Dr. Cherese Godwin articulated with perfection a message that spoke to the heart of the theme: Deepening the Conversation…the Sky is the Limit at the 31st Academic Excellence Recognition Awards Ceremony, jointly sponsored by FLOW and the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
Read her stellar speech below
Good night esteemed guest.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak before such amazing and outstanding academic achievers and those who assisted them in their development. I want you all to look to those on your left and right and tell one another job well done.
It is not easy, as you know, to stand out academically. One never truly knows how much hard work goes into challenging yourself and working hard. For some it may come easy, yet sustaining the growth of knowledge over time and being able to show the practice of all the theory you have learned is what exemplifies greatness …. And with that stated,
I challenge you to not only continue to work hard, but to work smart as knowledge means nothing if you do not use it wisely and you do not use it to gain. It is one thing to hold knowledge and be able to display your level of content by test scores, yet it is another to take that knowledge and become innovators and change agents in your societies; to not settle for the status quo, but to go out and make a difference. Make a difference by smashing glass ceilings and breaking limits, to hold high positions at a youthful age, to change policies and mindsets, and to build the infrastructure of people, organisations, and countries and if it does not exist, I challenge you to create it.
The world is yours for the taking, and you have proven that by sitting in this room today. (Give yourself a round of applause).
The time is now, the time is now to start strategically planning how you will conquer the world provided to you, to start doing, to start beginning with the end in mind, to start learning and unlearning, to start figuring out life as you know it, but to also know you will never figure it out all at once, as life is a journey and destinations are stopping marks along the way. See, I believe each of you can attest to that because today marks a destination of celebrating your achievements, yet discipline, homework, studying, was all about the journey that got you to your destination- that is what people rarely see. As humans, we strive and challenge ourselves, yet once we reach a goal, we often seldom stay there and rest for long, as new goals emerge and we therefore grow and develop.
Today, you celebrate Academic Excellence. Today is a day that marks what you have done thus far, the long hours of studying, the sleepless nights, the sacrifices, yet moving forward I am sure you may be asking yourself what’s next, or now that I have achieved this award, where do I go from here, what challenge do I conquer, because you are a victor, you all are winners, but a winner knows that the achievement marks a milestone, but to sustain it, you must continue to push yourself to levels of higher heights.
There’s a word called epistemology or the phrase the epistemological perspective. This means to truly know and to understand who is the knower and how did knower get to know, simply it is the study of knowledge. This derives from a full break down of the content of words and theory. Investigating history and the true facts. How we came to believe what we know is true and if there are gaps and inconsistencies, we research and find ways to provide new knowledge. That is where you come in, where you deepen the conversation. Where you provide depth to what is before you or you create it. This is no task for just a philosopher, but for a future banker, politician, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, teacher, the list goes on.
The world is constantly changing and we are faced with new challenges daily, yet we also have opportunities to fix these challenges and to also create the things we wished existed, or build on what we already know. I want you to think of your contribution to the world, not just the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. I want you to think globally and act locally, to travel in person and or on the internet and explore what is out there for the taking, to explore new concepts, theories, developments, the ease of doing business, and what persons are doing your age to make the world a better place and also themselves. As you think of your contribution, know that I am providing you a big task, not to scare you, or make you think can someone like me do what is being ask of me. I am asking you to do this task because I know that everyone in this room are the individuals to achieve whatever they put their minds to and even greater if done collectively as you can attest by the number of people here. You are LIMITLESS! Please repeat after me, I AM LIMITLESS! WHATEVER I PUT MY MIND TO, I CAN ACHIEVE AND THEREFORE, I AM EXCELLENCE!
Do not just say these words, but believe them, act on them! See, I know that a dream becomes reality when you put some action behind it and when you actually believe that it is already done, and that all you have to do is go through the motions and go through the process. Belief is what drives innovation and what drives creativity, what drives a person to actually do what they set out to.
When I was in the process of completing my PhD, so many people told me they couldn’t do what I am doing, or GOSH, how much longer do you have, how long has it been? There were few positive conversations in regard to my actual process. I never looked at how long it would take me, nor did I look at the process as anything negative. I knew that I had a job to do and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to stop me. I knew that if I believed in myself enough and if I believed in the process enough, I wouldn’t allow myself to not be determined. I would say, my PhD is already completed, I just have to finish the classes. What I spoke to myself, I believed. See how you speak to yourself is everything. If you tell yourself you can do it, you can, but if you tell yourself you can’t do it, then you won’t. There will always be naysayers, people who want to knock you for doing well or make you feel guilty for their position in life if its less than yours, but you have to be strong enough to endure and stay on the journey through the process of greatness.
So I challenge you to stay focused, to tune out the noise of others, think about how you will conquer the world, and begin with the end in mind, begin with knowing what your end goal is, and do not become discouraged if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s all a part of the journey, but I challenge you to start, to know that you are limitless, and to make this world a better place, not just by deepening the conversation, but also by creating solutions that derive from the conversation. I therefore challenge you to find your contribution and start now.
I am proud of you, I am so happy for you, and congratulations! This is just the beginning!