Categorized | Education, Featured, Local, News, Regional, Youth

MSS 2019 Graduation

Celebrating at the end of the graduation song, ‘I believe’

by Bennette Roach

It has been that time of year when between June and August schools in Montserrat from kindergarten, child care, nursery schools, through the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS), to of course include the primary schools go through the process of graduation ceremonies.

This year as almost usual setting the tone for the ceremonies, holding theirs on Wednesday July 3, 2019 at their usual venue for some many years now at the Cultural Centre Little Bay. Sixty form five students marked the end of their secondary school journey at the annual Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) graduation ceremony at Montserrat Cultural Centre, under the theme “Dream, believe, achieve!”

The ceremony began with a March Past taken by Miss Peteesha Moodie, singing of the territorial song, by student Aleysia Gerald. Besides the presentation of awards which for sixty students each receiving a prize of one kind or another, along with those special awards, some of them several, there were the other main events of the Principal’s report by principal Mrs. Cherlyn Hogan, a feature address by Miss Jasmine Jno-Baptiste, the valedictorian address and also the vote of thanks.

Featured in the procession schoolband
Jasmine JnoBaptiste
Pastor Toney Allen

00For all of just about three hours, these were all punctuated with the beginning opening prayer by Pastor Toney Allen; entertainment by the DDS Dancers; music by the MSS music students (who supplied music throughout as required, as well as the music for the procession of the graduates); introduction by student Ketura Daley, of the chairperson Miss Jno-Baptiste and her opening remarks. Miss Jno-Baptiste would later introduce the keynote speaker Miss Linda Dias.

Science Teacher signled out by students for award

Throughout this volcanic crisis the MSS has been the feature of crises from student issues, behaviour and otherwise, staff issues, site issues, buildings-classrooms, location issues, shortage or the absence and unavailability of just about anything Imaginative. It is therefore with much interest and anticipation and even skepticism that we listened to the principal’s report to be sometimes surprised at the accomplishments or lack thereof of students and the school overall.

Even with the knowledge that one is likely seldom to hear of much good performances, it was surprising this year to listen to the principal reporting, “I am pleased to report that the majority of the students at the MSS conduct themselves in an acceptable manner.”

But this must have been worrying enough, as she continued. “This year a small number of students displayed very worrying behaviours.  I refer in particular to a group of five 5th form boys, whose unacceptable conduct included defiance, disrespect, repeated use of indecent language, loud playing of music containing poor lyrics and this even during class time.

“We particularly deplore disruption of classes and exams, skipping of classes, threatening behaviour and any assault on teachers and students,” some of which would have leaked out from the school along with the feedback or backlash towards the principal whose reactions are not generally welcomed by parents and guardians and some members of the public.

The principal had said she would, “focus mainly on the academic performance and skill sets of our students.”

She introduced: “This 2018- 2019 academic year presented a number of significant challenges which affected the very core of the institution as it significantly impacted the teaching learning environment, and the well-being of both students and teachers.”

She referred to the loss of blocks L and M which housed six classroom spaces, two Science Laboratories and a Clothing and Textiles room which were deemed to be unsafe and had to be evacuated with immediate effect. This came the second day into the school year and “all but extinguished the very high spirits exhibited by both staff and students on the first day of school in this the 80th Anniversary of the Montserrat Secondary School “

The student population opened with159 boys and 146 girls, and closed

163 boys and 157 girls with an overall attendance is recorded as 96%.

The students wrote a total of 352 subject entries in the 2018 CSEC Examinations at General and Technical Proficiency Levels, obtaining  Grades I – III passes were obtained in 261 subject entries yielding a pass rate of 74.1% slightly down from the 75.8% average obtained in 2017.

She reported the top performers for these exams being Katrice Fenton who achieved passes in 10 of 10 subject areas (100%); and Shekanah Irish achieved passes in 9 of 9 subject areas (100%).

The result: a 2% decline in the performance of students in English A and a 4% decline in Math over that recorded for 2017.

In the Skill Sets, technical areas of Industrial Technology Building and Electrical; Technical Drawing as well as in PE with Sports; and Agriculture, the students gained 100% passes. The same in exams at the Caribbean Certificate for Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) level. 

“Our results reveal that Math and Spanish gained a 100% pass rate.  Social Studies achieved a 94% pass rate with 31% of the passes at the Mastery level; while English achieved a pass rate of 71%.”

