Friday, February 13th, 2015, two students made history as the first high school graduating class from Victory Christian Academy. The alternative learning school which uses a personalized curriculum to support the various skill levels of students was founded by members of Victory Temple Church of God of Prophecy in Weymouth Hills, St. Peters.
Graduates from the 12th grade were Shervin Colastica and Nicholas Greenaway. Shervin is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43. Nicholas is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.
The young men are now authors of their own photo-books (on sale at the school) which are collections of photos taken during their time at the school. Both are strong leaders and display character traits of kindness, and generosity – borne out by testimonials from their schoolmate, Sanasha Boodhoo. “Shervin has helped me to grow as a person and I will miss him when he graduates. Nicholas has taught me what godliness looks like by the way he treats me with respect,” Boodhoo shared. Both boys have intentions of going off to college; Shervin hopes to do so in Canada, and Nicholas is entertaining Boston or Atlanta.
Also graduating from sixth grade into the high school program was Claudia Morgan. Principal Dianne Greenaway calls Claudia the school’s poster child as she began the program disadvantaged in her reading and math skills and having a difficult time learning in the traditional classroom setting. “The opportunity to learn at her own pace has seen an overwhelming improvement in her very attitude to her school work. She is an Honor student and the first recipient of the Chairman of the Board Award for achieving and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA (held for two consecutive academic years,” Greenaway said.
Keynote Speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Rhoda Arrindell who cited in her address “I believe there is a fundamental difference between education and schooling, though in these days it would seem that not too many people care to note the difference. Schooling is a very formal process and centers around using various subjects and the curriculum to shape students’ minds and behavior in a way that is acceptable to society. And when this happens, we say that the person has achieved success. However, if you are schooled and not educated, you will not succeed in life while you can be educated without being schooled and succeed. You see, with education, you accomplish more because education gives you the ability to challenge and reflect on the world around you. And in order to truly succeed in my book, a person needs to have a balance of both schooling and education. One needs to use the information given during the schooling process and reflect on and challenge—and even change—the world.”
Chairman of the Board, Bishop Michael Greenaway, expressed appreciation for the statements made by Dr. Arrindell in her address and offered too his commendation to the graduating class of 2015 who according to the theme for the setting did so “Against All Odds”. He drew reference to the number of times he and the principal thought of closing the school, because of the often negative behaviour of students and noted that just when it seemed all hope was lost there would be some glimmer of hope that arose to keep the school open another year. “Now we can boast nine years of operation, and though small we remain hopeful that we will grow each year and achieve many more successes like the one we celebrate today.”
States Ms. Dianne Greenaway, long serving principal of the school, “I am honored to see the day of the first Senior Graduation from this school. The school’s tenure is certainly strengthened as a result of this and we can only continue to hope for many more milestones to come. My pride in Claudia, Shervin, and Nicholas cannot be measured at this moment and my prayers are that they will become as successful as God would have them be. We’ve taught them diligently, we’ve shared many painful, and glorious moments, but they have succeeded against odds that said they wouldn’t. We continue to build the kingdom of God through them, one child at a time.”