Premier's Office
Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
Education, Youth
Release Date:
Thursday, 27 June 2024 - 2:37pm

Remarks by

Hon. Natalio D. Wheatley

Premier of the Virgin Islands

Elmore Stoutt High School Graduation

27 June, 2024


A pleasant good day to each and every one present and joining us online.

Today is a momentous day for our Territory, one that fills us with immense pride. We gather to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our young people, who have successfully completed their secondary education. This milestone marks not only the culmination of their secondary academic journey but also the beginning of their transition into adulthood. As they graduate, they step confidently into a vibrant and diverse world, ready to make their mark and contribute to the richness of our society.

Let us congratulate and support them as they embark on this exciting new chapter of their lives.

And as our graduates cross the stage today, one by one, they join the esteemed and prestigious assemblage that is the alumni of the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS), formerly the BVI High School.  I would like to take a moment to recognize two remarkable milestones today. We celebrate the Class of 1984 celebrating 40 years, the Class of 1994, marking 30 years since their graduation, and the Class of 2004, celebrating their 20-year reunion, and Class of 2014 marking 10 years since their graduation. These anniversaries are a testament to the enduring bonds and shared memories that have shaped their journeys. Let's honor their achievements and the lasting impact they have made over the years.

This institution has produced some of the greatest Virgin Islands leaders in all fields – politics, Government, business, academia, tourism and hospitality, culinary arts, performing arts, the marine sector; this institution is the main vessel for keeping the Virgin Islands at optimal level.

ESHS students and graduates go up against the top talent from around the world - and we either win or we give them a run for their money.

We do not have to look too far back to see that this is true. Presently, for instance, we are celebrating the ESHS debate team’s recent historic and record-breaking victory over last-year’s champions, Knox College from Jamaica, in the National Tourism Debate semifinals. ESHS’ team of Adrianne Thomas, Naomi Omwufuju, and Kande Richardson, will now face Turks and Caicos Islands in the finals. Congratulations to our team; you have the full support of your Government and your Territory.

In this same vein, let us recognize the top ten students at Elmore Stoutt High School class of 2024.

  • J’Quela Callwood
  • Alysa Penn
  • Kayla Brathwaite
  • Anjanique Cheltenham
  • Shante Hitchman
  • Riannna Hawke
  • Madissen Browne
  • Naomi Onwufuju
  • Dakari Wheatley – Adams
  • Ashanna Tillack

I stand here proud, proud as a past student, proud of the future that is sure to be brighter than ever, ladies and gentlemen let us give all 165 graduates a huge round of applause. 

That ESHS continues to mould and produce top quality students, year after year and decade after decade, speaks to the ethos and the dedication of the staff – both the academic and non-academic staff. As an educator, I know how frustrating it can be when you want to do more for your students but you face limitations outside of your control. And I also know that the force that drives our teachers to go above and beyond – and to push past those limitations – is love. Love for your noble profession and a passion to see your students unlock their potential!

To the educators, principal and staff of the ESHS, I say thank you for your service to the development of our nation and our people. In the same vein, I also wish to recognize the contribution and role of the Ministry of Education and the public officers in our education system. Special gratitude must also be extended to the parents, family members and others, who provide support in other ways – whether it is to help the students with their studies and homework, or to create a safe and enabling environment for them.


Graduates, you have earned the right to be proud of your achievement. It has been a long and often times difficult road. You also had to face disruptions to classes and a major change in the way education had to be delivered, during the COVID-19 pandemic Some of you may have had to also deal with trauma and grief within your family and your network.

You have faced these adversities and others, and you have conquered them. You stand here as graduates who have successfully completed your course of study. You have achieved approval to move on to the next stage of your development.

The lesson you must take away is that you are capable of achieving great things once you apply yourself. Your future is bright. There are a lot of people who are here, willing and ready to support you to be the best you can be – from the Premier and the Government to your parents and teachers.

Wherever you go, it is important to remain on a path of continuous learning and development. Choose a career in an area that excites you. That way you will remain engaged and eager to learn about new trends in your field and how you can maintain your competitive edge.

As you move into the next phase of your development – academic and otherwise – further education will be an option. I encourage you to take every opportunity that comes in front of you.

Once again, congratulations to our graduates and may God continue to bless you and light your path.

I thank you.