Joanice George, valedictorian
Joanice George, valedictorian

Dreams can change to nightmares in a flash of lightning, a crash of thunder, a deluge of rain and a sustained force of more 150 miles per hour wind.

That's what happened when Lead Institute (LI) was on the verge of becoming one of Dominica's leading non-government educational institutions; then Hurricane Maria destroyed Dominica and Lead Institute as well on 18 September 2017.

Student enrollment was up and growing, other students were beginning to make a name for themselves all over the world when the mega-storm destroyed books, files computers and dreams of LI.

"We were well on our way to achieving our dreams, our dream of expanding access to tertiary education to Dominican students and transforming Lead Institute into a world class institution," said David Vital, the Director. "Then Hurricane Maria struck in September. With devastating force our dream, it would seem, quickly turned into a nightmare".

Vital spoke during the 2018 graduation ceremony of the LI last Friday afternoon.

He said after he had assessed the damage to LI, many students asked: what are going to do and his usual answer was: I don't know.

"But dreams are like seeds," Vital said. "They push through the dirt, the soil piled on them and spring back to life."

The LI director said the spark to resume LI came from the students.

"You are the prime example of what resilience truly is about," he said.

"You not only provided the spark for Lead's recovery but you also stubbornly refused to surrender your own dreams. Maria might have blown away your roofs… but it did not overturn and drown your resolve and desire to do well and to succeed."

Seventeen students graduated from LI.

China- trained Dr. Tricia Lewis of Grand Bay, the featured speaker told the graduates: "Dreams do not come true by simply wishing. Dreams come true by making your plans, setting goals and persistently working hard".

Joanice George was the valedictorian.

The top students were: Joancie George - Outstanding Accounting Student;Joanice George - Outstanding Caribbean Studies Student; Natalia Antoine - Outstanding Caribbean Studies Student; Jannnelle Rayond - Outstanding Communication Studies Student; Desra Eusell - Outstanding Entrepreneurship Student; Destiny Pascal - Outstanding Law Student; Jannelle Raymond -Outstanding Law Student; Natalia Antoine - Outstanding Law Student; Jannelle Raymond -Outstanding Literature Student; Natalia Antoine- Outstanding Literature Student; Joanice George- Outstanding Management Student; Joanice George - Outstanding Integrated Math Student; Natalia Antoine- Outstanding Integrated Math Student; Outstanding Leadership Award-National Bank of Dominica/Lead Institute: Natalia Antoine.

Degree Awards

Joanice George- Outstanding Accounts Major; Desra Eusell - Outstanding Economics Major; Natalia Antoine- Outstanding Law Major. Graduating Class of 2018

Associate of Arts in Business

Alinthia Auguiste (Accounts); Kera Francis (Accounts); Joanice George (Accounts); Nickisha Richards (Accounts); Lakim Roudette.

Associate of Arts in Business - Economics

Leneter Cadette (Economics); Desra Eusell (Economics); Jardine Samuel; Makayla Theophille;

Associate of Arts in Humanities- Law

Natalia Antoine; Amelia Jolly; Karlene Louis; Jannelle Raymond;

Associate of Arts in Sciences –Natural Sciences

Marisha Etienne

Associate of Arts in Sciences - ICT

Anique Pascal; Juraine Vigilante;

Associate of Science - Environmental Science

Daena Christian