On December 6, 2023, the Alpha Institute honoured the many achievements of its student body at its annual Graduation & Prize Giving Ceremony. Held under the fitting theme, “The Journey Begins”, students, parents, and staff had the privilege of witnessing the fruits of our students’ labour from this past year as they strived to embody the Profile of the Mercy Graduate.
The ceremony (which was held in the Alpha campus’ Sister Mary Ignatius Hospitality Room), began with meaningful messages from the event’s Master of Ceremonies (Mr. Samuel Collins), the Institute’s Director of Guidance & Counselling (Mrs. Sharon Pryce) and the Chief Executive Officer of the Sisters of Mercy of Jamaica (Ms. Marcia Tai Chun); all of whom shone with pride as they addressed the awardees before them. Shortly thereafter, a prayer and scripture reading (from Psalms 146:1-10), were given; both of which set the tone for the morning’s proceedings by reminding all who were present to look upon this momentous occasion with a spirit of thankfulness to the Lord for equipping these young men to perform with excellence.
This overall sense of gratitude was also apparent in the delivery of the Principal’s Report which highlighted the school’s major achievements in the past year while also detailing areas in need of improvement. Following this encouraging retrospective, the morning’s guest speaker, Rev. Father Carl F. Clarke (Principal of Holy Trinity High School), took to the stage with a deeply profound and highly entertaining Charge to Graduates. Rev. Clarke gave an impassioned speech to the students about the importance of doing the most with what they have now by using the talents, resources and opportunities currently available to them (no matter how few they may be). As someone who came from humble beginnings himself, he was able to relate to many of the young men present while still admonishing them not to fall into the trap of self-pity. He implored them, instead, not to let where they’re coming from determine where they aim to go and to be willing to make sacrifices along the way. “Either make the sacrifice now and enjoy life later or enjoy life now and make the sacrifice later,” he wisely warned. Throughout this lively address, Rev. Clarke regaled the audience with heartfelt and humorous stories and anecdotes; all of which were met with continuous laughter and murmurs of agreement from those in attendance.
Afterwards came the time for the main event: the presentation of awards. Parents, teachers and school leaders looked on with pride as, one by one, students alighted the stage to accept awards related to various trades, academic subjects, and their performance in the City & Guilds examinations. School leaving certificates as well as special awards (for Best attendance, Punctuality and Service/Helpfulness), were also given. The awards were handed out by a variety of key stakeholders including Ms. Marcia Tai Chun from the Sisters of Mercy of Jamaica, Mrs. Margaret Little Wilson (Alpha Institute’s Administrator), along with Ms. Simpson, a representative from the Ministry of Education and Youth.
With jubilant cheers sounding from the crowd, it was heartening to witness how excited the students were for each other as they each accepted their awards. Impressively, some received multiple certificates in various categories. This was especially true for one school-leaver, Rupert Reed, whose name was called time and time again to the cheers of many. No matter the number of prizes, each student’s hard work and dedication throughout the past school year were clear for all to see. Once all of the awards were distributed, the ceremony ended with a moving trumpet solo of the hymn “God Will Take Care of You” by Mr. Winston “Sparrow” Martin, O.D. (an Alpha Old Boy-turned legendary musician and educator), which was spontaneously accompanied by the vocals of the emcee, Mr. Samuel Collins.
This wonderful Graduation & Prize Giving Ceremony was a major testament, not only to the efforts of Alpha Institute’s student body, but also to the unending support of teachers, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders who all empower students to embody the school’s motto: “Upward and Onward.”