“You Can Count on Us All” – 2021 CSS Graduating Class Valedictorian Jahkéla Barrett Tells Nevis

Charlestown, Nevis, March 07, 2022 (Nevis Island Administration) — Ms. Jahkéla Barrett, Valedictorian of the Charlestown Secondary School (CSS) Graduating Class of 2021, says the 103 graduands have emerged as a formidable and reliable group.

Ms. Barrett‘s comment came while delivering the valedictory speech at the graduation ceremony at the Nevis Cultural Village on March 02, 2022. The theme was “Adapt to Succeed.”

“The Charlestown Secondary School Class of 2021 would like to assure you that the future of Nevis is in good hands.

“We have proven to you all that we are strong, resilient, intelligent, determined, diligent, and highly motivated. We declare that industry and virtue are in us and you can count on us all!” she said.

Ms. Barrett deemed it an honour to represent the Class of 2021. She acknowledged that they are a dynamic group of young people who possess diverse skills and abilities in areas including leadership, creativity, technical skills, hairstyling, baking, entrepreneurship, farming, athletics, and sports.

She acknowledged her fellow graduands who all demonstrated their ability to adapt quickly, follow an uncharted path and plan ahead even when it seems like a futile undertaking.

“Preparing for [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] CSEC exams in an environment where there were shutdowns and lockdowns, isolations and quarantines and where even the time of the exams was uncertain, out of all of this though, came amazing results!” she said.

The Class of 2021 valedictorian singled out three of her fellow classmates whom she described as extraordinary young persons who stand out among them.

“Toot! Toot! Omarion Bartlette, an outstanding footballer! In addition to his skills on the field, he has proven to be an exceptional student. Having done extremely well at [Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence] CCSLC exams, he returned to 4th Form to begin the CSEC programme that most of us would have started in 3rd Form. He then went on to pass all of the subjects he attempted. Truly remarkable! Congratulations Omarion!

“Toot! Toot!  Carlon Bowen-Tuckett! While getting ready for exams, Carlon was also training to make the West Indies Under-19 Cricket Team, and so many mornings and afternoons Carlon was at the gym or in the park training. For him, it was a great balancing act to get the study time in along with the training. The end result, however, was his passing all of his subjects and making the Under-19 Cricket World Cup Team! A lesson for all of us is that sports and academics can be a perfect match.

“Toot! Toot! Alexander Caines is an extremely dedicated and determined young athlete! We have all witnessed Xander training in and out of season. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of December, as I witnessed this past December, or if it’s during the sports season. He would have also represented St. Kitts and Nevis in several regional athletic events. In addition to his many achievements in athletics, he holds the distinction of being our salutatorian today. This truly remarkable feat was only possible with great discipline and hard work,” she said.

Ms. Bartlett also expressed gratitude to the teachers for their investment of time, knowledge, money, and love. She also thanked their principals, past and present, for their care, thoughtfulness and guidance through the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also thanked their parents for their sustained support throughout their studies at CSS. Ms. Barrett also showed public appreciation to her family.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, Kevin and Laverne Barrett. Mommy and Daddy, thank you for your love, support, encouragement, and prayers. To my brother Jahvian, thank you for encouraging me to relax…Thanks also to all my aunties, uncles, cousins, and grandparents who supported me. I also want to thank my church family at Shiloh Baptist Church for their prayers and encouragement,” she said.

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