Congratulations to one and all!
This is the time of the year when we celebrate the successes of all those persons, particularly our students of Caribbean ancestry, who have just completed their respective courses of study at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
A key aspect of our celebrations is our focus on using these successes to encourage and inspire those who are considering their options as well as those who are already pursuing their studies.
A second aspect of our celebrations is the importance of extending our congratulations and our gratitude to all those persons and institutions who contributed to those successes: the parents, the teachers, the mentors, and the other persons and organizations whose financial assistance and support services facilitated the journey of learning.
In the context of the first of those two aspects, I have chosen to highlight two success stories that can encourage and inspire persons of all ages to follow their own dream of academic success.
George “Knia” Singh has just graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, adding yet another victory to his impressive array of achievements in formal education and in community service. As a graduating student, he also won the Dean’s Gold Key Award for his outstanding contribution to the Law School.
I selected Knia’s case as being particularly worthy of mention because of the leadership roles he played in the Law School and in the wider GTA community while still excelling in his studies. He has always been deeply involved in Caribana, in human rights campaigns and in assisting vulnerable and marginalized persons.
From his example, we learn that it is possible and even highly desirable to lead a life of service to one’s community at the same time that one is engrossed in the arduous task of full-time studies.
The richness and fulfillment of such a double-barreled lifestyle is also the crowning achievement of Dr. Jamal Depradine, who at the ripe old age of 28 years is the pride and joy of the Undergraduate Medical Education Department of the University of Toronto.
Jamal kept building on his aspirations from his childhood in Scarborough, moved on to the Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and the Master’s degree in Management of Innovation, before peaking with the title of Doctor of Medicine (MD) which he earned a few weeks ago.
The U of T is so proud of his combination of academic excellence and ongoing service to the University and the public at large in numerous projects, that their website provides a feature article on him. The following quotations highlighted in that article speak volumes about his passion for serving others:
“I feel that the fundamental ethos of medicine is to identify suffering and vulnerable people, and to do the most I can to address their suffering and vulnerability.”
“I want to be a role model and motivate people to be socially impactful. I want to give back what was given to me.”
Once again, I join our Caribbean Community in congratulating all of this year’s graduates who have put in long months and years to realize their academic goals.
They serve to remind us of the critical importance of Education as the main pathway to fulfillment in life and to career success.
Most importantly, education is also the foundation for our ability to make a valuable contribution to the development of our community.