…Justice Cummings-Edwards tells UG graduates
…Valedictorian charges students to look beyond race, religion and other biases
By Jared Liddell
CHANCELLOR of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Saturday evening, encouraged graduates of the University of Guyana to stay here and develop this country.
“You and I know that you have dreams and you have goals, and those dreams and those goals have led you to this institution, the University of Guyana. We know, too, that you have talents, you have abilities, and you have skills. However, I am sure that you would have recognised that your talent alone is not enough, it is not enough to get to your goals, to achieve them or to get to them. By just having those talents it must take something more, and that something more, ladies and gentlemen, must be discipline, and I dare say you have displayed discipline, you have been focused, you have prepared and you have persevered,” was the charge given by Justice Cummings-Edwards, at the final session of the university’s 53rd Convocation Ceremony held at the Turkeyen Campus.
Saturday’s graduation saw the largest batch of graduates in the university’s history with 1,985 students receiving their degrees and diplomas. Justice Cummings-Edwards congratulated the students on facing their trials that they may have experienced, noting that all university students would potentially have to face these while trying to balance school, family and work situations. She expressed her pride that the graduates stayed strong, and ensured that their eyes were centred on their goal until they were each able to achieve them.
The top Guyanese judicial officer advised the graduates that their knowledge and qualifications would be pivotal in shaping Guyana’s history, saying, “There are predictions about the country’s wealth which tells us that the grass is greener here; there is no need for you to go abroad and look for greener pasture. As graduates of the school of entrepreneurship, business innovation, and faculty of Health sciences and social sciences, and other areas, I encourage you to take advantage of what is here in Guyana. I am confident that you have the required skills and knowledge, the requisite skillset and values to go out there and to make a difference, and I’m sure that you can do it.”
She further advised the students to keep moving forward from this point, noting that although this achievement is a major one, they must always have a thirst for knowledge and that they must pursue that knowledge so that they would have continued growth.
With 36 A’s, Karishma Narain made history as she attained a 4.0 GPA and being named one of two valedictorians. The other is biology student, Shane Rampertab. (see other story on page 3).
Narain, from the School of Medicine, was also the recipient of the President’s Medal at the afternoon session of UG’s 53rd Convocation. She expressed her emotions on being the valedictorian, saying, “I never pictured this moment before and if you had told me this five years ago when I started medical school, I would have said let’s go visit Dr. Harry. Well, I only heard on Thursday evening and I couldn’t believe it, cause this is not something that I ever expected or that I was actively working towards, so I was a bit surprised, shocked, and then of course, elated and extremely happy.”
Narain related that the decision to pursue medicine, although she was exposed to the medical field all her life due to her father being a medical doctor himself, was a difficult one. After completing a diploma in chemistry at UG’s Berbice campus in 2001, she was faced with the decision of persuing dance or medicine as a future career, and, of course, she chose the latter; this she explained, was due to the love she had and the feeling she got when she was able to bring relief to persons who were in need of medical attention.
Look out for each other
She charged the graduates to always look out for each other, saying, “We all struggle, different struggles maybe, but we’re all fighting some battle; I urge you to look beyond race, beyond religion and any other biases you may have, see that the person next to you is a struggling human just like you and attempt to be a part of their support system no matter how big or small a role we can play in their lives; eventually we would see a healthier, happier population.”
Finally, Narain offered a small piece of advice to students all across the country, saying, “I usually tell people I’m not a super smart person; all that I have done is to study from early on, always and consistently, and find a method of studying that would work for you because different methods would work for different persons, and once you find something that you are comfortable with and its working for you, you stick to it and just do your best. What is your best might not be someone else’s best, so just do your best, as long as you put your best forward, you can achieve all that you set your mind to, and sometimes even those thing you would’ve never thought possible.”
Among the 1,985 graduates of this year’s graduation ceremony, Commissioner of Police Leslie James DSS, DSM also graduated with a Commonwealth Masters in Public Administration. Mr. James, who was appointed to the helm of the Force on August 30, 2018, during his visit to the various policing divisions at the time while he was pursuing his Master’s, urged the ranks to pursue higher learning and commended those who had already done so, either from the University of Guyana or other tertiary institutions.