Education

CR2 and College Ready Bahamas help students become college ready

March 19, 2014

CR2 (College Ready 2), the non-profit arm of College Ready Bahamas (CRB), is now an official partner with the U.S. Embassy. Founded in 2013, CR2 aims to expand tertiary education opportunities to Bahamian students.
There are many opportunities for tertiary education available to Bahamian students -- be it The College of The Bahamas, The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) or international tertiary institutions, there are opportunities for financing tertiary education. Students who prepare and plan early for tertiary education have a higher chance at gaining entrance and scholarship awards. The key is preparation.
CR2 helps students to focus and create a path that makes the student more competitive on the global education stage. Its message to Bahamian students is that college is for anyone who wants to go, and that they can help them find the right fit.
The organization works with colleges and universities worldwide. It also partners with local institutions -- junior and senior high schools, clubs and foundations. The organization thinks of itself as a complement to the invaluable services that junior and high school guidance counsellors perform.
In November 2013, CR2 partnered with the U.S Embassy and hosted College Week Live International Student Day Virtual College Fair which featured over 100 colleges and universities. Students from C.R. Walker School and Mt. Carmel Preparatory were invited to speak with college representatives. In January 2014, CR2 worked along with the U.S. Embassy, the Lyford Cay Foundation, The College of The Bahamas, the Ministry of Education and the College Board for a counsellors training and scholarship forum.
The initiatives of EducationUSA give Bahamian students a great tool with which to navigate the U.S. tertiary education system. We will be able to provide students with the most accurate and current information available due to the network of schools that work along with EducationUSA. Many of EducationUSA services are free, or for a minimal fee.
CR2 works with students through workshops and forums. Students may participate through a membership or can work with individual services. CR2 ensures that its services are either free, or minimally priced, so that as many students as possible may take advantage of the services. The membership provides the student with even more savings. For example, EducationUSA advisors sit with students during the application process to ensure that the scholarship application is completed correctly.
In a workshop setting, the advisors walk students through filling out the application and ensure that they submit all required support documents. Another service CR2 provides is essay critique during which the advisers tell students frequently, that they cannot write their essay for you, but they can help them brainstorm ideas, write a focused outline, and provide professional editing.
CR2's sister company, CRB, focuses mainly on test preparation. CRB provides classes in Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Advanced Placement Calculus. The company also has a foundation math and English course. During the summer months classes are offered in pre-calculus and college writing which are geared specifically towards students who are leaving for college and want to hone their skills.
As the first year of college is a big adjustment they try to ensure that students have exposure to some of the materials they will be expected to know when they get there. The courses make the adjustment smoother and the retention of scholarships easier. CRB is looking to expand into even more test preparation courses.
For CR2 the aim is college readiness -- being academically qualified, financially prepared, and emotionally and socially capable for the rigors of college life. CR2 and College Ready Bahamas have made it their business to help assist more students to be college ready.

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More schools forced to close by dump fire smoke

March 19, 2014

FUMES from the ongoing city dump fire forced the closure of another two schools as winds pushed smoke northeast over New Providence yesterday...

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Teachers discuss effects of VAT

March 13, 2014

A meeting has been held to discuss the issue of VAT with members of the Bahamas Union of Teachers...

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A new day dawns with The Providence School

