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By Latrishka Thomas

“Sleepless nights, a lot of tears and a lot of pep talks,” are what one bright Antiguan student – recently named valedictorian at a prestigious Canadian university – says was the recipe to her success.

Thirty-year-old Jennaecia Lewis graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) honours degree from St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She told Observer that her tenacity for academic excellence is what led her to this major accomplishment.

“I also had my own mantra: Bs don’t make degrees. I took every assignment seriously, despite the weight that it carried. An A minus was a fail in my books,” she remarked.

In addition, Lewis said that “being involved at the University also contributed to my successes”.

Not only was she focussed on learning about social and cognitive behavior but she was also president of the University’s Psychology Society for two years – a role she said “opened a lot of doors”.

But the scholar opined that “intrinsic motivation and having a supportive circle are what drove me most to excel”.

The Jennings resident urged other students to never doubt themselves.

She said, “One of my biggest regrets is not having pursued further education until a later age. I always doubted myself and that resulted in me keeping myself back. I always knew that I had the potential to succeed at anything that I focussed on, but I got in the way of my own successes for a long time.”

 Lewis further encouraged students saying, “take your education seriously” and “don’t settle for just passing”.

“Having an education will open doors for you beyond your imagination. It is not to be taken lightly. You will never see average people in the same places that you see an exceptional one,” she added.

The valedictorian thanked her parents and professors for their support throughout her studies. She also expressed gratitude to the large Antiguan cohort in Halifax and the Minister of Education.

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