|The journey in pursuit of excellence|
Published: Jun 20, 2012
More than 200 graduating students from the Government High School (GHS) were told that it was more important where they end up, rather than how they started their journey. And this could ring true for the 87 students that left the institution with just a certificate of completion.
Ian Strachan, an associate professor in the School of English at The College of the Bahamas, told the graduates of his humble beginnings in north Andros where he said his early years were unsuccessful and that it wasn’t until he came to GHS for high school that he started to focus and become disciplined.
"Do not worry where you began your journey," said Strachan. "It’s more important where you end up than how you started.” He urged them to keep trying no matter what. Graduating ceremonies were held at Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road.
He told them that they should first have a dream, and then a passion to pursue it.
"You must have something you want to achieve, an idea that you could be great at something — anything", said Strachan. "Then you must have the hunger to be excellent at something, the desire to put achieving that goal above all other things that might distract you. When you love something, you will never work a day in your life. When you have zest, you can do to it forever.”
And in pursuit of excellence Strachan told them to learn how to sacrifice, as they could not be excellent at something unless they were willing to sacrifice something.
“Your time is your most valuable asset and you have to be willing to put time into your dream" said Strachan.
And in the pursuit of their dream he reminded them to be humble.
"You must understand you are on a journey, you’re not there yet — you must be open to learning and advice and criticism, [and] submit yourself to instruction,” he advised.
Strachan encouraged the graduates to identify a mentor to teach them what they know, and told them to find a mirror to examine themselves in real terms — where they are on their journey to excellence.
The English professor also told the graduates that one of the most important instruments to success was finding a true friend, someone that could be honest with them at all times during life’s journey.
And once they have achieved excellence, he told them that their journey would not be over as they should continue to find new challenges, to bring another person along for the ride, and in turn mentor an individual. And he reminded them not to forget to celebrate their successes, as they did at their high school graduation.
“With a dream, hunger, passion, sacrifice, humility, a master, a mirror, true friends, new challenges and celebration excellence is achievable,” said Strachan. “Today is your journey in the pursuit of excellence.”
The theme, "Future Leaders in the Pursuit of Excellence" was one important to many of the graduates, most notably, valedictorian Kimberley Granston. She said her years at the school held a lot of great memories, but that she envisioned a future that holds promise.
"Looking back on how far we have come and how far we are going, our long anticipated adulthood has finally arrived,” she said. “We have grown up now and moving along our path to grab our own destinies."
Granston described feeling shy and nervous on her first day at the school in August 2009. And that coming from another country compounded her nervousness. She said that she soon made friends that she will carry with her through life. Since that fateful first day, Granston reminisced on the changes wrought in the school and how the class drew together as a unit.
"We created a new culture with our new principal and dealt with the changes that came — like girls having to wear white socks, and the better running of the cafeteria — thank God," she said.
Granston encouraged her peers to thank their parents for everything they have, to remember the memories they shared and to remember that they are the future leaders in the pursuit of excellence.
In a show of solidarity, the graduates and their parents beat pots and pans and filled the hall with cheers and congratulations for each graduate as they went up to receive their diploma.