From October 24-26, the University of the West Indies, St Augustine will celebrate its graduating class of 2019.
For each of the six ceremonies over the three days, valedictorians have been selected to deliver farewell statements on behalf of the graduating classes. They are:
Raquel Le Blanc for the Faculties of Engineering and Law
Amanda Mendes for the Faculty of Humanities and Education
Jonathan Crichlow for the Faculty of Medical Sciences
Shaquille Joshua Duncan for the Faculties of Science and Technology and Food and Agriculture
Marcus Bridgemohansingh for the Faculty of Social Sciences (morning)
Naomi La Croix for the Faculty of Social Sciences (evening).
Aside from gaining first- or second-class honours, they proved themselves well-rounded students with critical and creative thinking, effective communication with good interpersonal skills, and active in campus events.
Racquel Le Blanc was the 2016 President’s Medal winner. She chose to study at UWI because she considered it the centrepiece of “Caribbean intellect and creative thought.”
She is looking forward to becoming a lawyer, learning from senior practitioners, and making her own contributions to the development of the legal system.
Mendes is graduating from the Film Department. Her fascination with both film studies and literature reflects her underlying aspiration to use her talents and the tools at her disposal to explore and support Caribbean development.
She was a member of the UWI Guild Publications Committee 2016/2017. As a member of the Environmental Society she participated in beach clean-up exercises.
She attributes her academic success to a strong work ethic and sense of purpose.
“The world is at our fingertips,” she said. “I greatly believe that investing in yourself on a knowledge-fuelled basis can lead to great holistic success.”
Crichlow is graduating with a BSc in pharmacy, as he is interested in business and science. He engaged not only in academics, but in activities such as football, running, modelling for charity and acting in plays, such as in the annual MEDS play.
He served as an executive member of the TT Organisation for Pharmacy Students. He hopes one day to bring big changes to the pharmaceuticals industry, and to provide more medication counselling so that patients become better informed and play a more active part in managing their health.
Duncan wanted to be a teacher and a scientist. As he has completed his BSc in environmental science, his goal is to change the world, starting by making TT a cleaner and safer place.
Duncan had a resilient spirit. He lost his father at a young age. He faced many difficulties including academic woes, financial problems and social displacement. He was among students affected by the extensive floods in October 2018.
He found solace in his studies and worked on achieving academic success (he got first-class honours) and channelled his troubles into helping organise a Student Guild food drive, during which he delivered water and meals to other similarly affected students.
He took on a number of leadership roles, including being a member of the student-staff liaison committee for his faculty; events co-ordinator and president of his faculty’s student council; faculty representative on the guild council; and member of the campus’ health and safety committee.
He gave free tutoring in mathematics, Spanish, and geography to children in his community, and is an active member of the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (Niherst), contributing time to referee at the First Lego League Robotics Competition and to host at the Caribbean Youth Science Forum.
Bridgemohansingh always wanted to have his own business and be his own boss. Management studies was therefore a natural choice.
He wants to use all he has learned to create his own business ventures. He also wants to bring another important personal value into the workplace – balance.
“I would like to change the mindset and the morale of employees in this country into an attitude where they come to work happy and excited for the day ahead, automatically increasing their productivity at work,” Bridgemohansingh.
La Croix wanted to do more than help people and understand them, so she studied psychology. At UWI she found her true passion: presenting to audiences.
“I did spoken word, extempo, calypso, a talk show, skits, poems, drawings and much more for various presentations. My lecturers always liked it. It was something I felt comfortable doing and I was happy UWI allowed me to do it,” La Croix said.
She was involved in the Campus Crusade for Christ. She enjoys time with family and friends, helping others, engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, skating, swimming, travelling and, of course, listening to or playing music.
Her main goal is to become a top-notch international presenter, while helping others improve their presentation skills.