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Young Valedictorian Headlines Graduation Ceremony at Educational Complex

June 11, 2008 — Parents of students finishing up at the St. Croix Educational Complex had sundry reasons to celebrate Wednesday night along with the 238 students who graduated.
For starters, Principal Kurt Vialet let it be known following the valedictory speech by Tramaine Creighton that she was just 15 years old. The revelation brought exclamations of awe and disbelief from many in the crowd, some of whom could be seen mentally ticking off the past years.
"My God, she was just 11 years old when she went to high school," one woman said loudly over others who were discussing the remarkable feat of the young scholar.
Creighton, who will turn 16 June 30, is now on her way to Tuskegee University, where she plans to major in animal science and one day become a veterinarian.
On stage in his official capacity was Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, a former teacher at the school. But the smile that stretched from ear to ear was for his son, 17-year-old Terrence Nelson Jr., the school's salutatorian.
The younger Nelson, who was born in Raleigh, N.C., and moved back home with his parents in 1995 as a child, is heading back there to North Carolina State University, where he will study to become a mechanical engineer.
The elder Nelson stood on stage cheering as his son took the podium for his salutatory speech.
Both the younger Nelson and Creighton credited not only their parents and teachers, but also their faith in God for getting them to the next step. They urged fellow graduates to continue to let God be their guiding force. Both students also challenged their classmates to let graduation from high school serve as a stepping stone to furthering their education and to productive careers.
"I see myself as fortune teller — I see senators, doctors, lawyers and maybe even a president" among class members, Nelson Jr. said.
Keynote speaker Robert Cipriani, a 1998 alumnus of the St. Croix Educational Complex and now a mechanical engineer at Hovensa, urged graduates to be the best that they can be, echoing the sentiments of other speakers, including Gov. John deJongh Jr., Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis and Senate President Usie R. Richards.
Vialet, in brief remarks, also took time Wednesday to salute the remaining eight students in the top 10. They "were so close" that they, too, could have been the salutatorian or valedictorian, he said. Each of the top 10 students, including Nelson and Creighton, scored averages of 90 and above.
The remaining students in the top 10 were Charnele M. Burton, LaDia Carrington, Lakesha Francis, Ishmeal Hosein, Acacia Jackson, Jessica James and Tatianna Pemberton. Vialet also singled out Shellese Cannonier and Stella Jarvis, who were early-admission students to the University of the Virgin Islands, thus completing their senior year in high school and freshman year of college simultaneously. Vialet also noted that early admission to college was a tradition of sorts for members of the Cannonier family.
"All of the Cannonier children went through the early-admission program," he said.
Krista E. Edwards, who was recently crowned prom queen, was among a host of other students who graduated with honors. Her parents, Abraham and Marcella Edwards watched proudly as the graduates accepted their diplomas, as did the other parents, guardians and well-wishers in the crowd.
Vialet summed up the dilemma of many V.I. students when he urged graduates to continue with higher education, saying the territory was essentially in the business of "exporting the brightest minds."
Graduates of V.I. schools, he said, are presently living on the mainland or on other Caribbean islands because often there are no jobs to come back to in the territory.
Earlier Wednesday, 92 certificates of completion were distributed to students at the Vocational School.
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June 11, 2008 -- Parents of students finishing up at the St. Croix Educational Complex had sundry reasons to celebrate Wednesday night along with the 238 students who graduated.
For starters, Principal Kurt Vialet let it be known following the valedictory speech by Tramaine Creighton that she was just 15 years old. The revelation brought exclamations of awe and disbelief from many in the crowd, some of whom could be seen mentally ticking off the past years.
"My God, she was just 11 years old when she went to high school," one woman said loudly over others who were discussing the remarkable feat of the young scholar.
Creighton, who will turn 16 June 30, is now on her way to Tuskegee University, where she plans to major in animal science and one day become a veterinarian.
On stage in his official capacity was Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, a former teacher at the school. But the smile that stretched from ear to ear was for his son, 17-year-old Terrence Nelson Jr., the school's salutatorian.
The younger Nelson, who was born in Raleigh, N.C., and moved back home with his parents in 1995 as a child, is heading back there to North Carolina State University, where he will study to become a mechanical engineer.
The elder Nelson stood on stage cheering as his son took the podium for his salutatory speech.
Both the younger Nelson and Creighton credited not only their parents and teachers, but also their faith in God for getting them to the next step. They urged fellow graduates to continue to let God be their guiding force. Both students also challenged their classmates to let graduation from high school serve as a stepping stone to furthering their education and to productive careers.
"I see myself as fortune teller -- I see senators, doctors, lawyers and maybe even a president" among class members, Nelson Jr. said.
Keynote speaker Robert Cipriani, a 1998 alumnus of the St. Croix Educational Complex and now a mechanical engineer at Hovensa, urged graduates to be the best that they can be, echoing the sentiments of other speakers, including Gov. John deJongh Jr., Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis and Senate President Usie R. Richards.
Vialet, in brief remarks, also took time Wednesday to salute the remaining eight students in the top 10. They "were so close" that they, too, could have been the salutatorian or valedictorian, he said. Each of the top 10 students, including Nelson and Creighton, scored averages of 90 and above.
The remaining students in the top 10 were Charnele M. Burton, LaDia Carrington, Lakesha Francis, Ishmeal Hosein, Acacia Jackson, Jessica James and Tatianna Pemberton. Vialet also singled out Shellese Cannonier and Stella Jarvis, who were early-admission students to the University of the Virgin Islands, thus completing their senior year in high school and freshman year of college simultaneously. Vialet also noted that early admission to college was a tradition of sorts for members of the Cannonier family.
"All of the Cannonier children went through the early-admission program," he said.
Krista E. Edwards, who was recently crowned prom queen, was among a host of other students who graduated with honors. Her parents, Abraham and Marcella Edwards watched proudly as the graduates accepted their diplomas, as did the other parents, guardians and well-wishers in the crowd.
Vialet summed up the dilemma of many V.I. students when he urged graduates to continue with higher education, saying the territory was essentially in the business of "exporting the brightest minds."
Graduates of V.I. schools, he said, are presently living on the mainland or on other Caribbean islands because often there are no jobs to come back to in the territory.
Earlier Wednesday, 92 certificates of completion were distributed to students at the Vocational School.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.