March 12, 2014

Come September a new learning institute for children in their formative years, known as The Providence School will be an option for parents seeking a different kind of education for their children other than a "black and white book and chalkboard institution", but rather a laboratory where students pursue dreams, cultivate creative ideas and inspire those around them, according to the Head of School, Shacantila Hall-Briggs.
When The Providence School opens its doors it will initially cater to K2 through grade three-aged children in an energetic community where global education, character and service learning are paramount. At the school they aim to develop a more curious, creative, confident, considerate and engaged student to become lifelong learners.
"The moment you set foot on our campus, you'll see and feel our energy: the collective buzz of learning, discovery, creativity, collaboration and enthusiasm," says Hall-Briggs.
The school will offer a varied curriculum derived from common core standards in a hands-on, practical program with small class sizes allowing for more individualized student attention. The head of school says the school was designed to have a small school population and that they are going for 12 students per class as the ideal, but no more than 15, and two classes per grade.
"It will always be a very small school," said Hall-Briggs. "We are determined to hear the voice and meet the needs of each child. Our students and their families will be known by name; what he or she is capable of -- and like you, we won't be satisfied with anything but their best. We know they are capable of becoming more -- more skilled, more confident, more prepared, more cognizant of right and wrong, so we expect more."
The school head said it's been proven time and time again that if the bar is raised, "that students won't meet it, they'll leap over it."
"We want it to be very project-based and hands-on so that students will remember what it is they're doing. And the best way to do that is to have a hands-on approach. So everything that has to do with our curricula is very project-based, hands-on, realistic examples and day-to-day activities so that they can glean whatever they can from it and apply it to everyday life. If it's not something students can use readily, we don't want to harp on it," said Hall-Briggs.
While core subjects like mathematics, language arts, social sciences and religious studies are fundamental to the tenets of the school, the head of school said they are of the belief that there is nothing extra about technology, world languages, fine arts, character and service education and health and wellness. At the school they will be billed as co-curricular activities as vital parts to the school's holistic approach to education.
Balanced education
She said with the balance of academics and their values that promote love, honor, integrity, charity and courage, Providence students will leave their halls with impressive knowledge, faith in themselves and with a commitment to use what they have learnt to make a difference at secondary schools and beyond.
"I give kudos to any child who can be academically grounded, but you also have to be well-rounded. I want to put the emphasis on public presentation. The fact that my [six-year-old] son can speak at the drop of a dime ... you give him a [microphone] and he's ready to roll, I appreciate that. He knows when we get in family meetings that he has to speak and that he has a voice -- we're not going to dumb it down for him. He has to bring himself to the table too, and I think that is what we have to give to our children now. We talk about them being little adults, and try to hush them sometimes and not allow them to speak, but the only way they can speak intelligently is to be well-rounded," she said.
K2 through K5 will be known as the Early Years. Students in first through third grades will be considered a part of the Lower School. Hall-Briggs said a grade would be added each year through sixth grade that would be known as the Upper School.
The education at The Providence School will also take on a global aspect for students beginning at home from as young as K5 being able to travel, initially to the Bahamian islands then branching out into the Caribbean. Opportunities will be available for fourth through sixth graders to visit a different continent every year. When actual travel is not a viable option, Hall-Briggs said students would have opportunities to "cyber-travel" via Skype, You Tube and good old-fashioned handwritten letters.
"At the end of the day I think experience teaches more than any book can," said Hall-Briggs.
Languages will also play an important part in the curricula for all grade levels with Spanish and Mandarin the two options. "Spanish is almost a universal language now and Mandarin is up and coming, and this will be from the little ones straight up to sixth grade."
Students who can contribute
A Providence School the students, she said, will able to think logically, creatively, critically, and will be able to contribute.
"I want them to be recognized for their achievements, but also to bring something to the table, and not just to be one who would sit back. And more importantly, I want when our children apply for secondary school here and abroad, I want them to be able to sit down with the best," said Hall-Briggs. "Unfortunately with our children by the time we get to college, sometimes we realize that we're slower than we thought because we're not exposed. We really are a smart people, and we have a lot to bring, but we have that much to catch up on, when we have children who have been exposed to so many different languages, sports ... the different arts; so one thing I think we have to do is better prepare our children."
As for adding a secondary addition to the school, Hall-Briggs says that is something in the back of her mind, and not something she has "closed the door to." For now the focus is on the formative grade levels.
The school's lunch program headed by her brother, Chef Simeon Hall, will be second-to-none as she doesn't just want her students to eat nutritionally, but to possibly discover if they have little chefs in their bodies from early on. As such the school will have a demo kitchen where they can prepare lunches, with produce grown in the school's garden.
"I think if children grow their carrots or their spinach they'll eat them a lot better than if you go to the market and buy them, and thankfully we have the space to do that," she said. "I really want it to be hands-on, and I want there to be no limits to what we can do with our children."
The Providence School is located on Tonique-Williams-Darling Highway (the old Burger King business office) in a building that is over 9,000-square feet of space and will house a multi-purpose room that can be used as a gym or a meeting space. It will have a science lab, a computer lab, the demo kitchen, garden, school playground and in the near future, a language lab.
All classrooms will have a theme. Hall-Briggs said that for the students it would literally feel like they're leaving home to go to another home.
Comfortable students
Another unique aspect that will make the school attractive to parents wanting something different educationally for their children will be the family atmosphere as Hall-Briggs firmly believes it takes a village to raise a child.
"Outside of parental involvement and selling raffle tickets and coming to have parties, we really want parents to be involved in the school. We want to really give them a voice so that they can be very included in the learning process. Outside from regular conferences and the newsletters, we want to also have parent classes that we have scheduled on the calendar so that they can know exactly what is going on with the school. We really want them involved in the school."
Another distinctive mark of The Providence School will be the uniforms that will allow students to display their creativity and not to be boxed in. Students have the option of wearing a choice of three different polo shirts in orange, kiwi and sea blue for everyday use with khaki bottoms and a striped belt. For formal occasions, like their once-a-month chapel during which they will have community leaders come in to speak to the children, and field trips, boys will don blazers with gingham shirt and khaki pants and girls will wear gingham dresses with navy sweaters.
"I want right down to the faculty to be very comfortable. I want it to be a learning environment, not anything stuffy, so as comfortable as we can be that's what I want. I'm not a huge stickler when it comes to things like that. I want you to look like you're at The Providence School, but I want you to have your own taste, your own style and obviously to be comfortable."
The Providence School has been in the works almost two years, and Hall-Briggs said they are ready for their September launch. They launched the school's website, www.theprovidenceschool.org where people can go and read and the difference about what they're trying to do.
The school's name Hall-Briggs says comes from the fact that the word "providence" means the very direction of the hand of God and because God has been kind to them in the entire process, and a spin on the New Providence as well. The school will host an open house on Saturday, March 15 at the Rainforest Theater between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m.

