Remarks by
Jean Ricot Dormeus, OAS Representative,
At the Graduation Ceremony of
Winfer Gardens Primary School

July 17, 2019

Headteacher Mrs Deryn Moore Heyligar,
Teachers and parents,
Distinguished graduates,
Students all, in particular graduands,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am grateful for this opportunity to share in this celebration as we recognize the achievements of today’s distinguished graduates. It is a time for great joy, it is a time for dreaming big and planning, it is also a time for appreciation of efforts and dedication. This auspicious event is taking place today because of the hard work of teachers, students and parents. Congratulations to all of you.

I would like to salute Mrs Heyligar for the quality of leadership she has been providing to Winfer Gardens Primary School. The success of Winfer Primary goes beyond academics to embrace athletics and social skills building. For sure the school benefits from the contribution of an excellent cadre of teachers. Among these is my friend and a man passionate about mathematics, Kintindi Austin.

For you graduates, this ceremony means a pat on your back for a job well done. It also means that we have confidence in you to keep climbing the ladder of success until you complete your University degrees. Nothing should deviate you from this path.

Today, you have just completed a milestone in laying the foundation of a great life for yourself. You have cemented the bedrock to lifelong learning, increased knowledge and transformative wisdom. In so doing, you have not only held high the good name of Winfer Primary, but also you reflect nicely on the whole education system and your country.

I trust that the seeds of standard English, mathematics, science, technology, arts and humanities have fallen in your fertile minds. We are entitled to expecting growth and harvest that will transform Guyana, and even the world.

I am saying that, because in a way you are of the race of the giants, because Guyana is known to be the land of the giants. Giant birds such as the harpy eagle, giant regional felines such as the jaguar, giant reptiles such as the anaconda, giant waterfalls such as Kaieteur. Therefore, your vocation is to become giant civil servants, giant professionals, giant businesspeople, and giant statesmen and stateswomen. You have to honor your giant potential and the models nature has set for you. Especially now that Guyana is about to become a giant oil producer.

Now let me tell you and I trust you will listen carefully to this. The process of becoming a giant matters more than being a giant. What I mean is that the minute you take a step toward success, you are becoming a giant. The minute you lead a good lifestyle, you are becoming a giant. The minute you read a good book, you are becoming a giant. The minute you study and build skills, you are becoming a giant. The minute you set goals, the minute you love and serve your fellow men and women, the minute you do the right and the good, you are becoming a giant. The process of becoming a giant is a lifelong process.

You may wonder why this man who is the Representative of the Organization of the American States (OAS) takes so much interest in our success? Well, think again. The OAS stands for strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, upholding multidimensional security and pursuing integral development. In other words, the OAS brings together the States of the Americas to have a positive impact on the citizens of the Hemisphere for self actualization and self accomplishment.

Therefore, the OAS supports key sectors in Guyana such as education, public security, culture, the economy, in particular through support for micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSME), tourism, energy and justice.

As you can see, the OAS wants everyone in the Americas to get an education, because education is the highway to a successful life.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the United States and met with Charlie a young man of 34. Charlie spent over 10 years of his life doing practically nothing, just chilling and taking it easy. He holds an associate degree in business management. He had to depend on parents and friends to survive. At some point, he started reading all sorts of books. The more he read, the more his life was taking a different turn. Finally, he landed a $70,000 job helping a company to provide technology support to healthcare institutions. Reading did make a difference in Charlie’s life.

I also met Ewart, a friend of my family in Haiti. He retired 6 years ago after a successful career as a civil engineer in New York. The early years of Ewart were a struggle for survival. However, he took education seriously. With the skills he built, he got good jobs that allowed him to help the rest of his family. In the end, he migrated to America where he studied engineering. Following his graduation, he contributed to build or improve several airports in the United States. For his retirement, Ewart returned to his homeland where he is helping to build facilities for social and religious institutions.

My young friends, I tell you, education is the very best gift you can ever give yourself. With all your might, keep getting educated.

I hope that today’s graduation ceremony will ring a bell in your mind whenever you feel distracted from your studies. Let it ring a bell in your mind whenever peer pressure seeks to shake your resolve. Let it ring a bell in your mind whenever life circumstances seem to deviate your natural vocation of becoming a giant for your family and your country. If you keep the flame of education well lit, the sky will be your limit.

Engaging with you in this ceremony today has brought me much delight. Again I want to thank you for associating me with success in the making. Just like you, I believe I can become a giant success and together we will keep educating ourselves to bring hope and well-being to billions around the world and we will make our families, communities and countries proud.

Thank you and God bless you!

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