For the end of year exams Mrs. Hogan reports that the results reveal that the girls continue to generally out-perform the boys.  71.8 % of the top places were taken by the girls.  Additionally, for the first- and second-year cohorts, the average grades for boys was a C, while the girls were at B-minus (B-).”

Read the full report here: www.themontserratreporter.com

Chief Architect with the Government of Montserrat and founder of the Bodio App, Linda Dias gave the keynote address where she told the graduands “don’t be restricted by your academics, your abilities, nor of your social status.”

Linda Dias receives her token

She began by giving some of her own experiences not knowing what she wanted to do for herself at the beginning. “if you’re unsure about life and your future right now, that’s ok.  Life will expose you to a number of experiences – some good, some bad, some memorable – and even a few that you’d probably not want to tell your children later on in life,” she said. “The more you’re exposed to in life, is the more your interests will change.” 

Then searching for inspirational things to say, she told them:

Embrace new experiences, and don’t be restricted to the coastline of the emerald isle.  There is a world out there beyond the shores of Montserrat; a world that YOU can contribute to and improve.

Then, for just under an hour a steady procession of students, some of them more than once and some especially the valedictorian Nikeisha Scotland several times, received certificates from Principal Hogan, and prizes from Winston Scotland, Nikeisha’s dad. From a list of almost one hundred sponsors, students received prizes and special awards for a variety of achievements. They were for each subject, diligence, most outstanding, top student, top male, top female, most dedicated, leadership, the Four-Way test (a Rotary Award); exemplary conduct, best cadet and more.

The special thanks list provided the names of individuals, businesses, well wishers, parents, and more. It was long.

And then it was time for Nikeisha who made many trips sometimes receiving two prizes at once, to make what some observers considered a ‘somewhat’ remarkable valedictorian address, smiling all the way as she did throughout.

That was after entertainment by the school singers, who were preceded earlier by Tamara Agard, a support staffer, who sang a song of encouragement to the students.

Nikeisha’s address seemed brief, even though punctuated by applause especially from the students. Her address even seemed casual, while her smile did not diminish when she made striking remarks which left us with a sense that there will be graduates who will make many parents and be it teachers next, lecturers, or employers, proud to have known them.

After thanking Almighty God and making special mention of some teachers, she continued, surprising with a contrast to the principal’s report which gave the sense in part that conditions and circumstances at the MSS were less as appropriate than the information we received from time to time.

 “Persons keep telling me that they can’t believe five years have passed already, and quite frankly neither can I. When we started MSS none of us could imagine having to go through so much stress. We’ve faced many challenges from not having teachers to having teachers that weren’t cut out for the job. We’ve dealt with the lack of basic necessities like classrooms and even toilet paper in the bathrooms.

“And the fact that the administration seems to have a vendetta against our form. I mean, why is it that as soon as it’s our turn to graduate, final assembly is cancelled and we’re deprived of our chance to get our shirts signed by all our friends and teachers.

But immediately, and before you can get lost in the daze of the stun, she just as casually said: “Anyway, we’ve overcome all these hurdles, and I’m surprised we don’t have more grey hairs to show for it. Mind you, we weren’t saints eh! And our teachers probably have as many grey hairs as us.

Thankfully though there were also a lot of fun times to balance out the negative.”

Such wonderful words, she had for her fellow grandaunts, I hope someone will tell me when she is asked to give the feature address at a graduation exercise.

Read Nikeisha’s speech at www.themontserratreporter.com.

“…Continue to work hard and excel in whatever you do. I wish all of you good luck in the future and I hope we don’t lose track of each other.

Personally, I am no way near ready for adulthood yet and this whole ‘new chapter of our lives’ thing scares me. Mainly because I have no idea what it entails and I don’t exactly know what I want it to. For those who are unsure like me, I like to believe that God laughs when we make set plans, for he’s the only one that knows how our future is going to go. So, for now, we can listen to TD Jakes, and he said ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion for your passion will lead right to your purpose’.  And for those that already have it all planned out, don’t get too bent on having the perfect future, think about it, a roller coaster track with many twists and turns is a lot more exciting than a straight one.

“… remember all the memories we’ve had together even the stressful ones, so we have something to tell our grandchildren; don’t worry about the future too much because (1) ain’t nobody got hair dye money to colour back the grey hair dem and (2) it’s not entirely in our control. Just live in the present and make it awesome because trust me, life is too short to not live our best lives.”

Following her speech the class singers entertained with the graduation song ‘I believe’ There were the usual gifts and tokens to deserving persons, and the vote of thanks rendered by Miss Tiffany Weekes, she also having made many trips for prizes and awards.

