September 10, 2014
Education never stops, and, as such, five Bahamas National Trust (BNT) staff members -- Alannah Vellacott, Shelley Cant, Lindy Knowles, Mark Daniels and Krista Sherman -- have left to pursue environmental studies degrees.
Well-known BNT staff member Shelley Cant, who worked in the education department and who also managed the website for the trust, is at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus in the United Kingdom, where she will be working towards a master's degree in environmental studies.
Cant was also the lead officer in the BNT's Rare Pride Campaign for wetlands and the Shark Campaign, which resulted in The Bahamas receiving status as a shark sanctuary, the first in the Caribbean.
Vellacott, who also worked tirelessly in the education department, returned to South Dakota State University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in environmental science.
Daniels, the Leon Levy National Park Preserve manager since it opened in 2011, is pursuing a master's degree in botany at Miami University in Ohio.
Knowles, who joined the BNT as a science officer in 2009, became a skilled diver and participated in a number of rapid ecological assessments for new national parks as well as leading several mangrove restoration projects. Knowles is pursuing a master's degree in environmental science at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Sherman, who came to the BNT as a project manager of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Marine Protected Areas project, successfully coordinated and completed monitoring protocols for the Exuma land and sea park and a sustainable tourism model for the Exuma cays. Sherman is pursuing a doctorate degree at Exeter University focusing on the Nassau grouper spawning aggregation and population abundance. The trust hopes Sherman's studies will be a helpful key to advancing conservation efforts to establish best management practices for the grouper and sustaining the species.
"We will miss both Shelley and Alannah," said Portia Sweeting, BNT's director of education. "They have contributed in major ways to the BNT's strong environmental education programs, and we know that they will do well in the pursuit of their educational goals."
BNT Deputy Executive Director Lynn Gape said the young environmental officers displayed amazing dedication to the goals and mission of the BNT. She said it had been a joy to watch them develop their skills and interests over the years.
"It is amazing to watch these aspiring young Bahamian scientists progress through initial curious interest, then engaging with local and international scientists and now finally aspiring to further their environmental careers to help address some of the important environmental challenges that face our country," said Vanessa Haley-Benjamin, BNT's director of science and policy.
"We encourage our staff to improve themselves and to pursue higher educational degrees," said Eric Carey, BNT executive director. "This is all part of nation building, whether they return to work for the BNT or pursue other opportunities in the environment arena, they will continue to be friends and supporters of the trust. We wish them all the best and our only regret is that we have not been able to provide more financial support for their educational goals," he said.
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September 04, 2014
Company partners with organizations in donating school bags and supplies for 2014/2015 School Year...
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September 04, 2014
Belinda Wilson, President B.U.T, Back To School Message...
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September 03, 2014
With the start of the new academic school year and reopening of classroom doors at the many institutions around the country, one school tolled its bell for the very first time this month. More than three dozen students were welcomed to an institution that promises to be inclusive and creative, serving as a nurturing community for its pupils and allowing them to explore their unique voices, traits and talents while offering a challenging and project-based curriculum.
While Monday's first day of school was exciting and "absolutely fantastic" for The Providence School's head of school, Shacantila Hall-Briggs, Tuesday's second day possibly trumped her first day feelings. With the second day came the realization that the students had completed their first day and returned to the campus just as excited or even more excited, in some cases, than day one.
"The fact that they were all geared up to go for the new school year made me feel very proud," said Hall-Briggs, admitting that that awareness had brought tears to her eyes.
The Providence School's register started out on Monday with 43 students from K2 through grade four. On Tuesday morning, the school had registered another three students, with an additional two sets of parents calling to stop by later in the day. By the end of this first week, Hall-Briggs believes school enrollment will be 50-strong, which she described as a good start.
While she admits that she has had some parents who have expressed interest in The Providence School's program, who have said they want to see where the school is at after its first year, Hall-Briggs said the draw to the institution for parents has been the fact that people are looking for "more" for their children; this, she believes, The Providence School promises to offer.
"I'm cemented in the thought that people are looking for more, and more of what they think will benefit their child. And I think they want to move away from just the chalkboard mentality and that everything has to be done in a black and white book," said Hall-Briggs. "People are moving towards their children being very engaged, and working along with the process -- with the teacher not just being the instructor, but their children's guide who listens to and opens themselves to what the children want and need also," she said.