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Fueling the minds

March 12, 2014

Students at Stephen Dillet Primary School certainly have a story of their own to tell when they become parents.
Many of them can speak to the fact that they were read to by the likes of Dame Marguerite Pindling, wife of the country's first prime minister, Sir Lynden Pindling; Jerome Fitzgerald, minister of education, science and technology; Cynthia "Mother" Pratt, the country's first female deputy prime minister and co-chairman of Urban Renewal and Janet Bostwick, the first woman elected to Parliament.
They were just a few of the more than 30 influential and professional Bahamians from all walks of life to participate in a read-a-thon at the school on Friday, March 7. Former senator and politician J. Henry Bostwick; Canon Basil Tynes, rector of St. Barnabas Anglican Church and Tanya McCartney, managing director at RBC FINCO were also among the many people that donated their time to read to the youngsters.
According to Stephen Dillet School principal, Sheila Scavella, the celebrity read-a-thon was initiated in an effort to motivate students to read more and to improve their reading levels. The school celebrated the month under the theme, "Reading Fuels the Mind".
During her reading session to a first grade class, Dame Marguerite also spoke to the students about her experiences growing up in South Andros -- that people did not have to worry about crime and poverty did not prevent her generation from having manners.
She told them, "Life is like a grindstone, it can polish you up or grind you to dust."
Janet Bostwick shared with students that she is a product of the very same school they attend, and about her growing up on Hogg Island before it was known as Paradise Island.
The book she read to the students was a story about "B Booki and B Rabbi" and a Junkanoo parade at Stephen Dillet Primary School.
Pratt described it as a pleasure to read to the students, particularly since the students were able to meet people who also came up from humble beginnings in the Bain and Grants Town Community.
She said it is programs like the Read-a-Thon that had Bahamian celebrities reading to children that are important because many young students including those at the College of The Bahamas, she said do not know the important leaders of The Bahamas.
Pratt said she would return to the school to assist, especially with the boys, to ensure that they stay on the right path. Pratt read the book "Nelson and Allie" that highlighted the friendship between a boy name Nelson who was HIV-positive and his friend Allie, a girl, and of the many people who tried to break-up the friendship because they did not think Allie should be a friend to someone who had the disease.

