Painting the metaphor of NorthGate College as a great, ancient Samaan tree, Ms. Yolande La Pierre, Director of the College, triggered images of stability in times in which many find values are unpredictable and the way forward difficult to discern. This was her charging statement to the graduating class of 2017:
“When I see this tree, I think of it as a picture of NorthGate College—a sense of grace and beauty on the outside, undergirded by a complex structure of strength and support from beneath.”
Speaking to a roomful of parents and students, Yolande La Pierre, Director of NorthGate College, said it was the institution’s “root system” that allows it to produce values-based young leaders who will face the challenges of the future. She was delivering the Director’s Report at the College’s Graduation and Awards Ceremony, held on June 24 at the Central Bank Auditorium in Port of Spain. “You, graduands, are the fruit of this tree. Ensure that as you leave here, your roots run deep, that you are firmly planted in the values you have been taught and you will not wither. Whatever you do, you will prosper,” she said.
Fifty-nine graduates from Forms 5 and 6 crossed the stage on the evening. Among them were Valedictorians Kai Fairman and Nathan Laveau, who received the school’s most esteemed prizes. Laveau, the Head Boy, captured the Chairman’s Award, for the male graduate who demonstrates the highest degree of integrity and character, while Fairman copped the NorthGate College Award, for the female graduate who consistently exemplifies the vision and mission of the school.
“Our external achievement is just the surface of our internal identity,” Laveau said in a jointly delivered Valedictory address. “But who we are—our diligence, sacrifice, accountability—is hidden beneath the surface,” Fairman chimed in.
Fittingly, the evening celebrated both external achievement and internal character. Zachary Joel was recognised for securing the lion’s share of the Form 5 academic awards, while 5 graduates Rene Best and Daniel Li were honoured with the Cecile Taylor Community Enhancement Award. Created in honour of the College’s first director, this coveted prize is reserved for students who perform exceptional service and contribute to the preservation of the NorthGate culture.
The school’s inaugural Digital Chronicles Award was copped by Justin Edwards, one of the top ten students in CXC Cape Digital Merit List. He received the trophy from Ronald Hinds, CEO of software development firm Teleios Systems, and current president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Delivering the keynote on the evening, Hinds encouraged Edwards’ fellow graduates to walk worthy of the education that had been invested into them.
Co-chairman of the College, Dr Marlon Jameson, said the school’s mission was to prepare its graduates, not just to pass exams, but to navigate the complex challenges of our time.
“With so much uncertainty in the current global climate, we’re constantly reminded of the great responsibility entrusted to educators across the globe. At NorthGate, we’ve always taken that challenge seriously, which is why we focus on academic achievement but never at the expense of ethical development. Our commitment is to produce the kind of leaders that our world needs,” he said.