"We have had many persons who have said to us 'We will see how you deliver on year one, and then we will partner with you afterwards.' And I think they mean that. Bahamians are very trusting people, but when it comes to their children, they can be very meticulous in where they go and who they allow to rear their children. So I do appreciate the families that have partnered with us in our inaugural year. God has been kind like that," she said.
The head of school said she does not take lightly the trust that parents have given to her school.
Intimate class sizes are also important at The Providence School; there is a maximum of 12 students per class. Preschool classes also have co-teachers to ensure students receive personalized service, which Hall-Briggs said is a draw for parents.
The school's curricula is project and experiential-based and includes technology, which Hall-Briggs said parents want for their children.
The Providence School has tapped into a number of different curricula for its program. Teachers use GO Math!, which offers an engaging and interactive approach to covering the common core standards, and supplement it with Singapore Math, which refers to teaching methods which focus on children both learning and mastering a limited number of concepts each school year; the goal of this combined use is for learners to perform well based on a deeper level of understanding, not just test preparation.
The school will use Write Source for its language program. The program prepares students to master the writing process, key writing, grammar, usage and mechanics, and is supplemented with technology.
"Most of our core subjects have a technological component to it, so apart from using their books, we have eReaders with all of the core subjects and programs to go along with it. We went to National Geographic for science, because I think they're the authority and that it is very tech based. I went into a science class [Tuesday] morning, and the students could not believe their book was coming alive, so that has been a good thing to watch," she said.
The Providence School will use the Ministry of Education's curriculum for social studies, but the school's administration has peppered it with civics and history, including world history, for the upper school, to ensure that teachers are producing global-minded students.
"We've tapped into many of the different curricula to make sure that we integrate it, but more importantly that the students are well balanced," said Hall-Briggs.
In her address to teachers before The Providence School's doors officially opened, she encouraged staff members to deliver on their promises.
"We really do want our children to be better academically, and be more rounded in terms of their view of our local village and globally," she said.
"We [staff] have been in training for many months now. We went outside of even the traditional orientation period, and I was very excited to see that our teachers were geared up and ready to go on Monday. And Tuesday it went off like clockwork again -- everyone was ready for their schedules to kick in - and they did beautifully - and I was pleased with that," she said.
Besides watching the children parade into the new school for the new school year, Hall-Briggs said she was just as exited to see how eager the parents were to begin the journey with The Providence School. She said, throughout the process, many of them partnered with the school's administration to make the process better and lent themselves to the school.
The dream of owning her own institution has finally come to fruition, but more than having a school, Hall-Briggs said she wants to produce well-rounded children.
In an effort to make a Providence School education more accessible to those students whose parents might not be able to do it financially, the school has established a philanthropic arm -- The Providence Hall Foundation to assist deserving families with merit as well as need-based scholarships. The foundation will be chaired by Hall-Briggs' parents, Simeon and Linda Hall. The foundation will seek sponsors to partner with.
Providence School hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The school is located at the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, behind Burger King. Hall-Briggs hopes to add a fifth grade next year, with a sixth grade in the following year.
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September 03, 2014
Cindy Thompson, Jaynelle Rahming and Evan Rahming learned that hard work pays off and were rewarded for the outstanding grades they received in the last academic year through the Custom Computers Ltd. seventh annual "'A's for Excellence" campaign.
Primary, high school and college students who received at least one "A" grade on their final report cards for the 2013-2014 academic school year were invited to enter random drawings for a chance to win a desktop computer, laptop or tablet.
Thompson, the winner in the college category, won a Samsung 3 Galaxy Tab. The College of The Bahamas student who is pursuing her second degree - a bachelor of science degree in mathematics - has already earned an accounting degree while holding down a job.
The college winner's goal is to eventually become a lecturer at COB. She was also recently accepted into a school in Belgium, where she will pursue a master's degree in statistics at Ghent University, which is known for its wide-ranging scientific research.
Jaynelle, a student at St. John's College, received a 15.6-inch Samsung laptop during the award ceremony at the Custom Computers Know-How Store in Harbour Bay.
The soft-spoken eighth grader, whose favorite subject is English, had earned eight "A" grades on her final report card.
