It took a talking to for Israel Duncan to realise his potential. The “talking pilot”, as he calls himself, delivered the feature address at Holy Cross College’s award ceremony for academic year 2016/17 last Thursday. The ceremony was held at the school’s chapel, Calvary Hill, Arima.
Duncan flies high, today, but it took the threat of “planting garden” to make him realise that he could achieve more. The aviation professional, inspirational speaker and past student of the school, spoke to the young men about his own life experiences and success story. Starting his presentation playing Rihanna’s Diamonds in the Sky to reference the awards ceremony theme of “Shine Brighter than Ever”, Duncan recalled his early days at the school and how “very delinquent and unbecoming” he was. He was, however, able to make something of himself after a wake-up call.
It was while at a parents/teachers conference, a teacher told Duncan’s father he should just buy land and let him “plant garden.” It was then Duncan realised he needed to change.
Striving to prove the teacher wrong, Duncan pushed to be better than he was. After graduating from Holy Cross College, he joined the police service where he served for 15 years before receiving a full government scholarship to study aviation at Pan Am International Flight Academy in Florida. In October, he graduated from the University of the West Indies with a masters in Aviation Management.
This was the message Duncan delivered to the young men last Thursday, urging them to always strive for excellence. The school, he said, was yet to receive a national scholarship and promised to give his monthly salary to see this happen.
This message added to the joyous occasion, as teachers, students, past students and parents gathered to celebrate the success of its students.
Andre Howard, Ag principal delivered the principal’s address and said the college continued to fulfil its mandate as many of its students went on to become prominent members of society. “We remain a ‘beacon on the hill’ as we continue to strive for excellence through the past 60 years.”
Although having a small form six of about 20 students, Howard said the college is optimistic that a scholarship will come soon to the college, as its students continue to excel not only in academics but in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Students received awards for excellence at the May/June Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE) as well as co and extra-curricular activities.
Joel Andrews [a national track and field athlete] received the Andrew Bruce award for outstanding achievement in sport. David Mawassie-Chang Kit and Anthony O’Kieffe were the school’s most outstanding students at the CSEC and CAPE examinations. Nicholas Diaz received the principal’s award for Exemplary Moral and Spiritual values and Emmanuel Joseph received the past pupils association award for the student of the year, graduating class of 2017.