June 23, 2004 – The cream of this year's scholastic crop gathered at Gertrude's Restaurant on Tuesday afternoon to collect accolades on their academic achievements.
Twenty-nine valedictorians and salutatorians from V.I. public, private and parochial high schools were honored in a ceremony dubbed "Good Beginnings Make Good Endings: A Celebration of Excellence."
Each scholar received a Hewlett Packard Compaq laptop computer. Each computer was in a case bearing the student's name, the seal of the Legislature and Senate President David Jones's name.
Jones, who organized the presentation, said it was important to him that scholars from all of the Virgin Islands be recognized. "They are all our children," he said. "This is one Virgin Islands."
The computers were donated by Alaback Enterprises, LLC, an Economic Development Commission beneficiary on St. Croix; the cases were provided by Corporate Services Group, LLP, also a St. Croix EDC beneficiary. The inscriptions were done courtesy of Billy Dee's Special Tee's silkscreening on St. Thomas. FirstBank and Shoreline Management Group donated the luncheon.
Dr. Kendall M. Griffith, a cardiologist at Juan F. Luis Hospital and a native Crucian, was one of the guest speakers. He used his own life as an example of overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. Reared in housing communities, educated in the public schools, a recipient of food stamps and other public assistance, and burdened with a speech impediment, he said he nonetheless always dreamed of becoming a doctor.
"You will achieve whatever you desire, as long as you work tirelessly," he told the recent high school graduates. "The road to success is not smooth. Don't let the bumps on the road impede your success."
Isle 95-FM morning show personality Derek Brown also spoke to the students. He read a poem he had written, urging them to be professional, to be true to themselves and not to let anything get in their way.
Following are the students who were honored and their schools. Valedictorians are listed first; salutatorians, second.
All Saints Cathedral School Kimberly Joseph and Keli Chongasing
Antilles School Emily Luscz and Rachael Gargano
Charlotte Amalie High School Lindelle Davis and Krystal Edmead
Country Day School Rebeckah Evans and Jamal Shillingford
Freewill Baptist School Sean Singh and Daniel Williams
Good Hope School Caitlin Boucher and Miles-Andre Lowman
Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Marilyn Callwood and Soyika Richardson
The Manor School Dawod Dawod (valedictorian only)
St. Croix Central High School Rennisha Wickham and Gavin Navarro
St. Croix Education Complex Cachet Williams and Javier Navarro
St. Joseph's High School – Miguel Valerio and Makalia Francis
Sts. Peter and Paul High School Jaime Stessens and Shelly Chinnery
Seventh-day Adventist School, St. Croix Verleen McSween and Louri Aaron
Seventh-day Adventist School, St. Thomas Keridon Williams and Kiechelle Williams
Wesleyan Academy Kharina John and Adrian Hamilton
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