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Set your goals and map the course

March 12, 2014

Members of the Junior Achievers (JA) program were encouraged to learn everything they can from JA, as the program prepares them for real-life scenarios and equips them to be productive citizens and business people by Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for Investments in the Office of the Prime Minister.
While K. Darron Turnquest, director of youth in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, challenged them to pursue their purpose and not the dreams of others.
"Do not allow others to dictate your future," said Turnquest. "Set your goals, map your course and create your destiny," he said.
The more than 400 Junior Achievers representing six islands and two countries -- The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos (14 delegates) -- participated in the JA Bahamas' BahamaJac 2014 conference under the Theme "Empowered to Succeed" recently.
During the three-day conference the Achievers toured John Watling's Distillery, Caribbean Bottling Company (Coca Cola), Bahama Mar and paid a courtesy call on Governor General of The Bahamas Sir Arthur Foulkes.
The conference was infused with young professionals who conducted seminars and panel discussions in the areas of medicine, photography, nursing, accounting, law and criminal justice, information technology, culinary arts, public relations, agriculture, marine sciences, banking and education. Additionally, lectures from JA Alumnus Yvette Bethel and Father Ethan Ferguson motivated and educated the students on the art of emotional intelligence and how to keep it real in life.
The conference culminated with a service of praise at Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, with a sermon by Pastor Trent Davis.
The BahamaJac 2014 conference was the climax of JA Month in The Bahamas. The organization that encourages youth development, education, financial literacy and entrepreneurship also held speech competitions, a sports day, radio interviews and a courtesy call with Prime Minister Perry G. Christie.
o For more information on the company program and how your child can become involved visit facebook.com/jabah242 or www.jabahamas.org.

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Study underway on ocean incursions on pine forests on Grand Bahama

March 12, 2014

There are lingering effects of the last few hurricanes to strike Grand Bahama, and now research is underway to produce a baseline study of the impact of seawater on the pine forests of Dover Sound, Queen's Cove and West End.
Dr. Andrew Moxey, assistant professor of chemistry at The College of The Bahamas' Northern Bahamas campus, recently gave a progress report on his investigations named, "Ocean Incursions into the Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribeae) Forest on East Grand Bahama: Impact on Soil Chemistry".
He was one of the presenters at last week's Bahamas Natural History Conference held at The College of The Bahamas' Oakes Field campus.
According to Dr. Moxey, who is conducting the research along with Zeko McKenzie, despite the very frequent incidences of hurricane disturbance the true impact of these events on The Bahamas' coastal and inland ecosystems remains meagerly studied and minimally understood.
The flooding caused by hurricanes like Sandy, Frances, Jeanne and Wilma washed over the pine forests and the soil and in the aftermath left the vegetation scarred and blighted. Strong winds, ocean surges, and salt spray caused even more devastation. Dr. Moxey acknowledged that there is stark visual evidence of the impact of these severe storms. This is what has prompted the scientific investigations which began in December 2013, following Hurricane Sandy.
"The objectives we sought to accomplish [are] basically to document the current ground cover and vegetation conditions across the study area to generate some baseline data. Meanwhile, we wanted to, as best we could, evaluate and document some of the differences in selected soil chemical properties and in the vegetation profiles between what we are calling for this talk, affected areas and unaffected areas," Dr. Moxey explained.
The researchers are also seeking to investigate the most subtle changes such as the nature and extent of chemical changes in the soil by evaluating soil attributes like PH, conductivity, ion distribution and organic content.
One of the challenges to the study has been the period between the initiation of the research and the passing of the last hurricane -- Sandy in October 2012. Dr. Moxey said there were a number of issues to overcome: by then surge levels had receded, washout occurred to a very large extent due to rainfall and to a certain degree the ground cover had begun to change.
"The affected zones are pretty much what you would expect of a healthy pine forest, but when we began to survey and move into what we think are known surge affected areas we can see a distinct depletion in the chlorophyll level in those areas. The crowns of the trees begin to disappear and it even gets worst. And this is what large sections of the forest look like," Dr. Moxey explained.
He added that the researchers are still quite early in their investigations and strong conclusions have not yet been formed.

