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Berkeley celebrates success of students

Outstanding individuals: 135 students took part in the Berkeley Graduation Ceremony yesterday and were joined by alumnus Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier and minister for education (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Pupils from the Berkeley Institute were honoured for their academic achievements at their graduation ceremony yesterday.

Keisha Douglas, the principal of the public high school, said this year’s graduation class was made up of 135 “outstanding students”.

She added that the pupils had proven “that when you keep the end in view, you can achieve anything”.

Ms Douglas told the Class of 2019: “Students, this morning we celebrate you.”

She said that 38 pupils from the class would attend “top colleges and universities in the UK, the US and Canada”.

Ms Douglas added that 57 pupils would be headed to Bermuda College, while nine would move on to full-time jobs.

She quoted Brazilian football legend Pelé, who said that “success is no accident”.

Ms Douglas added: “It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and, most of all, love of what you are doing.”

She thanked parents, guardians, teachers and staff for their work to encourage pupil success.

Jordyn Richardson, the valedictorian, told the crowd that it was a “privilege and honour” to speak to them.

She said that she and her fellow pupils now looked forward “to writing the next chapters of our lives”.

Jordyn added: “As we now go our separate ways, remember the friendships that you created here at Berkeley and treasure them and continue to nurture them for all your years to come.”

She encouraged her schoolmates to “never give up”.

Jordyn said: “These four years have not been easy. We have had ups and downs, failures and successes. We had to persevere.

“Moving forward, life will continue to throw all sorts of things at us. But as long as we never give up, we are already three steps ahead of the game.”

Artist Gherdai Hassell, the guest speaker at the ceremony, told pupils they were the stars of the day.

She said: “Today is your day — a glorious day to celebrate all of your accomplishments.

“Your commitment to your studies, your efforts to complete community service, while balancing your extracurricular activities and social lives, have not gone unnoticed.

“You have overcome hardships and obstacles. You have come together as a group and leaned on one another.”

Ms Hassell, a member of the class of 2009, told pupils that ten years ago she had sat in the same place as them.

She said: “Life is interesting, and it comes around full circle.

“To be here today with you is a true honour.”

Ms Hassell told the ceremony about her decision to abandoned a law degree to pursue her love of art.

She added: “If no one has told you, I will be the first to tell you. You are absolutely incredible.

“The things that you want are within your reach. You can have, be or do anything you want.”

Ms Hassell added: “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. So ask.”