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Charlotte Amalie
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Political and Religious Leaders Give Students Career Advice

Nov. 24, 2008 — Figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life is never easy, but students at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School got some good advice and a push in the right direction Monday from community leaders, government officials and local professionals.
"I know as students, so often people ask you what you want to be when you grow up," said Bishop Herbert Bevard of St. Thomas to a cathedral packed full of students. "Some people actually know the answer. For me, for as long as I can remember I could say, I wanted to be a priest. But it isn't always that easy, is it? Today is a day that will help you think about how to answer that question."
Bevard and the other speakers turned out for the school's 2008 Career Day event. For many speakers, working hard in school, taking risks and learning from life's experiences are just a few of the things that helped propel them toward a successful career.
"Half of the opportunities in life are not the ones that were predetermined," said Gov. John deJongh Jr., a Sts. Peter and Paul alum who said he currently has the "best job in the Virgin Islands." With a wealth of experience in banking and finance — among other jobs, deJongh served as the territory's Finance commissioner under the administration of former Gov. Alexander A. Farrelly — the governor explained that he had never aspired to a career in politics.
"My decision to run for governor was made because I decided to take a risk," deJongh said. "I think the opportunities we have here in the Virgin Islands are unlimited, and the things that we can do in and for the Caribbean are tremendous. Now, I ran in 2002 and lost, but won in 2006, and if there's one thing I learned, it's not to be afraid of taking a risk. If you step outside that comfort zone, you can actually do anything you want. Life is not about the successes. It's about the defeats we experience and the lessons we learn from them."
Excelling in school is also important, according to Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve, who said that he was earning B's and C's on his report when he attended Sts. Peter and Paul in 1987.
"My mom always said, 'Study hard, work hard,'" Sprauve said. "And my brother, he used to pull me aside and say, 'These grades aren't good enough for you.'"
Sprauve got paid $100 for every A that he received through high school, and by the end of his senior year he had been on the dean's list and honor roll. He went on to get both a bachelor's and master's degree at Hampton University and, after graduating, was a freshman professor.
His career in politics was jump started by former Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd, who set him as the executive director of the 24th Legislature.
"Just continue to work hard," Sprauve said to students. "This school gives you the unique opportunity to learn about things like discipline and loyalty. It has prepared me in so many ways. I've learned that no matter how old you are, no matter what you do, always try to do your best at everything. And I've learned that we're in control of our own destinies — that we can do anything we want to do if we just put our minds to it."
As students make the transition from high school to college and from college to the working world, they should always employ a four-step process that will keep them on the path to success, said Elsie Mae King, director of bar admissions at the V.I. Supreme Court.
"When you think about your career, and what you're going to be tomorrow, please do three things," King said to students. "First, make sure you dream — really think about what you want to do and remember that it's never too early to dream. Second thing is plan — plan to do well. Third, make sure you inquire. Ask all the questions you need to know, because no one person learns the same way. And finally, make sure you go after your career. Go after what you love."
Throughout the day, students were also able to participate in a variety of workshops, where presenters from throughout the community spoke about careers in fields ranging from law enforcement to religion. Monday's event comes on the heels of American Education Week, which wrapped up Saturday.
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Nov. 24, 2008 -- Figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life is never easy, but students at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School got some good advice and a push in the right direction Monday from community leaders, government officials and local professionals.
"I know as students, so often people ask you what you want to be when you grow up," said Bishop Herbert Bevard of St. Thomas to a cathedral packed full of students. "Some people actually know the answer. For me, for as long as I can remember I could say, I wanted to be a priest. But it isn't always that easy, is it? Today is a day that will help you think about how to answer that question."
Bevard and the other speakers turned out for the school's 2008 Career Day event. For many speakers, working hard in school, taking risks and learning from life's experiences are just a few of the things that helped propel them toward a successful career.
"Half of the opportunities in life are not the ones that were predetermined," said Gov. John deJongh Jr., a Sts. Peter and Paul alum who said he currently has the "best job in the Virgin Islands." With a wealth of experience in banking and finance -- among other jobs, deJongh served as the territory's Finance commissioner under the administration of former Gov. Alexander A. Farrelly -- the governor explained that he had never aspired to a career in politics.
"My decision to run for governor was made because I decided to take a risk," deJongh said. "I think the opportunities we have here in the Virgin Islands are unlimited, and the things that we can do in and for the Caribbean are tremendous. Now, I ran in 2002 and lost, but won in 2006, and if there's one thing I learned, it's not to be afraid of taking a risk. If you step outside that comfort zone, you can actually do anything you want. Life is not about the successes. It's about the defeats we experience and the lessons we learn from them."
Excelling in school is also important, according to Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve, who said that he was earning B's and C's on his report when he attended Sts. Peter and Paul in 1987.
"My mom always said, 'Study hard, work hard,'" Sprauve said. "And my brother, he used to pull me aside and say, 'These grades aren't good enough for you.'"
Sprauve got paid $100 for every A that he received through high school, and by the end of his senior year he had been on the dean's list and honor roll. He went on to get both a bachelor's and master's degree at Hampton University and, after graduating, was a freshman professor.
His career in politics was jump started by former Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd, who set him as the executive director of the 24th Legislature.
"Just continue to work hard," Sprauve said to students. "This school gives you the unique opportunity to learn about things like discipline and loyalty. It has prepared me in so many ways. I've learned that no matter how old you are, no matter what you do, always try to do your best at everything. And I've learned that we're in control of our own destinies -- that we can do anything we want to do if we just put our minds to it."
As students make the transition from high school to college and from college to the working world, they should always employ a four-step process that will keep them on the path to success, said Elsie Mae King, director of bar admissions at the V.I. Supreme Court.
"When you think about your career, and what you're going to be tomorrow, please do three things," King said to students. "First, make sure you dream -- really think about what you want to do and remember that it's never too early to dream. Second thing is plan -- plan to do well. Third, make sure you inquire. Ask all the questions you need to know, because no one person learns the same way. And finally, make sure you go after your career. Go after what you love."
Throughout the day, students were also able to participate in a variety of workshops, where presenters from throughout the community spoke about careers in fields ranging from law enforcement to religion. Monday's event comes on the heels of American Education Week, which wrapped up Saturday.
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.