THE American University of Barbados (AUB), School of Medicine Best Graduate for Fall 2018, Amy Emtage, was awarded the first Valedictorian honours at the recently held First Annual Graduation Ceremony at the AUB Building, Wildey, St. Michael. Emtage with a quiet demeanour thanked the university for years of support and acknowledged that the evening was about celebration. “Today we are celebrating the accomplishments of these graduates. Today we recognise the years of focus, perseverance and hope they have invested in the pursuit of medicine. Each and every one of these graduates had a unique story but what we share in common is our desire to serve in medicine.” Emtage passionately explained the highs of overcoming challenges and celebrating victories, gaining new friends and the support of one another despite the differences in personalities, nationalities and strengths. The Valedictorian stated that some of the memories of the journey were not good ones but made them stronger. “Some memories are difficult in hearing but made us stronger. We will always remember the first time we watched a patient die after a long and hard fought road or when we had to share bad news with an expecting mother or when we listened without judgement as a patient shared their stories behind each one of their scars.” Then came the memories which Emtage said were worth the wait. “Other memories are rewards we wait and work for so patiently. Catching a baby during delivery for the first time, seeing a patient come off the ventilator to wake up and recognise their family or watching an addict come clean after months of comprehensive therapy,” it was pointed out. The valedictorian also remembered those times of laughter and bonding such as cooking with classmates and studying after class along with getting fish and chips in Oistins on Fridays. Emtage also admitted to sharing moments of fun during histology labs, where some talented students practiced their tattoo art skills while the professor was not looking. Encouraged by friends to love, enjoy life and be themselves and by mentors to strive to be better than themselves and to overcome, Emtage was clear in her address. She believes that the culmination of memories had made them who they were and said that she hoped that as the graduates left with their diplomas, that they would remember the friendships built and experiences shared because – success is who you become and not what you achieve.

By André Springer