The monthly new e o Te U rs of te V i I
May 27, 2010 vol xvi, number 5
UVI Class of 2010 Told to 'Take the Baton'
Left: Cadet Roger Simon of
the UVI ROTC is commis-
sioned as a second lieutenant
at the St. Croix campus com-
mencement ceremony. Right:
On the St. Thomas campus
Racquel Benjamin receives
her degree. Bottom: Randall
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ones to shape address.
tell their stories and continue the work of
his generation. Robinson was the keynote
speaker at the St. Thomas and St. Croix
commencement ceremonies, held on May
15 and 16, respectively. UVI conferred 312
degrees at the ceremonies.
UVI graduates are ahead of where he
was at their age, he said. As a college stu-
dent with an undecided major on a basket-
ball scholarship, when Robinson was asked
by a professor what he wanted to be Robinson replied "a
doctor." That was until he was told to dissect a cat a task
he refused. "There is a big distinction between what you
want to be and what you want to do," Robinson said. "We
don't need be-ers, we need do-ers," he added. "You have
to decide what you want to do."
"If you want to be great, you must feel that you stand
on a tradition of greatness," Robinson said, noting that the
greatness of Africans has not adequately been depicted.
Robinson said that he was never taught about the great
city of Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa or the history of
Sheba, the vast land of which the Queen of Sheba is often
referenced yet he knew about the Eifel Tower. "Who
is it that gives you the information that you consume," he
asked. "Who keeps us in the box that we cannot escape
and do critical
thinking for our-
said are rarely
given due credit.
Lead by Tous-
ed the first and
only successful slave revolt in the world
to result in the first nation ruled by for-
mer slaves. "They began the emancipa-
tion process that led to freedom across the
Americas," Robinson said. "It is safe to say
that we would not be sitting here if not for
Robinson charged the graduates to build
upon the foundation that has already been
laid. "This business is a relay race. We
hand the baton from one generation to the
next. Tonight we hand the baton to you. Take it. Run with
it. You are the hope of the world."
Officiating over his first UVI commencement, Presi-
dent David Hall thanked the graduates for helping to
shape his understanding of UVI students. "In the life of
the University, this is our most cherished day," he said.
Jaedee Caines was the class speaker on the St. Thom-
as campus. In a spirited speech she told her classmates
that they must encourage others to obtain an education.
"Know that we have reached a significat milestone in our
lives, but our journey is not over," she said. Caines recon-
gized the male graduates of the class, non-traditional stu-
dents and mothers who juggled work, caring for a family
and taking courses.
Carmie Thompson, the St. Croix campus class speak-
er, told her class to do their best at all times. "If, after
leaving UVI as a graduate, you plan to continue in your
present profession, do it with all your might because we
are only limited by our own actions and no one else," she
said. "It is not what you do, but how well you do it. Never
get tired of doing what is right because it is in those mo-
ments that you define your life."
A ctivist, au-
inson told the
UVI class of
2010 that they
must be the
I e I oJ e
Managing Disasters First-Hand
Tour months after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake
rattled Haiti, flattening buildings and killing thou-
sands of people, the memories are still hard to discuss.
Seven students participating in UVI's Summer Institute
for Future Global Leaders fought back emotions to share
their experiences of surviving the earthquake that killed
an estimated 300,000 people and left more than one mil-
"Like a nightmare, I saw buildings collapsing, people
covered in dust. I saw people dying," said Aravena St. Dic.
"There were dead bodies everywhere a leg here, and
arm there and fresh blood everywhere."
Gerlande Joaseus was at work when she felt the earth-
quake. "I started to pray to ask God to forgive me for all I
did wrong," Joaseus said. When the shaking stopped, Joa-
seus found her mother's house flattened and her mother
missing. On lookers said that her mother was probably
dead, and told her to leave. She didn't. The next dayJoa-
seus heard her mother singing. She was alive. "Life is very
important. I thank God for that," said Joaseus, who still
lives in a tent. She now has a new vision for life, she said.
Getrop Demero still has not heard from some of his
family. While there is a possibility that some did not sur-
vive the earthquake, there is also the possibility that some
were rescued and taken from Haiti, said Demero, the ad-
ministrative director of the National Police of Haiti.
The memories are still too painful for Pierre Gary. "I
saw many brothers and sisters die. I cannot speak about
it," he said after briefly sharing his story.
All of the students said that they helped as much as
they could in the aftermath. "It was an opportunity for me
to feed, in my house, more than 20 people," Demero said.
"It was also an opportunity for me to see how the Haitian
people are hopeful."
Sabine Nicolas is developing a pre and post-disaster
plan for the nation. "We are resilient. We are strong. And
we firmly believe that Haiti will not die," Nicolas said.
"Haiti pap peri (Haiti will not die)."
The theme for this year's institute is "Managing Nat-
ural Disasters: A Call for Future Global Leaders." The
public is invited to the institute's World Forum Debate,
from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, May 31, at the UVI
Administration and Conference Center. They will de-
bate the topic, "Developed nations should shoulder the
responsibility for managing natural disasters."
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Jovner Jumbie Jubilee
National Radio Person-
ality Tom Joyner, cen-
ter; is greeted by 'mocko
jubmies' UVI alumnus
Rick Grant, left, and
UVI Professor Dr Da-
vid Smith, right, after
Joyner's Fantastic Voy-
age cruise docked on St.
Thomas on May 20.
The Fantastic Voyage
raises money for the
Tom Joyner Founda-
tion, which supports
Historically Black Col-
leges and Universities.
UVI has received sup-
port from the founda-