Joy mixed with sadness at the San Fernando Central Secondary School graduation and award ceremony yesterday, as a posthumous award was given in memory of Yayu Zhu, ten months after she perished in a blaze.
Zhu's father Dongcong Zhu and mother JinmeiXu (Mary) were not present to collect the award during the function which took place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in San Fernando.
Zhu who died on September 25 last year, was fondly called Ami by her classmates and teachers. She was honoured with the Student of the Year award.
Deputy DPP Joan Honore-Paul who delivered the feature address commended the graduates for excelling despite constraints.
Saying the boundaries which existed during her school life in the 1970's were no longer present for the millennium generation, Honore-Paul urged the students to be wise as they posted and digested information.
She said the confidence of the youths today was admirable, adding that students should play to their strengths and strive to be the best that they can be in their chosen field.
"Back in my day when we did research, we had to go to Carnegie Free Library and the UWI library. The world was not at your fingertips. I wonder if you realize what a gift that is. Today any thought, inquiry or question can be answered immediately on any topic current events, politics, economics. There are no boundaries," she said.
However, she cautioned that with the overload of information, students must never lose the ability to think for themselves.
"Question everything around you. Accessibility to knowledge should not shut down your opinion, it should feed your opinion. Don't be afraid to disagree with what you hear," Honore-Paul said.
She said technology has even knocked down language barriers, adding that long ago people chose to become doctors, lawyers, and teachers whereas nowadays students can do just as well by becoming a successful you-tuber.
Principal Cindy Khan said while her school has achieved 90 per cent full certificates at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, the infrastructure at her school was in urgent need of upgrades.
She said cracks at the shifting Block F were widening daily and part of the playfield had to be cordoned off with caution tape as it was unsafe. She noted that the pre-fabricated structure at the front of the school was also falling apart and frustrated teachers had difficulties finding classrooms.
"As more CAPE subjects such as digital media and computer science are being introduced, we want to expand our syllabus but we are in need of increased staff, additional classrooms, and equipment," she said.
Also receiving an award was Uthmaan Thompson was given the Student Extraordinaire award along with the Vice Principal's award for outstanding contribution to school life. The most Outstanding student was Mark Rambaran and Best Overall Academic Performance award went to Meenakshi Saroop.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica De Silva)