Tresha Jacob of the community of Anse De Mai and daughter of Irene Celestine and Alick Jacob is the 2021 Valedictorian of the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology(ABIIT).
Jacob graduated with honors from the Dominica State College and moved to to Antigua after Hurricane Maria in 2017. The following year, she decided to pursue studies in Accounting at the ABIIT. It is her desire to pursue a Bachelors and then a Masters in her chosen field.
Jacob encourages others who may not be citizens of the country in which they live.
She says, “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone. When you’re an immigrant you must work three times as hard but hard work pays off in the end”.
Jacob was awarded at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday. She was sure to represent her country by saying ‘sa ka fete’ to her family and friends who were viewing via social media.
Below is an excerpt from Tresha’s Valedictory speech.
“My fellow graduates, when I first received the news that I would be graduating as this year’s Valedictorian, I was astonished. Soon after, my amazement turned into sheer panic upon the realization that I was required to write a speech. For a few days, I deliberated over the message I wanted to portray, and accordingly, this speech came into existence.
Almost four years ago, I sat on the floor of my cousin’s bedroom in Dominica, praying to God for a miracle as the winds howled outside and the room flooded with water. Almost four years ago, I woke up to an unrecognizable Dominica – A Dominica that I was doubtful would ever recover. In that period of disaster, God was there. Now, years later, he continues to work in mysterious ways, and my presence today is proof of his divine intervention.
My fellow graduates, we live in an era of uncertainty and as a result, it is not uncommon to lose. As students, it is increasingly popular to lack enthusiasm and ambition when external forces continue to overshadow every inch of progress that we make. Too often, the plights of the youth have been silenced because our society refuses to discuss the issues affecting young people such as depression, stress, and anxiety.
Now, more than ever, as we grapple with the impact that Covid-19 has had on the world, we need to feel inspired. We need to know that we are not alone in this fight. Hence, I urge everyone listening, to please check up on your friends and family. Provide a listening ear, educate other persons about mental health, and most importantly, do not discriminate.
Treat people with respect, compassion, and empathy, no matter how they might present themselves to you and everyone else looking. A house might be beautifully painted on the outside, with pristine landscaping, and the latest upgrades in architecture. However, the interior of that house might be in shambles upon closer inspection. There is so much more to someone than what meets the eye. Therefore, we must always be kind and help others whenever the situation permits.
My fellow graduates, this day marks a new chapter in our lives, but this moment should not cause us to lose sight of our future. As we celebrate this wonderful achievement and continue on life’s journey, we must be determined. We must never lose hope. Even when it feels like the weight of the entire world is upon our shoulders, we must find the strength to move forward. Success does not occur overnight. Perseverance is power, education is liberation, and when combined, our potential is limitless.
In closing, I want to leave you with the following words: “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”. Isaiah Chapter 54, verse 17 states, and I quote, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement, you shall condemn”. My fellow graduates, ensure that you are not the weapon formed against yourself that is keeping you from prospering. Our minds and tongues are very powerful weapons; therefore, we should be cautious of what we think and what we say. Set high expectations. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Be passionate about your goals. Step out of your comfort zone, and take some time for yourself.”
Emonews congratulates Tresha Jacob for her perseverance and because she is an inspiration to many.