Considering the COVID-19 era, St. Augustine’s College senior Shaylaine Roker says it is important for people to remember that failing does not make a person a failure, and hardships do not determine their number of successes. The important thing she says is for people to continue to strive by taking one step at a time.
“Oliver Goldsmith reminds us that, ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,’” said Smith, 17, as she led the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) Vision (Visionaries Initiating Solutions; Inspiring Opportunities Nationwide) sweep of New Providence’s Junior Achievement Toastmasters competition with the topic “Innovative Dreams; Virtual Realities” which was livestreamed on Facebook.
Her schoolmate and company mate 12th grade student Janae Ingraham, 17, was second.
Fellow company mate, Tymia Johnson, 17, a 12th grade student at Kingsway Academy was third. Johnson was last year’s New Providence and national speech winner.
Roker advances to the national competition which will be held virtually on Saturday, February 27, during BahamaJAC 2021.
According to Smith, it is through creativity, ingenuity, resiliency, then stepping out of the box, that people take innovative dreams to virtual realities.
“Everyone has a dream or a longing to be happy or successful. Whatever the dream may be, the reality will not be seen without hard work, determination, and sacrifice. These dreams or goals represent what we think of ourselves, what we can achieve and how hard we are willing to work to achieve them.”
The 12th grade student says her dream is to become the first female prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. But she questioned whether that dream is still attainable.
“[The year] 2020 brought a multitude of challenges with the introduction of the first pandemic since 1920 and out of an abundance of caution, life as we knew it instantly changed. Countless businesses ceased operations, hospitalizations and the need for [personal protective equipment] grew greater than the world has ever fathomed and our number one industry – tourism, the main revenue driver for the destination failed to meet our country’s financial needs. Recently, it has become increasingly common to give up on one’s dream. The incessant reminders of society’s impossible to achieve standards, the constant negative world news, along with a pessimistic outlook do everything but incite creativity. In fact, it breeds despondency and hopelessness,” said Roker.
But she says every new obstacle presents new challenges and every dream even if its deferred can be achieved.
“In our new reality we must have the strength to find alternative methods to reach our ultimate goals. Look at the new President of the United States of America Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. who finally became president at the age of 78, the oldest to have ever done so. A dream deferred is not a dream denied. Best-selling author Stephen King’s first novel ‘Carrie’ was rejected 30 times before he sold it, now over 350 million copies have been printed and sold to date. A dream deferred is not a dream denied. Or Thomas Edison who failed 1,000 times before inventing the revolutionary lightbulb. A dream deferred is not dream denied. Whatever our new realities, I’m convinced that we have the strength to overcome.”
Roker says surmounting disasters and ensuring that dreams are by no means deterred means that you should never stop fighting and never stop dreaming.
“I believe that my dreams, our dreams can still be accomplished. For It is now that we must find alternative methods or avenues to reach the end goal. In our new reality is where we find new beginnings. This is where new industries are introduced, where new skills are cultivated, and true and necessary education is learned.”
To that end she said it is imperative that people maintain focus.
“Write the goal, implement a plan, and seek guidance from a mentor on how to clear a path. Surround yourself with positive thinkers – those who meet the standards of the person you want to become, [and] those with similar goals.”
The SAC student said you should remember to nurture your passions and work consistently to achieve the impossible.
“Fighting for something that you really wanted has never been easy, nor will it ever be – however, it has always been worth it. Even if the end goal is not immediately accomplished, you are left with unmatched motivation and a renewed sense of determination. It is important to remember that failing does not make you a failure and hardships do not determine your number of successes. We must continue to strive by taking one step at a time. Oliver Goldsmith reminds us that ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,’” she said.