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P.A. Gibson Primary School students make history

March 12, 2014

Students from Eleuthera's P.A. Gibson Primary School recently received a treat as they were read to by Bahamian media personality and publicist Arthia Nixon from her children's book "The Magic Grouper and Other Tales."
Although under a winter storm watch in Atlanta, Georgia, thanks to technology, the first through sixth grade students were able to view Nixon, an Eleuthera native on a large screen television. They were able to chat and live video stream before Nixon screen-shared her book so they could all read together.
The live read took place during the school's literacy month which was held under the theme "Reading Accelerates Success" which was actually historic for the school. The live read was the school's first live online session.
"My daughter had a snow day so she was able to join in and witness the way Bahamian students say things in unison, observe their manners and it made quite an impression," said Nixon. "I am incredibly humbled and shed a few tears when the school bell rang for lunch and the children didn't want to move."
Nixon said the experience has inspired her to get back into writing for the children of The Bahamas and that she would be dedicating her next children's book to them as well as sending them copies for the school's library.
"I wanted the students to see a Bahamian writer and as luck would have it, Arthia is a Bahamian writer from Eleuthera who meets many demographics," said the school's literacy coordinator and teacher, Gabrielle Goodman. "Arthia's father was at the school the morning of the reading, her little sister is a student here, plus some of the children have parents who attended school with her and because of that, this is someone we can proudly say is one of our own. It was a great reunion for all of us and at the same time, they were inspired to see someone who started off just like them from such a small place end up overcoming obstacles to be successful. She showed them photos from her magazine with people like Kenedi Treasure, Jacob Latimore, Mindless Behavior, Rupee and other celebrities and diplomats to show them how far her writing has taken her."
The school's principal, Levada Ingraham told Nixon that she had given the students a wonderful example of how far reading can take them.
"We at P.A. Gibson pride ourselves as a school of excellence and by using technology to take this tremendous step, we are showing that we are first class in connecting our students to new and exciting opportunities," said Ingraham.
Nixon resides in Atlanta where she is a consultant, publicist, Caribbean media correspondent, publisher of Rise magazine and the youngest editorial member of The Florida Star and Georgia Star African-American newspapers. Her mentor, the owner of the newspapers, Clara McLaughlin, was the first Black woman to own a television station, at a time when Oprah Winfrey was being nationally syndicated.

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'Use education as a weapon for change'
'Use education as a weapon for change'

March 12, 2014

Dr Hubert Minnis, MP and Leader of the Opposition, was the guest speaker at Government High School's Commonwealth Day observances, held on Monday...

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COB Alumni Society donates to Great Commission Ministries

March 11, 2014

On Tuesday, March 4th, following an outreach exercise, the College of The Bahamas Alumni Society directors made a donation of canned goods to Great Commission Ministries...

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The Honourable Hubert Minnis speaks at Government High School Commonwealth Day Celebration-2014
The Honourable Hubert Minnis speaks at Government High School Commonwealth Day Celebration-2014

March 10, 2014

On Monday, March 10th, 2014, Free National Movement Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, was the guest speaker at The Annual Commonwealth Day Celebration at The Government High School...

