Conference Staffer Achieves Academic Heights
The 44th Commencement Ceremony (9 February) of the International College of the Cayman Islands was an especially providential day for Diane Ricketts, Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventist accountant and health and nutrition store manager. Mrs Ricketts not only graduated with a master’s degree in management but also earned the institution’s Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.
So, for her and the 46 other graduands taking their place in the bedazzled ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton Resort, the air was most celebratory. And by the end of the evening that celebration took on decidedly spectacular proportions, with soaring multi-coloured confetti and spiralling balloons electrifying the air after the speeches and the awards for the 12 master’s, 17 bachelor’s, and 17 associate degree graduates.
Congratulating Mrs. Ricketts on her achievement Conference Executive Secretary Reinaldo Dracket, in the absence of President Shion O’Connor, said: “Mrs Ricketts is another example for young people and adults of the truth of the adage that if we want something badly enough, we can achieve it.”
Pastor Dracket noted that Mrs. Ricketts’ achievement was remarkable in the context of her many other pressing personal demands: “She has a fulltime job and she is a wife and a mother, yet she was determined to advance herself academically — and she did. I see her as an inspiration to us that we can reach our highest potential if we purpose to do so. Therefore, no excuses! Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle,” Pastor Dracket said.
Determination, aside, however, graduation was a time of mixed emotions. The moment of pride was more than tinged with a sense of relief, bringing as it did a welcome respite from the exertions of student life, she said. She had gone directly from her February 2016 completion of undergraduate studies to pursuing her master’s.
But at graduation, the satisfaction of accomplishment far outweighed any residual memory of the struggles, Mrs. Ricketts said. For her undergraduate studies in human and social services she had graduated cum laude, a highly creditable indicator of sustained success. For her master’s degree she achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA, having earned A’s for all her courses.
“The journey has not been easy,” Mrs. Ricketts said, “I reached these goals with a lot of personal sacrifices.” But she did not do it alone, she said. “I had the support of a lot of people, especially my family and my work colleagues.” Above all, she thanked God for his interventions and blessings.
Mrs. Ricketts paid special tribute also to her classmates: “I must acknowledge the contribution of my classmates,” Mrs. Ricketts said, explaining that the group dynamic as they stuck together was a big factor in enabling the class as a whole to overcome the hurdles and to succeed as well as they did.
Mrs. Ricketts paid tribute to her parents, also, who had raised her and her siblings, she said, to have an awareness of being a part of a community and of the importance of giving back and of equipping themselves to be positive, productive citizens.
In terms of what lies ahead for her, she said that, first, she would be exploring ways in which she could give back to the community. In addition, she has already commenced doctoral studies at Walden University.