GARD Center – EU Graduation

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) and the European Union, under the project, Empowerment of Young Women of Antigua in their income generation (YWEP), held its first graduation ceremony on Thursday, 13 February, 2014, at the Ebenezer Methodist Church, St. Mary’s Street, St. John’s.

One hundred and three (103) graduates who successfully completed their course of study were celebrated during this ceremony.  These young ladies between the ages of 16 – 35 years, graduated from Agriculture; Business Enterprise (day and evening) courses; Information Communication Technology (ICT), – day and evening classes; Basic Cookery; Food & Beverage Service and Office Administration.

Nazeer Colbourne - Top Student-Feb2014The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Her Excellency, Dame Louise Lake-Tack, attended and assisted with the presentation of certificates to the Top Students.   (R: Ms. Nazeer Colbourne, Overall Top Student)
Jermyra Williams receiving cert from Judith Chastanet Soc Security-Feb14Mrs. Judith Chastanet, Manager, Customer Relations Department of the Antigua and Barbuda Social Security Board and Mr. Ashton Fearon, Technical Research Officer & Project Administrator, GATE, also distributed certificates to the students.  (Pictured Left: Jermyra Williams receiving certificate from Mrs. Chastanet)
Roberta Williams presents Mrs. Burke with recognition certificate-Feb2014Special Recognition was given by the GARD Center to CIBC/First Caribbean International Bank and Townhouse Mega Store for their continued support towards the Center’s Entrepreneurship programme.
The Ceremony was ably guided by the Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Lenora Murphy, and the Invocation given by Rev. Otto Wade, President of the Methodist Conference.
The Welcome was delivered by two of the Agriculture graduates, Ms. Princess Waszutu Mack and Ms. Waszara Mack.
Congratulatory Remarks were given to the graduates by Mrs. Karen Massiah, Customer Services Coordinator/Executive Assistant, Antigua Computer Technology Co. Ltd. and Mr. Jedidiah Maxime, Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture.  The Hon. Harold Lovell, Minister of Finance also offered congratulatory remarks and words of encouragement to the graduates.
Damara Phillips EU Grad Feb 2014The Feature Address was delivered by youthful, Ms. Damara Phillips, Entrepreneur, (Graphic Artist and Disc-Jockey), who shared her passion, experiences, hard work and commitment, ups and downs with the graduates and others in the packed sanctuary.  This young lady spoke of her successful infiltration into traditionally male-dominated fields and how she continues to strive for excellence.  (L-R: Her Excellency, Governor General, Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Ms. Damara Phillips, Entrepreneur and Hon. Harold Lovell).
Ms. Kareem Francis, Project Manager of the Young Women Empowerment Programme gave a full, passionate, and emotional project review.  The majority of the young ladies / now graduates whom she always referred to as her children/girls had done exceptionally well, which made her tremendously proud.  Her ‘girls’ responded to her presentation in the most fitting of ways, with spontaneous applause.
There was also a segment for entertainment, and Business Enterprise graduate, Mrs. Tovia Carey-Dowe and guest artiste, Ms. Lauralie Nathan, each performed breath-taking solos.  Remarks were also delivered on behalf of the graduating classes by two of the ICT graduates, Ms. Germaine Dublin and Ms. Patricia Francis.
Audience at EU Graduation-Feb2014

Portion of the Audience in Attendance at the Graduation Ceremony

Mrs. Roberta Williams delivered the Vote of Thanks.  She acknowledged those who assisted with all aspects of the project, and highlighted those business places which offered GARD Center’s students’ internships and employment.
The evening ceremony was closed in prayer by Rev. Janetta James, of the Antigua Methodist Circuit, and light refreshment was shared.
Photos courtesy New Media One.