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Bahamian chosen in first class of HBCU All-Stars

March 05, 2014

Bahamian Shantel Braynen has been chosen by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) to join its first class of HBCU All-Stars, recognizing 75 undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.
Currently enrolled at 62 HBCU's, Braynen, a senior at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Florida, and the other All-Stars were selected from 445 students who submitted applications that included a transcript, resume, essay and recommendation.
An accounting major, Braynen was shocked when she was contacted by the White House.
"I knew it was a competitive process, but I prayed that I would be chosen. I am grateful to have an opportunity to represent Bethune-Cookman and all HBCU students nationally. And I look forward to serving the community more fully," she said.
Over the course of the next year, the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative by providing outreach and communication to their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource. Through social media and their relationships with community-based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.
Braynen, 21, who makes up one of the 45 female strong cohort and the 30 males, will participate in regional events and web chats with Ivory Toldson, deputy director of the WHIHBCUs, other initiative staff and professionals from a wide range of disciplines. They will also have opportunities to engage with other scholars to showcase individual and collective talent across the HBCE community.
"It means a lot to me to have been chosen. I give all the glory to God for the opportunity to be chosen," she told The Nassau Guardian. "It means a lot to be chosen as an ambassador of the White House Initiative to promote education, and because I'm from The Bahamas and I'm at a small HBCU it means a lot to represent all those places and also my family."
She was recommended for the initiative by a professor at Texas A&M University who she met when she visited the school two years ago. Her academics, accomplishments and leadership ability got her accepted.
She is the daughter of Stephen and Rochelle Rolle.
Braynen, who lived in Bahama Sound, Exuma, and attended L.N. Coakley School for two years before departing for university, is a perfect 4.00 grade point average student -- an average she hopes will hold true to form through her graduation in May. She has turned in a perfect record since her freshman year.
"I really value education because I believe knowledge is power, so coming into college I had my goal to stay focused and keep the grades up," she said.
Getting to that point was a process for Braynen. She recalls being a C-average student for most of her formative years until she decided to turn things around.
"In primary school I was the student who just barely got by. In high school I was just a so-so student. The turning point for me was when I had two sisters graduate from high school and I saw how well they did -- one was even a valedictorian, so it was then I decided to take my education a little more seriously." Braynen was a 10th grade student at the time. And when she decided to make that switch, she just did it. She applied herself and saw her grade point average rise to 3.5 and above that easily.
Academically, she is a testament to all children who are struggling and who may not be applying themselves that they can struggle, but that they can make the turnaround as well.
She said it helped that when she went through those years when she did not apply herself to learning that she had parents that drilled into her and her siblings that they wanted them to do well, and that they had sacrificed so their children could receive a good education. Braynen said she knew from a child that she would attend college because her parents always pushed for it. She's just glad she made the turnaround when she did.
Braynen is also a believer in that education comes outside of the books as well. "Education is not just about book knowledge -- and this goes right back to this White House initiative -- if I hadn't gone out to Texas and met other people, then I probably wouldn't have been nominated for this Initiative, so education is much more than just studying a book," she said. "We learn from other people and through talking with others."
Her advise to high school students is to put God first in what they do. She said he would direct their path.
"I didn't see myself in primary school being here [college], but it was all in God's plan so I think first of all if they put God first he'll direct their steps in everything. They should also always have a good attitude, and by that I mean don't complain when they get a lot of work in class, but just have a good attitude, and stay focused. If they want to be a chef go out there and be the best chef they can be. If they want to be a doctor, go and be the best doctor they can be, but just stay focused and do well at what they choose to do."
With weeks to her graduation, Braynen says her immediate goals are to find a job for a few years before applying to graduate school. In 10 years she would like to have her own business and she has dream of one day starting her own mentoring initiative.
"With God all things are possible and it doesn't matter where you come from, but it matters where you end up," she says.
Nelson Mandela's quote "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb," is another favorite of hers and one that she says she hopes Bahamian students would live by as well in their approach to their academics.
"When I graduated from high school I was celebrating that I was over this big hill called high school, but I'm climbing this next hill called college and when I'm finished, there's a next hill called real life, so students should ensure that they have determination when they're climbing the hills throughout life and make sure to have God in their life and be focused to get over those hills. But while climbing the hills to also make sure to help other people up which I try to do now in college by being a role model for other students," she said.

