It is graduation season, a time of hope and expectation. I saw this in the eyes of the promising children of St. Catherine's Prep in Spanish Town, as they look forward to high school. Their Prinicipal Yolande Geddes-Hall showed her leadership qualities from her days as team captain of our Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' netball team. The children were happy and self-assured, bolstered by the unity of teachers, parents, non-academic staff and board members.
Young valedictorian Danielle Holdham, who had near-perfect marks, spoke confidently. Affirmation was the order of the evening as there were multiple awards for academic excellence, sports and the arts and kudos for the dedicated teachers and parents. The fathers were very much in evidence, and it was clear that this was a bright spot of excellence in the parish of St. Catherine.
In my charge to the graduates I told them of my wishes for them: to enjoy life with family and friends, not just with a smartphone or a computer; to read avidly as a love of reading will help them in every subject and to communicate and open them to great adventures; and to walk in Godliness, loving, sharing and praying.
Lastly, I reflected on how blessed Jamaicans are, that our National Anthem is a prayer, every line filled with faith and the action it requires: "Teach us true respect for all, stir response to duty's call". It is a serious duty, we adults have to ensure that our children have a peaceful and rich childhood, one that will give them the character and strength for a fulfilled life.