See for pictures of the graduation ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/

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Celebrating at the end of the graduation song, ‘I believe’

by Bennette Roach

It has been that time of year when between June and August schools in Montserrat from kindergarten, child care, nursery schools, through the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS), to of course include the primary schools go through the process of graduation ceremonies.

This year as almost usual setting the tone for the ceremonies, holding theirs on Wednesday July 3, 2019 at their usual venue for some many years now at the Cultural Centre Little Bay. Sixty form five students marked the end of their secondary school journey at the annual Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) graduation ceremony at Montserrat Cultural Centre, under the theme “Dream, believe, achieve!”

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The ceremony began with a March Past taken by Miss Peteesha Moodie, singing of the territorial song, by student Aleysia Gerald. Besides the presentation of awards which for sixty students each receiving a prize of one kind or another, along with those special awards, some of them several, there were the other main events of the Principal’s report by principal Mrs. Cherlyn Hogan, a feature address by Miss Jasmine Jno-Baptiste, the valedictorian address and also the vote of thanks.

Featured in the procession schoolband
Jasmine JnoBaptiste
Pastor Toney Allen

00For all of just about three hours, these were all punctuated with the beginning opening prayer by Pastor Toney Allen; entertainment by the DDS Dancers; music by the MSS music students (who supplied music throughout as required, as well as the music for the procession of the graduates); introduction by student Ketura Daley, of the chairperson Miss Jno-Baptiste and her opening remarks. Miss Jno-Baptiste would later introduce the keynote speaker Miss Linda Dias.

Science Teacher signled out by students for award

Throughout this volcanic crisis the MSS has been the feature of crises from student issues, behaviour and otherwise, staff issues, site issues, buildings-classrooms, location issues, shortage or the absence and unavailability of just about anything Imaginative. It is therefore with much interest and anticipation and even skepticism that we listened to the principal’s report to be sometimes surprised at the accomplishments or lack thereof of students and the school overall.

Even with the knowledge that one is likely seldom to hear of much good performances, it was surprising this year to listen to the principal reporting, “I am pleased to report that the majority of the students at the MSS conduct themselves in an acceptable manner.”

But this must have been worrying enough, as she continued. “This year a small number of students displayed very worrying behaviours.  I refer in particular to a group of five 5th form boys, whose unacceptable conduct included defiance, disrespect, repeated use of indecent language, loud playing of music containing poor lyrics and this even during class time.

“We particularly deplore disruption of classes and exams, skipping of classes, threatening behaviour and any assault on teachers and students,” some of which would have leaked out from the school along with the feedback or backlash towards the principal whose reactions are not generally welcomed by parents and guardians and some members of the public.

The principal had said she would, “focus mainly on the academic performance and skill sets of our students.”

She introduced: “This 2018- 2019 academic year presented a number of significant challenges which affected the very core of the institution as it significantly impacted the teaching learning environment, and the well-being of both students and teachers.”

She referred to the loss of blocks L and M which housed six classroom spaces, two Science Laboratories and a Clothing and Textiles room which were deemed to be unsafe and had to be evacuated with immediate effect. This came the second day into the school year and “all but extinguished the very high spirits exhibited by both staff and students on the first day of school in this the 80th Anniversary of the Montserrat Secondary School “

The student population opened with159 boys and 146 girls, and closed

163 boys and 157 girls with an overall attendance is recorded as 96%.

The students wrote a total of 352 subject entries in the 2018 CSEC Examinations at General and Technical Proficiency Levels, obtaining  Grades I – III passes were obtained in 261 subject entries yielding a pass rate of 74.1% slightly down from the 75.8% average obtained in 2017.

She reported the top performers for these exams being Katrice Fenton who achieved passes in 10 of 10 subject areas (100%); and Shekanah Irish achieved passes in 9 of 9 subject areas (100%).

The result: a 2% decline in the performance of students in English A and a 4% decline in Math over that recorded for 2017.

In the Skill Sets, technical areas of Industrial Technology Building and Electrical; Technical Drawing as well as in PE with Sports; and Agriculture, the students gained 100% passes. The same in exams at the Caribbean Certificate for Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) level. 

“Our results reveal that Math and Spanish gained a 100% pass rate.  Social Studies achieved a 94% pass rate with 31% of the passes at the Mastery level; while English achieved a pass rate of 71%.”

For the end of year exams Mrs. Hogan reports that the results reveal that the girls continue to generally out-perform the boys.  71.8 % of the top places were taken by the girls.  Additionally, for the first- and second-year cohorts, the average grades for boys was a C, while the girls were at B-minus (B-).”