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GGYA benefits touted during promotional event

March 05, 2014

Euphoria shoots through tenth grade student, Arvis Mortimer, when she spots a long awaited sight -- camp lights in the distance. She had spent most of the day trudging along in the scorching sun, carrying about 30 percent of her body weight in a heavily laden backpack.
"This feeling that knowing there is an end to the challenges and difficulties transfers to every area of your life," said Mortimer, now an adult and a Gold Award holder in the Governor General's Youth Award (GGYA) program.
"It doesn't matter how smart you are and how many opportunities you are given, but the fact that you can bounce back from disappointment and keep pressing towards your desires, despite obstacles, is the true reward in this program."
Mortimer, now a volunteer with the youth organization, was one of four past and present GGYA participants who touted the benefits of the program during a recent "run come see" promotional event.
Held on Wednesday, February 26, at St Joseph's Parish Hall on Boyd Road, the two-hour, evening presentation was designed to pique the public's interest in teaming up with the internationally recognized award program.
The GGYA requires participants (14 to 25 years old) to serve a minimum amount of time developing a skill, carrying out a community service and a physical activity. Once they've done all that and successfully completed hiking requirements, they receive either a Bronze, Sliver or Gold Award (typically in that order).
"This program develops grits, resilience, determination, the ability to work in a team and communicate effectively with others. It's only when you progress through each phase and level, that you realize you've actually attained these skills. Furthermore, I believe that these skills are not only important but they are necessary for young people to obtain true success," said Mortimer.
It was a message repeated throughout the night.
"The award program has increased my level of determination and endurance. It has made me realize that I cannot and should not give up," said 14-year-old Stephen Saunders, a Bronze participant and student of C.V. Bethel Senior High School. "I advise people to join the GGYA program because it is very fulfilling. It builds life skills such as team work, stability, endurance and problem solving. You will go through many struggles but it will help you in the future."
Saunders' sentiments echoed the ones expressed by His Royal Highness Prince Edward when he visited The Bahamas back in 2011 to present the Gold Award to 23 young Bahamians in two ceremonies, one held in Grand Bahama and a second in New Providence.
The Earl of Wessex said he realized the program was not a walk in the park.
"I did it as well so I know what you've been through. When you walk out of this room, walk a few inches taller," he said. "There will be friends who will tell you, 'Oh the Governor General's Youth Award, I could do that.' The difference is you know you can. Well done."
Some participants, like Silver Award holder Demetrio Ariza, are nature lovers at heart. Thus, the hiking component appeals to them.
"The pamphlets I saw had cool pictures of participants walking through water and hiking over bridges and I knew from then this was the program for me," said the Aquinas College student. "The GGYA taught me to be more eco-friendly as one of their most famous sayings is to leave a place cleaner than you met it. This attribute didn't just stay at the camp site, or around parents, but even when I was alone."
For Gold participant Xavier Knowles, a student at Government High School, the award program taught him how to work with others "no matter the situation or their culture."
"It helped to shape my leadership skills and helped me to communicate better," he said.
"Run come see" aimed to sensitize the public to the work and impact that the GGYA has on the lives of the nation's youths, according to Everette Mackey, a member of the GGYA's national council.
Amongst other things, he credits the program with teaching youths how to peacefully coexist.
"We have a problem with conflict resolution in the country. Young people do not get along. They believe in resolving issues with guns and knives," said Mackey. "The GGYA teaches you how to get along. Living in a small tent besides others, you are depending on people because they depend on you. We must seek to ensure that our young people have these social skills whereby they could get along."
The government continues to sponsor the GGYA though the Ministry of Youth's, G.O.L.D. Initiative. A funding mechanism, the initiative takes its name from the ministry's mandate to foster greatness, provide opportunity, instill leadership and promote development amongst the nation's youths.
Since the partnership commenced in 2010, the GGYA has enrolled more participants, opened more units and presented more awards than ever before.

