Ceremony recognizes young Grenadian graduates
July 27, 2017
Celia St. Bernard encouraged the youngest of her three children to register for the second annual Grenadian consulate graduation ceremony.
She wasn’t around to attend the event two weeks ago.
St. Bernard, who migrated from Grenada in 1970 and was employed with Bell Canada and Canada Post, succumbed to breast cancer on June 25.
“She was the one that told me about this recognition event and insisted that I be part of it,” said Jacqueline St. Bernard-Partridge who graduates on August 18 with a registered practical nursing diploma from Centennial College.
Diagnosed nearly 18 years ago, St. Bernard’s cancer was in remission for 12 years before resurfacing.
“In her last two months while hospitalized, she told everyone that she has two nurses who were her daughters,” said St. Bernard-Partridge who is enrolled in Dalhousie University’s registered nursing program. “My older sister (Sarah Waithe) is also in the nursing program at Centennial and our mom was very proud that we are pursuing that career and would be caring for people.”
The 34-year-old wasn’t the only graduate thinking about their mother at the event.
Khalil Depradine also lost his mom, Patricia Anne Depradine, to cancer last March.
He graduated from Centennial College’s biotechnology program and was proud to be following in the footsteps of older brother Dr. Jamal Depradine who was honoured at last year’s inaugural ceremony and is doing his residency in internal medicine in Ottawa.
A total of 24 kindergarten, elementary, high school and university/college graduates were celebrated at the event which is the brainchild of consul general Derrick James.
“When I assumed this office in 2016 and looked at the different programs we have here, I thought it was important that we make that connection with individuals of Grenadian heritage who are excelling academically,” he said. “Pursuing higher education is commendable, but we would like them to use their talent and skill to help boost our country.”
James extended an invitation to the honourees to spend a day at the consulate.
“We want them to come and see what is done here,” he added. “The work of the consulate is much more than just issuing new passports and renewing old ones.”
Since acquiring her Grenadian citizenship last year, Lauriann Wade has committed to bridging the gap between Canada and Grenada.
“I fell in love with the island when I was an adult and was really struck by the access that young people there have to social media and their desire to want to use it to develop their country,” said the doctoral candidate who is the product of Grenadian immigrants.
With the support of the Grenadian consulate, Wade created a summer course program through the University of Toronto Transitional Year Program (TYP) where she’s the registrar.
Available to TYP alumni and students enrolled in degree programs in Caribbean, African, Equity or Latin American studies, the course benefits students interested in immersing themselves in the rich and multi-linguistic literary traditions of the Caribbean and its Diaspora.
The students can also earn a half credit towards their degree.
A total of 17 students spent three weeks in Grenada last month.