Read the full report here: www.themontserratreporter.com

Chief Architect with the Government of Montserrat and founder of the Bodio App, Linda Dias gave the keynote address where she told the graduands “don’t be restricted by your academics, your abilities, nor of your social status.”

Linda Dias receives her token

She began by giving some of her own experiences not knowing what she wanted to do for herself at the beginning. “if you’re unsure about life and your future right now, that’s ok.  Life will expose you to a number of experiences – some good, some bad, some memorable – and even a few that you’d probably not want to tell your children later on in life,” she said. “The more you’re exposed to in life, is the more your interests will change.” 

Then searching for inspirational things to say, she told them:

Embrace new experiences, and don’t be restricted to the coastline of the emerald isle.  There is a world out there beyond the shores of Montserrat; a world that YOU can contribute to and improve.

Then, for just under an hour a steady procession of students, some of them more than once and some especially the valedictorian Nikeisha Scotland several times, received certificates from Principal Hogan, and prizes from Winston Scotland, Nikeisha’s dad. From a list of almost one hundred sponsors, students received prizes and special awards for a variety of achievements. They were for each subject, diligence, most outstanding, top student, top male, top female, most dedicated, leadership, the Four-Way test (a Rotary Award); exemplary conduct, best cadet and more.

The special thanks list provided the names of individuals, businesses, well wishers, parents, and more. It was long.

And then it was time for Nikeisha who made many trips sometimes receiving two prizes at once, to make what some observers considered a ‘somewhat’ remarkable valedictorian address, smiling all the way as she did throughout.

That was after entertainment by the school singers, who were preceded earlier by Tamara Agard, a support staffer, who sang a song of encouragement to the students.

Nikeisha’s address seemed brief, even though punctuated by applause especially from the students. Her address even seemed casual, while her smile did not diminish when she made striking remarks which left us with a sense that there will be graduates who will make many parents and be it teachers next, lecturers, or employers, proud to have known them.

After thanking Almighty God and making special mention of some teachers, she continued, surprising with a contrast to the principal’s report which gave the sense in part that conditions and circumstances at the MSS were less as appropriate than the information we received from time to time.

 “Persons keep telling me that they can’t believe five years have passed already, and quite frankly neither can I. When we started MSS none of us could imagine having to go through so much stress. We’ve faced many challenges from not having teachers to having teachers that weren’t cut out for the job. We’ve dealt with the lack of basic necessities like classrooms and even toilet paper in the bathrooms.

“And the fact that the administration seems to have a vendetta against our form. I mean, why is it that as soon as it’s our turn to graduate, final assembly is cancelled and we’re deprived of our chance to get our shirts signed by all our friends and teachers.

But immediately, and before you can get lost in the daze of the stun, she just as casually said: “Anyway, we’ve overcome all these hurdles, and I’m surprised we don’t have more grey hairs to show for it. Mind you, we weren’t saints eh! And our teachers probably have as many grey hairs as us.

Thankfully though there were also a lot of fun times to balance out the negative.”

Such wonderful words, she had for her fellow grandaunts, I hope someone will tell me when she is asked to give the feature address at a graduation exercise.

Read Nikeisha’s speech at www.themontserratreporter.com.

“…Continue to work hard and excel in whatever you do. I wish all of you good luck in the future and I hope we don’t lose track of each other.

Personally, I am no way near ready for adulthood yet and this whole ‘new chapter of our lives’ thing scares me. Mainly because I have no idea what it entails and I don’t exactly know what I want it to. For those who are unsure like me, I like to believe that God laughs when we make set plans, for he’s the only one that knows how our future is going to go. So, for now, we can listen to TD Jakes, and he said ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion for your passion will lead right to your purpose’.  And for those that already have it all planned out, don’t get too bent on having the perfect future, think about it, a roller coaster track with many twists and turns is a lot more exciting than a straight one.

“… remember all the memories we’ve had together even the stressful ones, so we have something to tell our grandchildren; don’t worry about the future too much because (1) ain’t nobody got hair dye money to colour back the grey hair dem and (2) it’s not entirely in our control. Just live in the present and make it awesome because trust me, life is too short to not live our best lives.”

Following her speech the class singers entertained with the graduation song ‘I believe’ There were the usual gifts and tokens to deserving persons, and the vote of thanks rendered by Miss Tiffany Weekes, she also having made many trips for prizes and awards.

See for pictures of the graduation ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/