The St. Croix Central High School "Legendary, Incomparable, Tremendous" (L.I.T.) Class of 2018 was comprised of 135 graduates on their way to colleges or universities, trade schools, the military or the workforce. The class received $3 million in combined scholarships and financial aid.
At a spirited commencement ceremony held June 27 in the Educational Complex High School auditorium, graduates were surrounded by a sea of well-wishers as they concluded their high school careers.
"You are the V.I.'s most important treasures and you are our precious jewels," said CHS Principal Janasee Sinclair, who announced her retirement during the ceremony. "Challenge yourselves, spread your wings and soar toward your future with confidence."
Class salutatorian Taylor A. Lampkin commended her fellow graduates for their resilience.
"Go above and beyond and never settle for less," she said. "Though the hurricanes, we are still one hundred thirty-six students strong."
Taylor will attend Pennsylvania's Lincoln University in the fall where she will major in political science and minor in psychology.
"We are the next generation of leaders, write your story," she concluded.
Valedictorian Madelin Yousef implored her classmates to live out their dreams.
"Do not allow your dreams to collect dust and become pointless," she said. "I am proud of you. Our class is a mural of greatness."
Madelin, an avid writer, will attend Iowa State University in the fall where she will study anthropology and cosmology.
Keynote speaker Akeem McIntosh, a 2008 CHS graduate and current IT specialist at the University of the Virgin Islands, told students, "You can't prepare for every situation, but you can do your best."
Mr. McIntosh shared the challenges he experienced throughout his college career, stating that it took him eight years to complete his undergraduate studies. With that, he told students each of their journeys will be different.
"You should never go through life comparing yourself to anyone else," he said. "Trust yourself and trust the journey."
At the end of his remarks, Mr. McIntosh surprised two graduates with scholarships of $2,000 each from the CHS Class of 2008.
St. Croix Superintendent Colleen Mae Williams implored students to "know your purpose because the individuals here this morning are supporting you in that purpose," she said.
Governor Kenneth Mapp offered sound advice to students.
"Don't let anyone define you," he said. "It's not what you're called, it's what you answer to."
Education Commissioner Dr. Sharon Ann McCollum said, "I speak prosperity over you. Stay the course."
The CHS Class of 1979 awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student.