Saint Peter Claver Primary School Graduation 2015

The Ombudsman of Belize Keynote Address
SPCS Graduating Class 2015
Father Francis Ring Parish Hall
Punta Gorda Town, 2:30 PM
June 25, 2015

Theme: “With Dedication and determination, we can become leaders of future generations”

Thank you so much Mr. Heraldo Baltazar, our able Master of Ceremony for this momentous occasion.

Good evening to the Government representatives in attendance starting with the District Education Manager Dr. Carmen Jane Lopez Avila, Mr. Floyd G. Lino the District Education Officer and the other members of the District Education Office who are here. My salutations also go to the Assistant Local Manager for Catholic Schools in the Toledo District Mr. Timothy Bo and other members of the Catholic Mission present, the Principal Mr. Telesforo Paquiul, VP Mrs. Vanessa Martinez Bochub, VP Mr. Heraldo Baltazar, lead teachers, teachers, parents, invited guests graduating students, ladies and gentlemen.

Theme: “With Dedication and determination, we can become leaders of future generations”

It gives me a great pleasure to have been invited by these graduating students, the Class of 2015, to come here to deliver the key note address for their commencement exercise. Thank you so much for the honour. I am really humbled, privileged and grateful for this opportunity. I see this occasion as a gathering of family members who are rejoicing with their future leaders for having reached a mile stone in their lives. This commencement exercise, as I see it, is an occasion for sharing and learning from one another.

I am also a product of this institution (Saint Peter Claver Primary School), a school more than 100 years old. I am really proud to be a former student of this primary school that has a strong legacy of knowledge and culture.

When I was asked if I could be the guest speaker of this class of 2015, the first thing that came to my mind was that this would not be about an official speech delivery rather a family reunion. My mother attended this school so did I, as well as my brothers, sisters and my children, so you will now realise why I feel passionately about this occasion.

I really want to have a one way discussion with you and I will need each and every one of you to pay active attention. I believe, “if we share we gain” and so I will share with you so that I can as well gain a lot from you. I was once a poor little boy from this same town of Punta Gorda. Despite growing up with little means, I did not seek pity from anyone rather I worked very hard at every step of my journey in life. I loved and still love to learn so I made sure I did well in school.

Family members, friends, teachers, and people that I did not really know helped me when I was like you. I was never angry but I remained calm and focused. I made it through primary school (1981) like you are presently doing; I entered high school one year later September 1982. After high school, I enrolled in sixth form despite my financial difficulties. Remember that I had told you that I love to learn and I worked hard; I still do up until now.

With the help of God I was employed as an Agriculture Extension Officer here in Toledo. This gave me an opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life. You see, The Almighty looked after me and I received a part scholarship to study for my Bachelor degree and I worked during the time I pursued my Master’s degrees in the United States of America. Upon my return from the states it was an uphill battle to get a job.

I eventually got a job as a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High School. It was from there that I was employed by the National Assembly of Belize to be the advocate for the voiceless. By the grace of God, I am the first Ombudsman from the South and this position offered me an opportunity to travel all over the districts of Belize, to countries in Central America; as well as other parts of the world. MY story can as well be your story.

Do not let poverty or anything stand in your way as you pursue your education. You are a very lucky generation of Belizeans. I was informed that you did very well on the PSE (65 out of 69 passes) and I believe that all of you will proceed to high school. There are a lot of programs in place at the high school level such as the tuition subsidy, feeding program and other forms of scholarships. In my days, there were few to none of such programs as this and I still did well through hard work and dedication. Please make use of the opportunities that are out there and become productive citizens of this great country of ours.

Seek first the knowledge of God and continue to pursue your education. Remember it is cool to be smart and the coolest thing ever is to be smart and walk with God. Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” Continue to seek knowledge through experience.

Remember that you become a lifelong learner if you continue to seek knowledge. Nobody ever graduated from the school of experience. Do not pretend to know everything, nobody does. Seek advice and useful knowledge for self-development. High School is not the highest place to seek knowledge so aim very high way beyond high school.

I need you to remember that: If you walk with God you will never lose, stay away from gang bangers, and respect yourself, your parents, teachers, and classmates. It gives me great joy to see all of you so neatly dressed for this memorable academic exercise. You look cool and smart. I will like all of you (students) to please stand up at the count of three (only the graduating students). Turn in the directions of your Principals and teachers and at the count of three say a big thank you. You may now be seated graduating students.

Thank you once again for this opportunity and I wish you the best in life, may the spirit of abundance seek an abode in each one of your soul. May God continue to watch over you and keep you in his infinite wisdom. You all are truly a blessing to behold.

ONCE AGAIN MY SINCEREST THANKS, Tanks, Seremein, Garcias, Toe hoe cre, Botik !!!!!!