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Student news

March 05, 2014

Two Bahamian students receive National Honor Society induction in Florida
A pair of Bahamian students at the Vanguard School in Lake Wales, Florida, were recently selected for initiation into the National Honor Society (NHS).
Cole Carey, son of Mario and Venita Carey of Nassau, and Danielle Bannister, daughter of Desmond and Donna Bannister of Nassau, both received their golden NHS pins from the Vanguard School President Dr. Cathy Wooley-Brown during a special ceremony in February during the school's annual Family Weekend. Carey and Bannister were the only two inductees into the honors organization.
"We're very proud of both of these students," Wooley-Brown said. "Both of them have worked so hard and come so far during their time at Vanguard, and these [honors] are richly deserved."
The pinning ceremony was presided over by NHS sponsor Roy Jones, math department chair for the school. The Vanguard School, an international college preparatory boarding and day school for students with mild to moderate learning differences, now has a group of 20 students who are among the honor society members. Carey and Bannister took their oaths of loyalty to the organization, and will now participate fully in its activities.
Adrian Demeritte named to SJU dean's list
Adrian Demeritte, son of Fealy and Ramona Demeritte of Nassau, has earned the distinction of being named to the dean's list for the 2013 fall semester at Saint John's University, (SJU) Collegeville, Minnesota. Demeritte is a sophomore biology major at SJU.
To be included on the dean's list, students must have a semester grade-point average of at least 3.80 and have completed 12 credits for which honor points (A, B, C, etc.) are awarded. Students included on the dean's list cannot have any "unsatisfactory" or "incomplete" grades for that semester.

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Technical education teachers urged to pursue further training

March 05, 2014

High school technical teachers were recently urged to ensure they are knowledgeable about the latest advances in their fields of study from the Dean of Construction Trades at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Alexander Darville.
Darville told the public school teachers during a professional development workshop that they could not rely on the Ministry of Education to do everything. As instructors he told the teachers that they should always be on the cutting edge of what is happening in the world. As an example, he said an instructor should never say they should not say they could not use an air gun because he likes to use a hammer. He told the teachers that they are the ones preparing students for industry and the work world, and as such they should ensure they are trained.
The workshop that focused on BTVI's role in preparing students for construction and technical trades, student pre-requisite standards and program readiness was held at C.C. Sweeting Senior School. The workshop's theme was, "Designing pathways to the future -- Establishing standards at each level."
Teachers represented government schools that offer technical courses in electrical installation, carpentry, drafting/autocad, plumbing, electronics, auto mechanics, auto body repair, and air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Darville also told the teachers that there was a need for an alignment between high schools and BTVI.
"All the subject matter experts need to bridge the gap. It is far over due to have a relationship with BTVI," he said.
The Ministry of Education's senior education officer for technical studies, Trevor Ferguson, supported Darville's sentiments.
"I agree with you 100 percent that it is far past time to forge a relationship. BTVI is our premier technical and vocational institution and we are the 'nursery' for the training. We need the relationship to take our students to the next level," said Ferguson.
During his recommendations, Darville suggested that all technical instructors should complete the international 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification.
He said that as subject experts, they should also sit at the table when planning the curriculum, a suggestion that meet with applause from the teachers.
The workshop was the opportunity to strategically plan, coordinate and implement efforts for the benefit of the present and future generations of technical workers. Darville said that at BTVI, the goal is to empower students to not only prepare for the world of work, but to also become entrepreneurs.

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GGYA receives glowing endorsements
GGYA receives glowing endorsements

March 04, 2014

Euphoria shoots through tenth grader, Arvis Mortimer when she spots a long awaited sight - camp lights in the distance...

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Plagiarism 'was not intentional'
Plagiarism 'was not intentional'

March 04, 2014

DR Rodney Smith yesterday said an incident that led to a plagiarism row in 2005 "was not an intentional omission" as he made his case to become the president of the College of the Bahamas...

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COB builds links with Cuban universities

February 26, 2014

A HIGHER education delegation, representing the College of the Bahamas, has solidified relationships with two universities in Cuba...

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A strong foundation pays off

February 26, 2014

Gia Paige Soles has always been a Principal's List (grade point average of 3.7 or higher) student, so laying claim to the best overall performance in the 2013 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE)...

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