Dominican Novenia Norisia Isaac is this year’s valedictorian at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus.
Isaac, a secretary at the Portsmouth Secondary School, completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work with First Class Honours.
She will deliver the valedictorian’s address on Saturday during the annual graduation ceremony which takes places at 10 a.m. at the St John’s Pentecostal Ministries Church in Antigua and Barbuda.
Isaac, from the northern community of Thibaud, is a mother of one and also a mentor to many students at the Portsmouth Secondary School.
She places high importance on being a positive role model to young people and encourages them to follow their dreams no matter how off the path they may appear.
“The most important lesson I learned while pursuing my degree is that in order to succeed you must never forget what it is that you are trying to achieve and in doing so, work fervently to achieve that goal,” she explained when asked about the lessons learned over the four years of her studies.
She is driven by the values of honesty, hard work and dedication and applies these values to everything she undertakes academically, professionally and personally. She credits her drive to succeed to the unconditional support she received from her network of family and friends and her ever-growing faith in God.
“My best advice for single parents is to ensure that your support network is solid,” she stated.
“Ensure that there are persons who will be there to advise and help you during the hard parenting times and to help you with the child/children when assignments are due and time is pressing.”
Social Work also gives her the chance to give back and help others.
“I like to say that I did not choose Social Work, Social Work chose me,” Novenia quipped when asked about her choice of degree.
“I knew I wanted to complete my studies in a field that allowed me to give back to people, to help out those who are oppressed, but I did not know exactly where I would land in that spectrum. It was only after I attended an information session with the Open Campus and the speaker highlighted the Social Work programme that I knew that this was what I needed to do.” (PR/SAT)