the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexjun 09, 2016

Caribbean International Academy Graduation Class of 2016

Remarks by the Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon,

And a special good afternoon to the Graduating Class of 2016.
I am pleased to join you and share in celebrating this special moment in your lives. Special because there is no better way to spread your wings for the future than through a good education. The great philosopher Plato once wrote:
“the Direction in Which Education Starts a Man
Will Determine His Future in Life.”

And today you can look back at your many hours spent in classes, on assignments and doing tests at CIA that prepared you for this moment and say I did it, I have a good education start. You should be proud of yourselves for accomplishing this goal. Are you? ………… Congratulations Class of 2016 on your Graduation.
To the proud families of the graduates, congratulations to you as well.  I am sure that this is a very rewarding moment for you. And to the teachers who have spent countless hours working with the graduates to help make this moment possible, congratulations.

Today is your day and I am sure that you cannot wait to receive your diplomas and start the real celebration. You have earned it. As part of the process to present you with your diplomas I shall, thanks to the invitation from your Principal Mr. Klassen, share some brief words with you about the significance of this moment.

To start let me take you back to your transition from primary to high school. Did you have a say in which high school you would attend? I do not believe you did. In my case, my parents worked everything out and off I went to high school, care free without a worry in the world. Upon completing high school - like you are today – the role of my parents was different. It was crystal clear that my parents expected me to continue my education and that they would support me in every which way. But what was also clear was that I was to take more responsibility for myself. The time had come to spread my wings and fly. While my parents had their wishes about what I should do, I had to decide what I wanted to study and where I wanted to study. Decisions that would help determine how high and how far I would fly in the following years.
It is my understanding that most of you have decided to further your education at colleges and universities overseas and that some will start working and continue to learn on the job.  This decision, this act, is your first step in spreading your wings for the future, your future. And I can imagine that you are excited to take on this responsibility and decide your own future.
As you take the next step in your lives I advise and encourage you to channel your excitement into a commitment to excel in whatever you choose to do, be it to continue studying or to start working. I strongly suggest this because a commitment to excellence is a recipe for success in life. Delivering excellence will set you apart and to do so you will have to be prepared for and committed to the task at hand; be it your new job or your new study.

As I said there is no better way to spread your wings for the future than through a good education. I say that base on personal experience. I say this because a good education provides the necessary connection between your today and your brighter tomorrow. As you spread your wings and fly off, you will see that tomorrow holds no guarantees for success, but rather challenges which you will have to overcome and opportunities which you will have to seize.

Tomorrow is an unwritten novel, your unwritten novel in which you are the main character. Whether your character will be the inspiration for a bestseller or not depends on the choices you make each day to write and fill the pages of your novel. When I completed high school, I opened my wings flew off and wrote the first pages of my novel, outlining my challenges, accomplishments and successes at university. I filled my pages base on the academic skills I had acquired from my high school, and based on the lessons from my mom that I could do anything and be anything if I was willing to and worked for it. And this no matter what the circumstances. This is important to remember given that I developed my main character, myself, in my novel in a significantly different world than the one we live in today.
The things that dominate our social and professional lives today did not exist when I graduated from high school and went off to university. To illustrate, the first pages of my novel, my university years, were written with handwritten notes and a typewriter. You on the other hand will write your first pages with Facebook, with e-mails, with WhatsApp, with Instagram or Snapchat on your Smartphones, your laptops or your IPads, in the cloud. That is just one example of how drastically times have changed. And considering the speed of change these days, we have no guarantee that the technology I just mentioned will not be outdated by the time you finish college or university or get your first promotion on the job.

What I am positive about is that your commitment to education, to lifelong learning, to excellence, will strengthen your wings as you fly through life and help you to soar above the changes and challenges you will face in the years ahead; and in doing so position you as the successful leading character in your bestselling novel. 

As you celebrate your graduation today, your dream fulfilled and stand on the verge of spreading you wings to shape your tomorrow, I advise you to reflect on what this moment means for you and for all those, your parents, family, teachers and friends, who supported you during your period at CIA. In that reflection, I suggest you project forward, and always remember the words of Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

Thus in closing I shall leave you with the following words. Your graduation today, is an expression of your potential to handle the changes and challenges you will face. It is an indication of you capacity to be the star in in the story of your bestselling novel. I therefore urge you to use your fulfilled CIA dream, today’s graduation, as an inspiration to propel you forward as you spread you wings.   
Graduates congratulations and I wish you much success as you spread your wings to write your successful life stories.
Thank You!