Nine students graduated in the 52nd Julius. E Sprauve School Promotional Exercise Ceremony on Wednesday. Family members, teachers, and administrative officials came together to celebrate the scholastic achievements of first and second honor students Walden Gil-Perez and Wadari Powell, along with their classmates Yaritza Mercedes, Kiandra Hendricks, Kwanye Jarvis, Yandell Martinez, Kayla Modeste, Melanie Rodriguez, and Je’Nique Sylvester. The keynote speaker for the event was Deitra Powell of the Sprauve School Class of 2003.
Principal Marion Lynch-Esannason made sure to mention the tenacity of the Class of 2018 in her opening remarks. The split session schedule imposed by the hurricanes in September meant that students only had four hours of instruction daily. She commended them for their commitment to learning with what little time they had, and encouraged them to continue working hard in the future.
“What is worth learning is worth working for. Invest in yourself,” said Esannason.
Following the opening remarks were speeches from the first and second honor students Gil-Perez and Powell, who gave speeches thanking their teachers and congratulating their classmates. In his speech, Powell expressed plans to graduate from Eudora Kean School as the valedictorian.
Powell’s accomplishments were later highlighted by some of his former teachers from the Guy Benjamin School. Lisa Penn presented a small gift to him in honor of his emotional and academic growth. They plan to pay all his freshman fees when he starts high school in the fall.
Powell and Gil-Perez received multiple gifts and certificates that afternoon. Presentations were given by Charlesworth McCarthy, Deputy Insular Superintendent of the St. Thomas/St. John District; Elroy Hill Deputy Director of Sports, Parks and Recreation; The Office of Senator Tregenza Roach, and the Perfect Ashlar Lodge #766.
Keynote speaker Deitra Powell left the students with words of encouragement as they set out for high school, “Please be aware of the challenges ahead of you. Being labelled as a St. Johnian can make you feel like an outsider, but always remember who you are. You are a J.E.S.S. seagull, and you will soar above it all”, said Powell.