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‘I thank God for the village because the village raised me’ –Ashaala S. Jenkins

- keynote speaker gave praises to the VI community for saving her life during her darkest moments in high school.
Ms Ashaala S. Jenkins, keynote speaker at the Elmore Stoutt High school (ESHS) graduation ceremony on June 22, 2017 at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex. Photo: VINO
Ms Ashaala S. Jenkins, who is an international gospel recording artiste based in the United States, sought to use her personal story to encourage the graduates as they prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Photo: VINO
Ms Ashaala S. Jenkins, who is an international gospel recording artiste based in the United States, sought to use her personal story to encourage the graduates as they prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - “While my years in high school could have been perceived as the happiest years of my life, my years in high school were some of the darkest moments of my life. It was very hard for me to get through high school in 1992 to 1997.”

This is according to Ms Ashaala S. Jenkins, keynote speaker at the Elmore Stoutt High school (ESHS) graduation ceremony on June 22, 2017 at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.

Ms Jenkins, who is an international gospel recording artiste based in the United States, sought to use her personal story to encourage the graduates as they prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives.

“At the age of thirteen I wanted to commit suicide. We don’t talk about it but it’s real. We sometimes as adults don’t understand what teenagers have to go through and we don’t hear them out,” explained the keynote speaker and past student of the then BVI High School.

She further stated that her father was an incarcerated drug addict and her mother was going through her own struggles.

‘The village raised me’

During her speech, Ms Jenkins of the BVI High School Class of 97, attributed her success to the [British] Virgin Islands community. “I thank God for the village because the village raised me,” stated Jenkins.

Ashaala S. Jenkins named a number of persons who were instrumental during some of the darkest moments in her teenage years. They included: Ms Lorna Dawson, the Pickering family, Mr Al Frett, Mr Harold Malone, a group called the Purple Dragon, and the Stoutt’s family.

Ms Jenkins pointed out that Mr Elmore Stoutt was a part of her village because he was a father figure to her.

“I’m sharing this with you because I know some of you may be going through some dark moments that no one knows about but yet you’re here and that is to be celebrated today.”

What saved your life?

The international singer urged the graduates to think back on the past six years and ask themselves, what saved their lives.

“Was it friends, your faith, your family? These three things are so epic and important in your lives and if I want to leave anything with you today. I just want to say to you class of 2017, don’t forget the three most important F’s in your life – your faith, your family, and your friends.

Ms Jenkins continued, “Make sure that your faith, whatever you believe in, that keeps you sane and focused; continue to do so.  Also, whether it be your immediate family, your extended family, or the village – never reject the village. You know what I mean, those people who will get you together before you even get home...that’s the village. You will go back and remember those people 20 years later, 10 years later, and they will be the pinnacle in your life,” emphasised the key note speaker.

Ms Ashaala S. Jenkins concluded by advising the Class of 2017 to never give up on their passion and to always remember that they’re a big deal.

8 Responses to “‘I thank God for the village because the village raised me’ –Ashaala S. Jenkins”

  • this is real talk (26/06/2017, 17:59) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    by a stand-up woman. Keeping it real. Thanks.
  • chat (26/06/2017, 18:01) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Awesome and inspirational." It takes a village to raise a child."
    • Real (26/06/2017, 21:05) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      This was real talk. She did a great job the smallest child in that complex I believe under stood her and all was encouraged. The entire graduation ceremony was great. a little lengthy but was really great.
  • qc (26/06/2017, 19:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Life has brought us full circle!
    • @ qc (26/06/2017, 20:47) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      You are so far away from the topic. You need to focus and stay on topic.
  • cay (27/06/2017, 08:36) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Very good speech girlfriend
  • please (27/06/2017, 10:10) Like (3) Dislike (11) Reply
    So she attributed her success to the Virgin Islands then moved to the states............hmmmmmm. Guess she no longer need this little Village......................these people....
  • Welsah (28/06/2017, 18:40) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Wow. , she forgot Selwood. Now that's ungrateful .


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