“You’re Beginning Your New Journey Into The World As Responsible, Capable, Empowered Young Adults” – Shoniyin Tells St Peter Lutheran Graduates

Th Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Policy at the Cuttington University Graduate School, B. Elias Shoniyin has called on graduates of the St. Peter graduates to be responsible, capable and empowered young adults as they begin their new journey into the world.

Mr. Shoniyin spoke last Friday, September 23, 2023 when he addressed graduates, parents and faculty members of the school in Monrovia.

See full text of the speech delivered:

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty, proud parents, and most importantly, the graduates of the class of 2023,

  1. As we gather here today, we are not just celebrating your academic achievements; we are also commemorating the beginning of your new journey into the world as responsible, capable, and empowered young adults.
  1. I am deeply honored to be joining you today as we celebrate this momentous occasion. Graduates, I congratulate you all on reaching this significant milestone in your lives. Your hard work, dedication, and perseverance have brought you all to this far, and you should be immensely proud of your achievements. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of addressing you on the theme: “Preparing Youths of Today for A Secured Future.”
  1. The theme of this graduation holds profound meaning, especially in the world you are about to enter. It also speaks volumes about the responsibility that rests upon all of us as we nurture the next generation. The world you face today is unlike any that previous generations have experienced. It is marked by rapid technological advancement, global interconnectedness, and unprecedented challenges. The choices you make today, as young adults, will profoundly impact your future and the future of our country. As we celebrate your accomplishments and send you forth into the world, it’s crucial to reflect on what it truly means to prepare our youth for a secured future.
  1. First and foremost, it means acquiring knowledge and skills. Your education at St. Peter’s Lutheran High School has equipped you with a strong foundation on which you can build a solid career. You have learned mathematics, science, literature, and history, and you have honed your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. These are the tools that will empower you to navigate the complexities of the world ahead.
  1. I want to acknowledge the unique challenges that you, the youth of today face. The world you are entering is hugely different from the one your parents and teachers grew up in, but let me assure you, these challenges can be turned into opportunities with the right mindset.
  1. When we talk about preparing the youth for a secured future, we must consider various aspects of their development, including education, character, skills, and values.
  1. Preparation for a secured future begins with education, and that’s precisely what St. Peter’s Lutheran High School has provided you. You have been equipped with knowledge, skills, and values that will serve as the foundation for your journey ahead. But remember, education is not merely about memorizing facts; it is about developing critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and a thirst for lifelong learning.
  1. Beyond academics, your experiences here have also taught you the importance of character and empathy. The friendships you’ve formed, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and the teachers who have guided you have all played a vital role in shaping your character. These qualities will be your compass as you navigate the complex world that awaits you.
  1. These are the values and direction that assures a nation of a vibrant and promising future. When we have a society where the majority of our youth, in respond to the lack of opportunities and hardship, turning to commercial motorbike and tricycle riding, and we are talking about a prosperous future; we must be joking!
  1. If not all, the most of our youth must be enrolled in school or some learning environment for our country to boast about the possibilities of the future. If we don’t do this, the future will not be for us. The saying goes, that the future is for those who prepare for it today.
  1. However, I must advise that school education alone will not give you the technical skill you need to make a successful living. After you leave this place today, you will be caught between choices – the choice of advancing to the next level of your academic pursuit, or the choice to be complacent or satisfied with a high school diploma. From the positive energy and vibes I feel in this room, I doubt that complacency would be an option that any of your would prefer.
  1. As you move on to the next level of your academic journey, you should at all time remember that knowledge alone is not enough for achieving a successful life. You must also cultivate qualities like resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn continuously. The world is evolving at an astonishing pace, and the jobs and careers of tomorrow may not even exist today. Therefore, you must be open to change, embrace innovation, and be willing to learn and adapt throughout your lives.
  1. Preparing for a secured future also means fostering a sense of responsibility. You must recognize that you are not just preparing for your own individual futures but also for the future of your communities and our country. You live in a country facing formidable challenges, from extreme poverty, injustice, twisted minded, to lies and significant falsehood. As educated young people, it is your duty to engage with these issues, advocate for positive change, and contribute to the betterment of society.
  1. Furthermore, a secured future is not solely about material success. It is about finding purpose and fulfillment in your lives. As you advance to the next level of pursuing your dreams and aspirations, you should not forget the importance of empathy, compassion, and building meaningful relationships. These qualities will not only bring you personal happiness but also contribute to a more harmonious and secure country for all Liberians.
  1. In today’s interconnected global society, it is essential to cultivate a sense of global citizenship and global mindset. The challenges you will face would not be limited to Liberia borders, and your solutions to those challenges must go beyond borders. You should embrace diversity, seek understanding, and be compassionate towards others. In doing so, you will not only secure your own future but contribute to a more secure future for all Liberians.
  1. Many Liberians may recall, the slogan of almost 30 years ago, when the youth of this great country, took to the streets chanting, “You kill my ma you kill my pa I will vote for you”, and few years later they again chanted, “You know book you don’t know book we will vote for you”. It has been 30 years since, but the impact of those words still echoes in our streets and live with us even today.
  1. We as a nation will once again be embarking on an electoral process in two weeks and what we do will define our future in a profound way. The decision we make on October 10, will either shape our country in a positive direction or move us in a negative way.
  1. As you embark on this new chapter, do not be afraid to dream big. Your generation holds the power to drive change, to innovate, and to reshape our country. Spew out a positive energy, as positive energy determines our action and our thinking. Impact your generation; and be mindful of your actions.
  1. Never underestimate your power of resilience. You will face setbacks and obstacles along the way, but it is how you respond to them that truly defines who you are. Remember the lessons you’ve learned here about perseverance and determination.
  1. Lastly, cherish the support and guidance of your parents, teachers, and mentors. They have been your pillars of strength, and their belief in your potential is what has brought you this far. Express your gratitude to them and remember to pay it forward by becoming mentors and supporters for others in the future.
  1. Graduates, the journey ahead may seem daunting, but I am confident that each of you has the potential to create a brighter and more secure future. Your time at St. Peter’s Lutheran High School has prepared you academically and morally to face the challenges that lie ahead. As you step out into the world, you should carry with you the values instilled in you here – integrity, excellence, and a commitment to service.
  1. Remember that the road to success is not always smooth, but it is the bumps and obstacles that teach you the most valuable lessons. So, embrace every opportunity, overcome every obstacle, and never lose sight of your dreams.
  1. In closing, 2023 Graduates of St. peter’s Lutheran High School, your journey towards a secured future begins today, and the choices you make will shape the destiny of Liberia and the world. I have full faith that you will rise to the occasion and lead us towards a brighter, more secure future. Congratulations, class of 2023, and may your journey be filled with success, fulfillment, and endless possibilities.
  1. As you leave the hallowed halls of St. Peter’s Lutheran High School and step into the world, remember that you carry the hopes and dreams of your families, your community, and your nation. Embrace the opportunities and challenges that come your way with confidence, determination, and a commitment to making a positive impact.
  1. Congratulations, graduates of 2023! Together, you should embark on your new journey toward a secured future, armed with knowledge, resilience, and the determination to make a positive impact on the world. Thank you, and may your futures be bright and filled with purpose.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

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