The Charlotte Amalie High School awarded diplomas to 192 students in its "Resilient, Invigorated, Successful and Esteemed (RISE) Class of 2018" at the school's 88nd Annual Commencement Ceremony held Sunday, June 24 in the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.
Family, friends, and well-wishers filled the gymnasium in support of the Mighty Chickenhawks who braved the challenges of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to graduate. The celebration was nothing short of joyous.
Principal Alcede Edwards began his remarks highlighting the successes of the senior class and school at-large, despite the shortcomings of split session schedules. He then motivated the class continue on their journey of success having resiliency as a key tool.
“Class of 2018, RISE and take your place as the best of the Chickenhawks alumni. You turned great adversity into an asset and can now overcome any challenge,” said Principal Edwards.
In her remarks, Salutatorian Carissa Moses praised her fellow classmates for a job well done. She also shared tips that helped her be successful during her matriculation in high school, to include seeking help when in need and setting tangible goals.
Valedictorian Sumaiyah Richardson commended her class for their strength this past school year. She professed her admiration of her fellow graduates who became activists and leaders following the hurricanes and further encouraged them to travel and experience life beyond the shores of St. Thomas. "It's one thing to learn something in a classroom, but it's another to go out and experience it." (See Sumaiyah’s Dad as his emotions turn from tearful to cheerful as he is overwhelmed by his daughter's achievement and address.)
Keynote speaker and class of 1993 alumna, Dr. Maria Melendez-Tirado congratulated the graduates and gave them a musical playlist to reference their new chapter in life. Tirado, the federal grants director for the Virgin Islands Department of Education encouraged the graduates to say hello to the new opportunities, allow God to work on them as they grow and mature and to own their lives and do what they are passionate about. She also urged them to take time out for a "big jam" and accept that everything is a part of God’s plan.
Tirado ended her address with encouraging words to her fellow CAHS alumni. “You can be whoever you want to be. Be true to yourself and your dreams and pursue that which make you happy and no matter where the road of life takes you will always be a member of one of the most prestigious organizations in the Virgin Islands: you will always be a Chickenhawk,” said Tirado.
The Charlotte Amalie High School Class of 2018 received millions in awards and scholarships. One hundred thirty-four graduates will attend colleges/universities; 17 will join the military; and 12 will enter the workforce, 14 are off to trade schools and 7 are currently undecided.