At the presentation event, the award winner was accompanied by her parents, Danielle and Jason Rahming; twin brother, Jason, who also participated in the campaign; younger sister, Jada; two grandmothers and two aunts.
Evan, the son of Eddie and Deidre Rahming, is a student at Maurice E. Moore Primary School in Grand Bahama; he won an HP 18.5-inch all-in-one desktop PC. As he was traveling, his prize was received on his behalf by his two aunts, Dandria Miller and Valencia Rahming.
The parents of the Grand Bahama student wrote an email to Custom Computers detailing that one of their son's initial comments was that he had to thank his teachers for pushing him so hard.
"As he now enters high school, this achievement will hopefully serve as an impetus for him to continue to excel at his studies. Having a desktop of his own will most definitely be of practical assistance in this regard," they wrote.
In a new category, the Family Island school with the most entries received a multifunction machine (printer/fax/scanner/copier). The award was won by Ulric H. Ferguson Primary in Crooked Island; 15 of its 24 students were able to take part by earning at least one "A" grade.
Principal Gretchen Rolle was accompanied by her senior assistant, Glendamae Thompson, to pick up the school's prize. Rolle said that, during the past academic year, she and her staff had been determined to establish a computer lab at the school, and were able to do just that after conducting a fundraising effort that netted them financial assistance and a donation of seven computers. Having achieved that goal, they were in the process of requesting help with the purchase of a copier for the lab, when Rolle received an email from Custom Computers.
"When we saw that the "'A's for Excellence" campaign said that a Family Island school that had the most entries could win a multifunction machine, I told my staff about it, and I said to Mrs. Thompson, 'We need to get the kids to enter this competition'," said Rolle.
She thanked Custom Computers for creating a category for Family Island Primary Schools and thanked her hardworking teachers for teaching the students and encouraging them to always do their best. She also thanked the parents, because, she said, without their support the school's students would not have been able to make the grade.
Every student at Ulric H. Primary will also receive a Custom Computers goodie bag containing school supplies.
A total of 724 students from across the country took part in this year's "'A's for Excellence" campaign. Together, they earned 5,712 "A" grades.
"We have more than 700 good news stories we are celebrating today," said Pia Farmer, Customs Computers director. "We really want to honor all of the students who entered, and also the support system that the children have, because they can only excel when they have people around them to lift them up, to give them ideas, to support their creativity. And the teachers, because every day they go enthusiastically into that classroom to impart knowledge and to create our lifelong learners."
Farmer encouraged students to continue to work hard in school and participate in next year's "'A's for Excellence" campaign.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald thanked Custom Computers for once again holding the event, and congratulated all of the entrants, their family members, mentors and educators for their hard work and dedication to academic excellence.
"Everything begins and ends with education," said Fitzgerald. "We understand how important education is and the role it plays in our national development. That's why it's so important that we look at education as a national collaborative effort. As the minister of education, I welcome every opportunity I get to meet with the private sector to encourage private-public partnership, because we're all in this together," said Fitzgerald.
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September 03, 2014
Students from the BTC Scholars Programme at The College of The Bahamas joined in to give back at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company's (BTC) second annual School Aid event at Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace. The 10 students, who received academic scholarships from the telecommunications company, teamed up with BTC iVolunteers, community leaders, educational speakers and health and grooming professionals, to prepare 400 students from the Department of Social Services, Urban Renewal, Families of All Murder Victims (FOAM), and BTC's adopted Old Bight Mission Home for the new school year.
The COB scholars served as chaperones and mentors to the young students during the School Aid event. Boys received haircuts at the grooming station while girls got manicures. Dental and health screenings were also offered. Each child was able to select a book of his or her choice to take home from the bookstore, and every child left the event with a BTC backpack filled with school supplies and a $35 grocery voucher.
The children and parents were not the only ones to receive gifts. BTC also awarded each of the scholars with a $250 gift certificate to defray the costs of books and supplies.
BTC scholar Kenique Pinder, a senior in COB's psychology program, said she was excited when BTC approached her about participating in the BTC School Aid event. She said working with children is her calling.
"My passion is kids. Ever since my BTC scholarship allowed me to remain at COB, I have been pursuing a career in child psychology, so I have had a blast working with the children here today."
Fellow BTC scholar Adrian Culmer, a third-year student in COB's computer and application programming program, said that he also enjoys working with children, but his main motivation to give back is thankfulness for what he has been given.
