Chief Public Defender tells Tranquility Secondary graduates: Visualise the kind of person you want to be

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PROUD MOMENT: Hailey Hercules receives her school-leaving certificate during the Tranquility Secondary School graduation ceremony at the Church of the Assumption, Long Circular Road, Maraval on Thursday. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB – ROGER JACOB

GRADUATING students of Tranquility Secondary School have been challenged to envision what they want to be, career-wise and as individuals once they have left “the comforts” of the school system.

The challenge came from Chief Public Defender Hasine Shaikh who delivered the feature address at the graduation ceremony for form fives and upper sixth form students at the Church of the Assumption, Maraval on Thursday. Principal Ann-Margaret Robinson also brought greetings.

Shaikh revealed that at one point in time she never envisaged taking on the role as Chief Public Defender, and in fact, when she was preparing for her CSEC exams, she did not have a clue as to her career path. She said being a good listener shaped her choice to pursue her chosen career. “If it’s one thing I have learnt is that when you have an opportunity to see what others have done, how they shaped their lives, why they are where they are, you take that chance and learn from them.”

Shaikh told the graduates it was fine if they did not know what their career path is at present. Saying that as a form six student, she did not know exactly where she wanted to go or that she would end up being an attorney, “what I wanted to do was make sure whatever I was doing will help me make a little money, help me achieve the things I wanted to achieve, but most importantly, I wanted a life of focus. That is why I am where I am today.”

Shaikh assured the graduates that they have many choices once they leave the “comfort of secondary school” but they must find a career that gives them purpose.

Pointing to past students of the school such as sporting stars: sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye, football player and coach Russell Latapy and cricketer Dwayne Bravo, she said the theme of the graduation ceremony – Unstoppable, was quite apt.

“That’s a big thing! We have people out there changing the way things are done and what do we envision? What are they about? What are the ethos that they put forward? That they’re unstoppable! That nothing is going to challenge them, stop them in their tracks or stop them from achieving.” Shaikh challenged the graduates to envision who they want to be, what they want to achieve and to have the confidence to go out and become that person. She cautioned however, that there would be many challenges on their journey.

“But every single day, if something goes wrong, view it as a stepping stone to get to something even greater.”

She advised that not everyone will agree with them, have their same vision, mindset or values. “And this is quite fine.”

Robinson advised the students to reflect on their time at the school and develop behaviour patterns that would be consistent with achieving their goals.

Her final piece of advice was: “With all that has been said, remember to forgive yourselves and forgive others too, because the one thing that is certain in life is its uncertainty.”