SAGHS’ Ladies of Change

Grad­u­ates of the St Au­gus­tine High School (SAGHS) are hop­ing they can live up to the ad­vice giv­en to them to­day at their grad­u­a­tion on Thurs­day.

Grad­u­ates Naila Badre-Ma­haraj and Amelia Kel­ly, who are cur­rent­ly first-year Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies med­ical sci­ences stu­dents at Mt Hope, said they in­tend to be agents of change in Trinidad and To­ba­go.In an in­ter­view af­ter the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny, Badree-Ma­haraj told the T&T Guardian, “I want to do a lot of vol­un­teer work. Med Sci al­ready is a very grat­i­fy­ing field, you know? So I’m re­al­ly ex­cit­ed and look­ing for­ward to those op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

She added: “It fills your heart, hon­est­ly, it is very grat­i­fy­ing. See­ing the dif­fer­ence you can make in some­one’s life, es­pe­cial­ly af­ter the flood. In Mt Hope we had a flood dri­ve…it’s been re­al­ly life-chang­ing to see how your small change, how it can im­pact these peo­ple’s lives.”

Kel­ly, who ini­tial­ly had dreams of be­com­ing a chef, has big­ger as­pi­ra­tions and now en­vis­ages her­self work­ing with the Unit­ed Na­tions and Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders af­ter she fin­ish­es med­ical school but al­so do­nates her en­er­gy to help­ing oth­ers.

“Even in med school there are all these clubs we take part in like Roter­act, Lead­er­ship Coun­cil – they all do a lot of vol­un­teer work.”

Gabrielle Bal­go­b­in, who is cur­rent­ly tak­ing a year off from study­ing to write the SAT ex­am­i­na­tion, mean­while hopes to get in­to the field of com­put­er sci­ence.

“I think that’s a fast grow­ing field and I want to go in­to cy­ber­se­cu­ri­ty and cryp­tocur­ren­cy.”

Asked what she in­tends to do af­ter ac­com­plish­ing this, she said, “Well I think Trinidad needs it so I’m hop­ing to come back here and open up my own firm, of­fer con­sul­tant ser­vices, es­pe­cial­ly to all the banks and gov­ern­ment sec­tors be­cause you see peo­ple like Sco­tia­bank al­ways get­ting hacked and I think cy­ber­se­cu­ri­ty is a field that peo­ple in Trinidad don’t re­al­ly ac­knowl­edge too much and we re­al­ly need to get with the times and the sys­tems.”

Sush­mi­ta Sam­sun­dar, who won five awards on the day, said she in­tends to get in­to bio-med­ical surgery or med­i­cine and hope­ful­ly do re­search in­to ge­net­ics with a fo­cus on can­cer and cell bi­ol­o­gy.Speak­ing to the stu­dents at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny, School Su­per­vi­sor III Joy Grif­fith told the young women, “If it’s one thing you re­mem­ber when you leave here this morn­ing, is each one of you has some­thing spe­cial to of­fer that will ben­e­fit Trinidad and To­ba­go.

“I am de­pend­ing on you girls to use what you have re­ceived at St Au­gus­tine Girls’ High School to solve some of the ills of our na­tion. You have what it takes to bring out the en­gi­neer­ing de­signs to al­le­vi­ate flood­ing…to do what it takes to en­sure every home gets a de­cent home liv­ing.”

Al­so speak­ing to the stu­dents was GDM Ltd. di­rec­tor Neisha Ghany, who gave the stu­dents the hope to ac­com­plish their goals. “In to­day’s world, you have to agree that much of the ‘glass ceil­ing’ has been shat­tered by those who have gone be­fore. So many of the fixed no­tions of ca­reer and suc­cess have been de­bunked that you are now freer than ever to choose your own way,” Ghany said.

“Make some qui­et time to search your mind and your heart and see what thoughts, be­liefs and per­spec­tives de­fine you cur­rent­ly. Choose the ones you want to keep and move past those that are hold­ing you back.”

- by Nishard Khan. Photo by Nicole Drayton.