39 graduate from Vocational School

POSTED: 06/22/14 11:13 PM

St. Maarten  – Thirty-nine students graduated from the Vocational School during a festive meeting at the Cultural Center on Back Street last night. The graduates finished studies in automotive, care, carpentry, general service, hospitality and networking and PC repair.

The graduation program contains an interesting quote the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple once made at Stanford University: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Astrid Schalkwijk-Hermelijn, the Vocational School’s interim-director, gave the graduates a piece of wisdom she got from her mother: “your diploma is your first husband.” The director said that the graduates were earning the first important document in their lives. “You are earning your way to freedom. Keep moving forward, sometimes you will do that with reluctance and sometimes you don’t want people to notice you. The Vocational School has shaped you. Mark this as one of the important moments in your life.”
Schalkwijk-Hermelijn observed that every moment in someone’s life has a color. “Sometimes it is brighter, sometimes darker. On those days, blend it with a brighter color. Remember, whatever you want to do, you can achieve.”

Glenderlin Davis-Holiday, head of the education department, told the graduates not to let anyone hinder them in moving forward. “Too often the community has looked down on those that go to the Vocational School. The truth is that without carpenters, welders and people with all those other skills, St. Maarten cannot be the most beautiful island in the Caribbean.”
“Respect yourself, respect the people around you, and be proud of yourself,” Davis-Holiday said.
Minister of Education Patricia Lourens noted that, “It does not happen very often that we see that many males in a graduation class. You are not marginalized, you did not drop out. Be proud of yourself.”
The minister advised the graduates to remain focused. “Whatever you do, never give up. Go above and beyond what you are required to do and you will be recognized.”
Keynote speaker Stacey-Ann Violenus, a registered nurse at the St. Maarten Medical Center encouraged the graduates to follow their dreams and to build their self-esteem. “Fight against the stigma that others have out on the Vocational School. You can prove them wrong. Pursue your career to the best of your abilities.”
Violenus said that she is the first from her family to graduate from high school and college. “If I can do it, you can do it. The world is your stage, so go out there and play your role.”

Debbie Zwanikken and Myriam Haar presented awards to the graduates that participated in their emotional coaching class.
“We have worked now one-and-a half year at the Vocational School with a select group of children,” Myriam Haar told the audience. “The purpose of the coaching is to reconnect students with their emotions in a world that has become more and more materialistic. They have learned to become human beings instead of human doings.”

The graduates are: automotive: Jude Alexis, Sharnun Lake, Arthur Spanner, Francis Baker, Raheem Romeo and Malacai Williams; Care: Shakida Arrindell and Rebecca Malivert; Carpentry: Robbie Chittick, Guermann Lucard, Kelvin Santana-Ramirez, Michel Hughes and Kyle Violenus; General Service: Paola Alomdra Adriana, Alijana Connor, Jorel John, Marie-Isabel Guy Lantigua, Jivana Claxton, Honal Duinkerk and Samuel Morris; Hospitality: Jivanta Claxton, Erica Johnson, Johnny Elizee and Stephon Pemberton; Networking and PC Repair: Denzil Bruney, Kyle Mahadeo, Jules Vivenes, Leonard Flanders and Kelly Syvrain.

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