"BTC gave so much to me. Having this BTC scholarship has empowered me to be able to focus on my education rather than worry about tuition, so I definitely want to pass that on and give back to these kids," he said.
During the event Culmer also told the children that good grades do not come easily. He encouraged them to be persistent and work toward getting those grades.
"Have discipline, keep focused and always put God first; those are my keys to success," said the BTC scholar.
Pinder, Culmer and eight other students were selected in 2013 to receive scholarships via the BTC Scholars Programme. The $250,000 program was established to provide higher education for academically qualified, but financially challenged, COB students who have graduated from public high schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama or any of the Family Islands.
Indira Collie, manager of internal communication at BTC and lead organizer of the School Aid event, said that she was happy that the BTC Scholars shared their sponsor's generosity and appreciation for the importance of education, but was not surprised.
"At BTC we recognize that education is key. We are more than happy to invest in the development of these school-age youngsters at BTC School Aid, just as we were happy to invest in the futures of our BTC scholars a year ago. The fact that our scholars recognize the value of education and have multiplied what we have given to them by giving again to these children today is a testament to the caliber of students COB chose for our program and the crucial role that corporate citizens like BTC can play in uplifting a community," said Collie.
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September 03, 2014
Four more students have the opportunity to receive secondary private school educations for the 2014-2017 academic years through the Tara Xavier Hepburn Foundation.
Former T.A. Thompson student Ralph Sealy, former C.H.Reeves School student Shania Lewis, former H.O. Nash Junior School student Nastacia Turnquest and Monique Chandler of The T.A.R.A. Project and St. John's College were the hardworking recipients. The addition of the four students brings the total number of scholarships awarded by the foundation since the scholarship program's inception to 26.
The Tara Xavier Hepburn Scholarship is open to graduates of government junior schools and students of St. John's College and St. Anne's School who have successfully completed grade nine. The scholarship is tenable at St. John's College and St. Anne's School, at the cost of approximately $5,000 per student.
To be considered for a scholarship, an applicant must be nominated by his or her school, attain at least a 3.0 grade point average, have demonstrated leadership ability and/or community involvement, be of good moral character and successfully pass a minimum of five Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) subjects, receiving a C grade or better in English and mathematics. An applicant also may be required to attend an interview. The Tara Xavier Hepburn Scholarship covers full tuition and the cost of books.
The Tara Xavier Hepburn Foundation was launched on December 29, 2006 to celebrate the life of an Tara Hepburn, who was an exceptional young Bahamian who died at the age of 30 while studying law after earning a psychology degree. Hepburn's family, devastated after their loss, decided to keep Tara's memory alive through a scholarship for high school students.
The foundation is dedicated to the holistic development of young people by empowering them to achieve a positive sense of self and to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and contributing citizens. A goal of the foundation is to encourage young Bahamians to take maximum responsibility for improving themselves.
Donors including Lyndhurst Limited, Richard Campbell Limited, Dr. Livingston Marshall, and the Anglican Central Education Authority, make the work of the foundation possible.
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September 03, 2014
Isaiah Strachan recently joined the list of students at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) who have been afforded the opportunity to continue studies abroad on an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarship.
The 22-year-old, who is headed to Holland College in Canada for the fall semester, will join BTVI student, Diane Smith, both of whom will study electronics engineering. Following the semester abroad, both students are expected to return to BTVI to complete their associate of applied science degrees in electronics engineering installers and repairs.
The 2009 graduate of St. Augustine's College (SAC) said he was initially shocked at the prospect of heading to Canada for a semester, however, he now keenly awaits the journey.
"I am looking forward to the experience in a new country and seeing snow. I am also looking forward to learning new things in electronics engineering."
The scholarship, granted by the Canadian government, provides students from Latin America and the Caribbean with short-term exchange opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
BTVI Manager and Consultant Dr. Iva Dahl emphasized to Isaiah that he is now an ambassador for the institution at Holland College. She expressed confidence that he will do well, adding that the sky is the limit.
Coordinator of Student Affairs Raquel Bethel described Isaiah as a stellar student who has demonstrated he is one of the best in the electronics program. Bethel encouraged Isaiah, who has a strong academic background, to become actively involved in campus life, and make the best of the experience.
