The Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has implored graduands of St. Mary High School to seek to open their own businesses as well as opportunities in the agricultural sector, in spite of the challenges.

“Do not hesitate to start your own businesses. Do not hesitate to seek opportunities in the agricultural sector. This parish is well known for its record of agricultural production. Do not hesitate to seek other creative and uplifting approaches to utilize your potentials. You must be engaged in and adapt to a changing world, while not betraying the values that were instilled in you by your parents and teachers,” Sir Allen said.

He added that of the 39,000 students who graduate from Jamaican high schools between June and July each year, it was estimated that about 25,000 will have no employment and only 14,000 will go on to tertiary level education. However, he urged the youngsters not to be daunted that they might not find employment, but to seek alternative means of “gainfully occupying themselves.”

The Governor-General was speaking at the graduation ceremony of the St. Mary High School in Highgate, on Thursday (July 1). Approximately 172 Grade 11 students received certificates, having completed the school’s requirements for graduation.

Sir Patrick urged the graduands to become “life-long learners”, noting that what they have learnt during the five years at school will shortly become obsolete.

He called on the students to keep abreast and to be au fait with computer technology, noting that opportunities will be created through this field. He revealed that he had read an article on the Web, which had indicated that the top 10 jobs that are in demand today did not exist in 2004.

The Governor-General said he was also impressed with the academic and athletic performance of the school over the years.

“Such achievement does indeed take faith and courage on the part of not only the students but the teachers, and I commend you for the high standard and success,” he said.

Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen presented certificates to the graduates. Also attending the ceremony was Minister of State with responsibility of Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague.

Principal of St. Mary High School, Lieutenant Colonel Errol Johnson, in delivering the charge to the graduates, offered a few tips on how they could “balance their lives and raise their consciousness.”

“You are not to be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect, likewise this is true for all of us. Hence you must learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others. Life is too short to hold on to regrets, grudges, miscommunications or disappointments,” he said.