Last evening, I had the pleasure of attending a certification ceremony of 70-plus relatively young adults at the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) who earned their certificates in various trades and career tracks. The event was held at the St. Croix Educational Complex, a facility that for years has churned out trained and certified workers for a multitude of workplaces and industries, not only on the island, but abroad.
While observing the event, one couldn’t help but notice the smiles on the faces of the certifying students and their relatives. Everyone dressed sharply in white long sleeve shirts and black trousers or skirts. The succinct speeches showered praises on the students for their persistence and determination to improve themselves and the economic well being of their families. Many of them had infants and school age children in the audience.
The main speaker of the event was a young man who was introduced as Javan James, the newly elected St. Croix senator. And, it made perfect sense why he was selected as the speaker. He, too, had attended the CTEC skill training programs a few years ago at the Education Complex and then went on to serve in the U.S. military. He spoke briefly and eloquently. He told the students he was one of them and that his training gave him a set of special skills to earn a good wage and help his family. The fact that he had a craft, he said, placed him ahead of other co-workers everywhere he went in his military service. And, now, as a legislator, he vowed to support the craft training programs.
The CTEC ceremony was a breath of fresh air and a complete contrast to the gruesome reality of high crime on St. Croix, where young adults are decimating themselves on a rate surpassing most places on the U.S. Mainland. The event deserves the media headlines and recognition often wasted on the gruesome stories we hear far too frequently on our islands. Congratulations to the certifying students and the dedicated instructors and administrators at the St. Croix Educational Complex.
Carmelo Rivera of St. Croix