Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell congratulates his son Sebastian Mitchell during his graduation. (Image courtesy San Fernando TML Primary School)
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Despite the hardships of the pandemic, 66 students of San Fernando TML Primary School graduated last Saturday in a virtual ceremony.

But they were thrilled to get the opportunity to visit their school for the last time as arrangements were made for them to personally pick up their graduation packages, trophies, tokens and take a photograph at their beloved school.

Retired principal at Naparima College, Dr Michael Dowlat, delivered the feature address at their graduation. He urged the students to set high standards and not let negative forces keep them away from attaining their goals.

“This is not about coming first, but achieving standards of excellence. You don’t have to know what your passion is right now. You will discover your passion as you get older. You will not always know what the future holds, but you have to move forward. You will have new subjects, learn new knowledge and skills. Stay open to trying something new, even a new sport or a hobby,” he said.

He added that to be a real champion, students have to strive to be above average.

“There are many forces and behaviours that may prevent you from becoming a champion. Your parents and teachers have educated you about negative forces that prevent you from achieving success. I ask you to set high standards for yourself. Be the hero of your life,” he added.

He left the students with one important message.

“To be a champion you have to be kind. Selfishness is worse than COVID. Be good and kind and God will bless you with great abundance,” he added.

TML’s president Farz Khan congratulated the school principal Wahida Mohammed-Narine as well as the parents and staff.

Steffi Seepersad, daughter of criminologist Dr Randy Seepersad, graduates on Saturday from the San Fernando TML Primary School. (Image courtesy San Fernando TML Primary School)

Among those graduating were Sebastian Mitchell, the son of Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, and Steffi Seepersad, daughter of criminologist Dr Randy Seepersad.

Mitchell told Guardian Media that notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive regulations, the graduation was impeccably planned and executed.

“It was done with the standard of excellence that principal Wahida Mohammed-Narine, Rabia Mohammed and all the other teachers at that school have become renowned for,” the Minister said.

“I do feel that the graduates are a bit unlucky to miss out on TML’s traditional graduation ceremony, being seated with their friends, being able to thank their principal and teachers for their guidance, patience and persistence, and of course, being able to hear the words of wisdom as the graduates come to the end of this journey and begin another. It all adds to the emotion and significance of this rite of passage,” he added.

Despite the setbacks, Mitchell said the students still displayed excitement at being allowed to graduate.