FREDERIKSTED – Governor Kenneth Mapp and Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter continued celebrating Virgin Islands graduates this week by congratulating the 348 students who received their high school diplomas on St. Croix.
On Wednesday, Governor Mapp addressed 135 graduates and their supporters at St. Croix Central High School’s commencement ceremony. He recalled his own graduation from Central High in 1973.
“Don’t let anyone define who you are. It’s not what people call you, it’s what you answer to,” the Governor said. “Life will be good to you if you are good to yourself.”
Madelin Yousef and Taylor Lampkin were recognized as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, while Hakeem Macintosh offered words of encouragement as the keynote speaker.
Education Commissioner Sharon Ann McCollum reminded the graduates that the perseverance they displayed in the face of two Category 5 hurricanes would guide them in their future endeavors.
“The lessons you have learned will take you successfully into the future. Your best is yet to come. Captain the ship. Stay on course,” she said.
Special recognition was given to the top 25 graduates who wore gold stoles atop their gowns. Over $3 million in scholarships were awarded to numerous Central students attending the University of the Virgin Islands, Howard University, Rutgers University, among others.
On Thursday, families and friends filled the Timothy Duncan Gymnasium in celebration of the St. Croix Educational Complex High School Class of 2018, the largest graduating class in the territory this year. Diplomas were awarded to 213 students.
Mapp advised the graduates that the road to success will never be easy.
“Just understand that whatever you decide, and whatever your dream is, it’s going to require hard work and sacrifice,” the Governor remarked. “And if you’re prepared to invest in it, you will accomplish all that your heart desires.”
The class valedictorian, Ali Boucenna and salutatorian, Chelsea Valery also addressed their classmates at Thursday’s ceremony. 2008 alumni, veterinarian Dr. Tramaine Creighton and music executive Jamal Samuel, delivered keynote addresses.
One hundred and forty Complex graduates have been accepted to colleges and universities across the nation. Thirty-nine students are planning to attend technical schools, while 20 have enlisted in the military. The class has been awarded over $4 million in scholarships.