry.
With this in mind, in June 2016 as thousands of secondary school leavers island-wide prepared to cross the threshold, Productivity Ambassadors from the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) had a moment in the spotlight at their graduation ceremonies. Their role was to offer some encouragement to new graduates and remind them of their individual roles in improving their own and ultimately Saint Lucia’s levels of productivity and competitiveness.
As the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School 2016 Graduation Ceremony opened under the theme “Rising to New Possibilities from One Foundation,” NCPC Productivity Ambassador/Council Member, Janai Leonce, Deputy Chief Economist in the Ministry of Finance asked graduants to let productivity guide their thoughts, “If you develop a mindset of making maximum use of your resources you will become more thoughtful and deliberate in your actions and this will helpful you through life. You will also quickly realize that one of the most valuable resources that you have is time. Be mindful of it, be crafty with it.”
In similar fashion, at the Corinth Secondary School Graduation, Queen’s Young Leader, Youth Enthusiast and Productivity Ambassador Tevin Shepherd, chronicled the obstacles he faced growing up and how he did not allow them to determine his future. Addressing the graduants he said, “This graduation’s theme, “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions” is very fitting. I know all too well how easy it is to let challenges prevent us from realising our full potential. I want to implore you to be the owners of your destiny! Never give up! The world needs vibrant young minds like yours.”
Managing Director of Algas Organics and young entrepreneur Mr. Johanan Dujon also had the opportunity to share his own story of finding and nurturing his passion and eventually living his dreams to a group of over 100 students of the Leon Hess Comprehensive School 2016 Graduating Class. Mr. Dujon cautioned the students not to expect anything to be handed to them on a platter. He further encouraged them to find what they loved and to passionately and relentlessly invest in it and make a career out of it.
The transition from Secondary School to the real world can be very daunting for students. The Inaugural NCPC Schools’ Graduation Tour, aims to promote an awareness and understanding of the notions of productivity and competitiveness and help the youth to understand how powerful they are as agents for change. Through this commitment to increasing knowledge and re-shaping mindsets, we will continue to see improvements in all facets of society.