Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley (far right), Principal William Grazette and Gertrude Welch of the Ministry of Education listen??at the graduation ceremony. (G. Brewster/BGIS)??

Graduates of Milton Lynch Primary have been reminded that the emphasis should not be placed on which secondary schools they attend, but what they do with their time when they get there.

While addressing the school’s graduation at Christ Church Parish Church Centre today, Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, urged the boys to concentrate on the fact that every secondary school here "is well equipped and is staffed with highly qualified teachers".

Mr. Lashley stressed there were failures and successes at every school and said if the pupils intended to make a success of their time at school they would, regardless of where they were placed.

"There is a saying that ???the race is not for the swift, but for those who endure to the end’. Do not let the name of the school you will be attending, nor the uniform that you will be wearing define the kind of person you are, or what you will achieve while you are there.

"There are many highly successful Barbadian men and women, here at home and abroad, who went to all of the schools which you will be attending and they have all turned out successful," he boasted.

The theme of this year’s graduation was Pursuing Reputation, Embracing Character and the Minister encouraged the students to ensure they were known as honest, hardworking, humble, loving, kind and God-fearing individuals.

He urged the children not to "waste your time [at secondary school] or the millions of taxpayers’ dollars being spent annually to educate you". He said a worrying gender imbalance was being witnessed at the university level, where females vastly outnumbered boys, but noted, however, that young men were shifting from academics to highly technical areas. "I want you to go on to tertiary level. Each day the job market is becoming more difficult. There is no room for losing sight of your goal. When you complete secondary school, liming on the block is not the way for you," he advised his audience.

Parents were also told that they must talk with and listen to their children. Mr. Lashley continued: "I cannot impress upon you enough how important your role in your child’s life is. Life is so different now from what applied in earlier generations. The road ahead for your child will not be easy. Your continued love, support and encouragement are critical if your children are going to face the challenges with confidence and rise above them.

"Remember to pray for your children. Teach them those Christian values which have made us all strong and our country strong."

The Minister commended the teachers and ancillary staff for their commitment to the students, stating that their contribution to shaping the lives of the young citizens was often taken for granted.

Principal of the school, William Grazette, echoed similar sentiments to Mr. Lashley, saying the parents’ role was "awesome" and stressed that nothing should stop them from providing the moral, spiritual and academic support the children needed.

Mr. Grazette called on parents not to "cover up" their children’s failures or indiscretions and urged them not to be hasty in intervening in conflicts their children had with others.

A total of 87 boys from Milton Lynch Primary wrote this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination and 85 of them were awarded places at government secondary schools, while two were granted bursaries.


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