Graduating students at CedarBridge Academy should avoid making excuses and “dare to lead” as they enter a new normal during the pandemic.
This was the charge from Kenneth Caesar, acting principal for the school, during the virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020.
“Rather than sit at home and be sad that you may not be able to go away and attend college in August or may have a challenge finding a job, you need to position yourself to lead.
“It starts with you. No one wants to hear any excuses that you can’t do something or you do not have the support.
“CedarBridge Academy has provided you with a holistic experience, one in which you have gained the knowledge in order to navigate through life.”
Mr Caesar added: “Now is your time to be who you want to be, to explore, to continue to learn and to lead.”
Mr Caesar outlined to the 116 graduates some of the opportunities that exist during what is an adverse time for many people.
“If you are not going away to college, go to Bermuda College or take classes online.
“If you cannot get a job, take a course on how to develop a business and become an entrepreneur.”
Mr Caesar added: “Find ways to volunteer in the community so that you can network and people can know who you are.
“Make sure your life matters by leading in your profession, leading in your social setting, leading in your church, leading in your family.
“Endeavour to make your mark and lead.”
Numerous staff members and students gave speeches online in the absence of an in-person ceremony this year owing to Covid-19.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, and Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, were among the dignitaries to offer celebratory messages to the graduating students.
Mr Rabain said: “Be proud of what you have accomplished. Graduation is the closing of one door and the opening of another.
“Because of Covid-19, your graduation may not look or feel what you have worked towards. However, your accomplishment is one that you should be proud of.
“Be strategic with your plans. Be prepared for your plans to change. Be prepared for your plans to not always work out the first time.
“Be prepared for life happening. Persevere because life goes on and you don’t want to be left behind.”
Denise Weekes-Burke, S4 Year Head, said: “No one anticipated a global pandemic of this proportion and one that would halt everything you looked forward to in your final year.
“And yet, you persisted. Life is like this. You will encounter obstacles on the way. Embrace them but be compelled to overcome them.”
Ms Weekes-Burke added: “You cannot apply all that you have learnt while here at CedarBridge Academy. As you journey through life, you may face uncertainty. Be resilient and know that there is always hope. Be fearless, be unique and know that you were built to be part of the solution and not the problem.
“As you entered this school to learn, now you must exit to serve. Do so with grace, thoughtfulness and compassion. Always remember students that you are brilliant. Outstanding and excellent.”