VALEDICTORY SPEECH BY SOLOMON K. N. DANQUAH (BEST OVERALL STUDENT) AT THE 11TH GRADUATION CEREMONY ON 28 OCTOBER 2017 AT THE RAMSEYER CONFERENCE HALL, ABETIFI
- The Chancellor, Presbyterian University College Ghana,
- ThePresident of our noble university,
- Members of the University Council,
- Members of Senate,
- Presbytery Chairpersons,
- Guest Speaker for this august congregation,
- Distinguished Guests,
- Members of staff,
- Graduands and their Guests,
- all protocols duly observed.
I am truly honored to stand before you on this memorable occasion on behalf of my graduating year group. I would like to begin my speech with an illustration of a tree; a tree that is planted in a garden and that looks beautiful, healthy, and strong. What no one could see was the soil that the Gardener planted in. It is made up of many components that nourish the tree for its growth and development. The insects, air, temperature, decayed leave, all come in for an impeccable blend just right for the plant. When the plant bends, the wise Gardener brings in stakes to keep it standing. This wonderful tree sprouts and spreads its branches and beautiful birds of different colors come to it and live there. They protect the tree by eating up the termites that intend to damage it. Some come and go, some make their nests and beautify the tree while others like the wood pecker makes a perpetual hole in the tree and live there.
The tree in this illustration represents all of us here graduands. The firm and rich soil represent our parents whose penances have been innumerable.Just like the tree, many wonderful people were added to support us like the Gardener gave the soil nutrients. Gradually, beautiful birds like our course mates, hostel mates, fellow church executives and other co-leaders, made our life meaningful than we could imagine, while wood peckers are the course mates who became friends/ family and made a home in our hearts. This Garden is PUCG and these amazing lecturers are the strong stakes that held us up throughout the four years of our academic pursuit. Being the trees in this illustration, we should not forget that as we have grown strong now, we have the responsibility to bear fruits to feed our birds, shed our leaves to nourish the soil, avail our branches to be used as stakes to support other plants and above all, a responsibility to be the pride of our Garden (Presbyterian University College, Ghana) and Gardener (God).
My kindred Graduands here would all concur with me on how adventurous this academic journey has been for us. From the passing away of our dear brother Welbeck Archibald (R.I.P.) whom we lost in level 200, to the record-breaking results in sports and the success story at the recent Institute of Engineering and Technology Competition. I firmly can recall here on Okwahu campus the many times we would rush to dress up at the sound of Mr. Ayeh’s bus horn early in the morning for lectures. For my colleagues who lived in the Premier Hall and Shekinah Hostel region, no one but God can comprehend the agony of strolling forward and backward your hostels to campus and sometimes the main station just to get food to satisfy your appetite. Not forgetting the weeks when some needed to mysteriously find water to bath before going for lectures when there was water shortage.That awful inclination and weight of owing school fees when exams were going to begin cannot be communicated in words. Amidst this adventure, we sit here today reminiscing the challenges that stood before us and we savor the victories that came upon our hands.Indeed, our enthusiastic efforts invested in group study meetings, class presentations and project work has paid off. On this day, not only should you consider this gathering as a celebration for your certificate of bachelor’s degree but also for your certificate of survival. We have indeed survived but survived only the preliminary stages. It is now time for us to go and demonstrate to the world our nurtured potentials. Further studies should begin from here, application of our trained minds should begin from here and an exhibition of our survival instincts should be exercised irrespective of your final results or class.
It would amaze you all that as I stand before you now, not onlydo I hail from a humble monetary foundation yet in addition I hail from an average academic background in Accra Academy. Notwithstanding these restrictions in any case, two things contributed to me attaining the best overall student position. First was a conviction to demonstrate that in spite of a person’s unwavering commitment to church activities and service to God, academic excellence was still attainable. So, to me I say this is what God can do when you serve Him well. The second was an admonition by Eng. Odei Bempong during our orientation as Freshers to dedicate at least five study hours daily if excellence was to be achieved.
I have no doubt that seated in this auditorium now are talented sports men and women with the likes of Victoria Ada, incredible photographers like Nipah Dennis, Outstanding event organizers like Enoch Nartey, Creative fashionists like Felix Baah and Minateme Christopher Imabibo, wonderful music ministers like Nana Kissiedu, ambitious business men and women and many great leaders that have conquered some odds and are en-route to make a difference in this country and beyond. But like Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings” and as Frank Tyger cited, ambition is an enthusiasm with a purpose. To my fellow Graduands, let us along these lines realize that success unlike it is perceived is not an event but a habit – a habit of pursuing a Godly ambition; a habit of having the end in mind; and a habit of not quitting. As you embrace the next phase of your lives, make God your priority, let Him be glorified in all you do and at last, you would again celebrate at your next certificate. Long Live the Class of 2017; Long Live the Presbyterian University College, Ghana. Thank You.