Graduation Ceremony 2019: NorthGate College Celebrates the Power of the Journey

Yolande La Pierre, NorthGate College Director, addresses the audience at the Graduation and Awards Ceremony, Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, Thursday June 20th, 2019. PHOTO: RELATE STUDIOS

Seventy-two newly minted graduates of NorthGate College crossed the stage at the Graduation and Awards Ceremony at Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, successfully completing their secondary school journey with a flourish.

NorthGate College is an initiative of international faith-based non-profit organisation Congress WBN.  Founded in 1999 by Dr. Noel Woodroffe, it has since inspired other independent NorthGate schools in Jamaica, Kenya, Uganda, USA and Zambia.

“There is something incredibly life-affirming and faith-building when you get to witness a hope, a dream, a vision, built from the ground up, become a manifest reality and reach a place of maturity. This is what we see when we look at NorthGate College, an example of journey that began accurately and remains strong today,” said Director Yolande La Pierre.  

Dr. Kirt St. Bernard, Marshall of the Parliament, delivers the keynote at NorthGate College Graduation and Awards Ceremony, Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, on Thursday 20th June 2019. PHOTO: RELATE STUDIOS

Dr. Kirt St. Bernard, Marshall of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, delivered the keynote, emphasizing that making correct choices based upon values learnt is the only pathway to success.

“Consider and envision your desired future. Draw a line into the future and hold the line,” he said.

Dr. Marlon Jameson, Co-Chairman of NorthGate College, explained that the school’s consistent track record of academic success was also built on the foundation of consistent adherence to its original vision.

“Our students have consistently obtained close to 100 per cent pass rates in CSEC and CAPE examinations, and have achieved national honours in debate, sports and music. But since its inception, the College has always placed a strong emphasis on full human development. The NorthGate College process goes beyond the usual academic material to include issues of manhood, womanhood and successful management of life in an age of globalisation.”

In 2018, eight merit list honours from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) went to six NorthGate College students, for their performance at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) school-leaving tests. The merit list identifies the top ten students in the entire Caribbean in each subject offered at the CSEC and CAPE level. 

In terms of academic success, 2019 has been no exeception. CSEC students achieved 95% to 100% pass rate in a range of core subjects, which far exceeds the national average. CAPE students achieved 100% pass rate in all 17 subjects.   

The school’s holistic approach, with its emphasis on core character, academic excellence and extra-curricular activites, was on display throughout the year. The swim team copped first place in the co-ed category of the National Secondary Schools Aquatic Meet, while Lower Sixth student Charissa Payne won first place in the Integrity Commission’s national poster competition.

Left to right, Award winners Ethan Wilson, Amaris John, Daniel Li, Christina Foster, and Zachary Joel at NorthGate College Graduation and Awards Ceremony, Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, on Thursday 20th June 2019. PHOTO: RELATE STUDIOS

Head boy Ethan Wilson and head girl Christina Foster participated in the biennial Youth Parliamentary Debate. On graduation night, Wilson captured the Chairman’s Award for his high degree of integrity and character, while Foster received the NorthGate College Award for her consistent exemplification of the vision and mission of the school. 

Zachary Joel, an upper school graduate, garnered the Business Award for his exceptional application in business studies, and also topped his class academically.

Fifth form graduate Amaris John made the most of her year, placing fourth in the National Gas Company’s Essay Writing Competition, winning third place in the Children Authority Art and Video Competition, copping the school’s Digital Chronicles Award for her spearheading efforts in digitally documenting school life, and winning the lion’s share of the academic prizes in her class.

The school’s Founding Director was on hand to present the Cecile Taylor Community Enhancement Award to sixth form student Daniel Li. But it was the current Director whose comment may have summed up the evening best, when she noted that every success earned by NorthGate College and its students came as a result of diligent application of effort and consistent adherence to principled choices.

Director Yolande La Pierre addresses parents and graduates at Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, on Thursday 20th June 2019.

“The journey that began as just one step in faith has become a track record of diligence, commitment and the faithfulness of God,” La Pierre said. “The future is filled with hope and the assurance that once we remain inside of this context God will continue to be with us and to make the forward journey even more beautiful.”

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