Rey tells Hillside graduates: ‘This is just the beginning’

POSTED: 06/27/12 12:39 PM
PROUD MOMENT, The valedictorian of the graduating class of the Hillside Christian school, Rhea-Marie Lalbachan smiles for the cameras after receiving a trophy, a cash donation and a framed image of herself from the Executive Director Aahs Stevens. Milton Pieters Photo.

GREAT BAY – The 64 students that graduated from the 8th grade of Hillside Christian School have just completed seven years of primary education but they still have a long journey ahead now that they are preparing to enter school at the secondary level. However, June 26, 2012 will be a day they will always remember, especially for Rhea-Marie Lalbachan, the 2012 Valedictorian who was afforded the opportunity to lead the procession of graduates to their rightful seating for the start of the early morning program at the Belair Community Center.

The support for the graduates was evident among the presence of the parents, guardians, siblings, relatives and friends that outnumbered the class of 2012. After some formal introductions by the Mistress of Ceremony, Shanella Romney, the invocation by Clara Curiel and the singing of the St Maarten song some of the students took the opportunity to entertain the gathering with song, poem and a dance.
The theme of this year’s graduation was ‘Success begins in you’ and the board of the school could not have made a better choice when they asked Terrance Rey, who has recently acquired Let’s Travel, to address the graduating class after 24 years of serving the community.
With the theme in mind Rey said, “This is just the beginning and you really need to know what success means to you so that you can continue to be successful as you grow older.”
He further pointed out the importance of being fair, which is one of the attributes of being successful.
On hand to bring some more clarity to the morning’s proceedings was Crisella Bell of the Inspectorate of Education.
“To the valedictorian, who stood apart from the rest, it was not a task easily accomplished and you have much to be proud of. To those who came close, give her a challenge and pushed her to the finishing line, your potential is no longer a secret,” Bell said.
She went onto tell the 63 other graduates that they too should be proud of their accomplishments and applauded them for their perseverance and commitment.
“Today proves that your efforts were not in vain. We at the ministry have invested in you and have prepared you for the next level and you are leaving with the important skills mastered.”
Bell referred to the graduates as the next generation of citizens that will be taking St Maarten to another pinnacle and offered six important tips:
1. Don’t make simple things complicated
2. Remember that you know what you know
3. Don’t forget that your head is filled with brains and your shoes are filled with feet, use them wisely
4. Don’t waste precious time trying to fit in when you are meant to stand out. Be the leaders that you are prepared to be
5. Your place in that graduating line begins tomorrow
6. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. You will make mistakes. The only people that have never experienced failure are the people that have never tried anything.”

In closing, Bell urged the students to keep their goals in sight and learn the art of dusting themselves off, picking themselves up and valuing the opportunities they were afforded.
“Our success begins with you,” she concluded.
Lalbachan, who passed each of her examinations, was not the only student that stole the spotlight. Seventeen others students were also singled out for their outstanding contributions. In class A, the best behaved students were Diana Lejeuz, Ajay Moerli and Brinda Nozelin. The most creative students in class B were Carina Alcin, Cynthia Felissaint, Monisha Gomez and Sue-Haily de Palm. In class C, the most improved student awards went to Malcolm Benjamin, Ryan Toussaint and Nyheem Romou. In class D, the most outstanding students in the academic areas went to Kareem Lake, for his ability to master the Dutch language, Niresh Boodhoo, for English and Arlon Wilson. In the E class, the most outstanding student awards went to Stefanas Waakzaam, Jahmal Le Blanc and Sizzla Peters.

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