Valentino Burrows, who spent the 2014 spring semester at Holland College, said his study abroad program was a great experience.
"The professors at Holland are passionate about what they're teaching. They push you. I never connected with people that quickly. There was a bond formed and I felt like I knew them for years. I even found time to play football with the Prince Edward Island Privateers," he said. "If it wasn't for BTVI, the door may not have been opened for me," said Burrows, who was a part of the energy systems engineering program.
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September 03, 2014
The dream of a college education at The College of The Bahamas (COB) has become easier to obtain through the Zonta Club of New Providence's recent move to increase its scholarship fund by $5,000.
"We consider it a priority to equip all young female students who have shown promise in their studies with the necessary tools to become successful," said Zontian Theresa Moxey-Adderley. "So it was a natural step for us at the Zonta Club of New Providence to recognize that we had to do more in such a tight economy. And we have such a wonderful group of outstanding, determined women who want to give back to society that it was a unanimous decision for us all to come together and increase the education fund."
The grant fund is allocated by COB every year to a mature female student -- at least 25 years old -- who has earned an associate degree and wants to pursue a bachelor's degree. The new endowment was established in honor of entrepreneur, philanthropist and humanitarian Betty Kelly Kenning at COB to continually fund the higher education pursuits of mature female students.
The country's leading women's organization last year contributed $50,000 for the creation of the Zonta Club of New Providence Betty Kelly Kenning Memorial Endowment and Scholarship. The donation was noted as particularly significant in that it was a gift to the Zonta Club from Kelly Kenning herself -- part of her bequest at the time of her passing, several years ago.
The endowment has received noteworthy attention, given that it specifically targets mature female learners.
Zonta Club of New Providence President Marisa Smith, in a recent publication to all members, said there is still a lot of work left to do to empower more women.
"As women in our country, we have accomplished much progress both personally and professionally, but there is still a long way to get more sisters onboard this train that will empower them to experience some success and dignity for them and their families," she said.
"When girls and women across the developing world have been asked what they want for their future, the resounding answer is education, jobs, healthcare and security, said Smith.
It is a move the organization hopes will mobilize more future female leaders.
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September 03, 2014
Something that I've always highlighted in my teachings over the years is the universal law of cause and effect, which the great Emerson referred to as the law of laws -- that's how very important Emerson thought this law was. Now the essence of the law of cause and effect is, that as we sow -- so shall we reap, or what we put out each and every day in the form of thoughts and actions will indeed return to either haunt or reward us, depending on their nature. So to put it simply which is what I like to do in these articles, we will receive rewards.
Now the rewards which we receive for the efforts which we have put out, can be tangible or intangible. The tangible rewards for let's say the daily work we do, is of course the money we make for our everyday efforts. This is a most important and indeed necessary reward for our daily contributions at work. However, the intangible rewards are very important too; in fact, to many they are even more important. The intangible rewards are the way in which we inwardly feel, the satisfaction we get from doing an excellent job and thus getting great results.
So, let's never lose sight of the fact, that there are these two kinds of rewards -- tangible and intangible, and of course they're both important to most people as we all need the hard earned cash we receive as salary for working; however let's never forget the intangible rewards too -- that's the feelings of satisfaction we get from knowing that we did an excellent job.
I recently got a friend request from someone on Facebook, which I duly accepted. This new Facebook friend then made a post on Facebook to the effect that she had been listening to me on the radio for a long time, and in her words, she always wanted to be like me. Today, she's actually facilitating leadership training seminars as she assists individuals and organizations to build effective leaders.
Believe me, the inner feeling that I had been able to influence this young lady in such a positive way really touched me deeply. It was a most wonderful reward for the work which I do, and indeed have been doing now for quite a long time in helping to motivate and inspire people around the globe to excel and succeed. Yes indeed, always remember that rewards are tangible and intangible.
o Think about it!
Visit my website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.
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August 28, 2014
As regulation and legislation become increasingly detailed and demanding, the role of the Director is becoming more risky...
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August 28, 2014
EDUCATION Director Lionel Sands said yesterday despite the many challenges that plagued Uriah McPhee and Stephen Dillet Primary Schools last year, both institutions are expected to open "without any problems" on September 1...
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August 27, 2014
NEWS of Dr Rodney Smith's appointment to the top spot at the College of the Bahamas was met with approval from his student body at an American university...
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