-Boakai cautions Stella Maris Graduates
Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has cautioned 500 students who graduated from Stella Maris Polytechnic over the weekend to work tirelessly and give back to their country in order to be able to develop the nation.
Mr. Boakai’s challenge was contained in a speech he delivered as guest speaker at the 19th commencement convocation of the Stella Maris Polytechnic under the theme, “Education: The Enabling Tool for Continuous Development and Fair Distribution of National Wealth.”
The elaborate ceremony was held on August 31, 2018, in the school’s newly constructed auditorium, one of the largest privately-owned halls in Monrovia.
According to Mr. Boakai, in order for any of the young graduates to give back to their country, they must be focused, resolved, hardworking, and exercise discipline in their quest to reach greater heights of achievement and distinction.
“I pray that you are mindful of the reality that you break free from the walls of this institution at a time when our world is beset with a new host of interminable challenges, twists and turns, surges and drops. As our nation is no exception to this global state of flux and uncertainty, you have upon your shoulders a stark responsibility to develop a knack for foresight, innovation and thoroughness,” the former Vice President said to a deafening round of applause from the graduates and members of the platform guests.
While sharing his experiences, Boakai said life is like echoes in the forest that send back messages to the receiver, bringing back exactly what the receiver may have said earlier in the town, because “if you say kind words, they are repeated to you in the same way, but if you say otherwise, you get the same words back. So graduates, give the best to your country at all times, and surely you will reap good in return.”
He said on such occasion, graduating from one stage of the educational quest to another, most often people hear the usual exhortation and encouragement from speakers to the graduates not to settle for what has been achieved, but instead to reach out for higher heights.
“And so, with no reservation, I do add my voice in the hope of further reinforcing the messages to you on the exceptional imperative for you to press on, remaining focused, resolved, embracing hard work, and keeping your action and utterances polished in discipline in all that you do,” he challenged the graduates.
“On enrollment at this premier faith-based institution a few years ago, you consciously undertook to imbibe and live the tenets of the motto of Stella Maris Polytechnic, “Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills for Service,” Mr. Boakai said. “Here you are today having worked, prayed, and humbled yourselves, proving beyond doubt that you are indeed true believers. You are today reaping what you have sown in hard study.”
He also cautioned the graduates to be aware of the most important thing to live with no regrets, treat people the way they will want to be treated, “work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”
Mr. Boakai: “The height you have attained at Stella Maris leaves no doubt in my mind that you do fully appreciate the great importance of education; therefore, I should spare you a lecture on the relevance of seeking knowledge. You surely know that this is a journey that only ends when one takes the last breath.
“This is all the more why I see so much brilliance in your choice of the topic, ‘Education: The Enabling Tool for Continuous Development and Fair Distribution of National Wealth.'”
He defined education as a tool, but said some great thinkers have also defined education as “molding of the mind.”
Quoting the great Mathematician, Albert Einstein, Mr. Boakai said “Education is what remains after we have forgotten what we learned in school, because learning teaches a system of thought and knowledge as bedrock of learning.”
He said education is indeed the enabling tool for continuous development and fair distribution of national wealth, “but unless such distribution is in the hands of distributors, who have the thought of country, the love of country, and are committed to building that country, I am afraid the fair distribution process can become a source of serious disappointment for graduates who want to serve their country.”
Boakai therefore said true leaders and distributors of national wealth must consider themselves as stewards, “so the fear of God must make them want to see lives improved, a country developed and citizens allowed to enjoy the resource of their country.”