Education

All-Bahamas Merit Scholar finishes first year at university with honors

July 16, 2014

Shannon Butler, who was arguably one of the brightest minds to graduate high school in 2013, has completed his one-year university foundation program in the British pre-med system and is now eager to commence his medical school studies in September.
"I'm really excited to start medical school so that I can finally begin what I love," said Shannon, the 2013 All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, who aspires to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Shannon, who is at home for summer break, finished his first year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland with grades that he said were satisfactory. Shannon took organic and biological chemistry, human biology, introduction to medicine, statistics, academic English and medical ethics in his second semester and finished the year with a lot of distinctions in individual classes, and the program in its entirety with honors. In the British system, everything is graded on a 20-point scale -- grades of 17 and above are classified as distinction, grades from 14-16.9 are upper second-class honors, 11 to 13 lower second and anything below an 11 a failure.
In September he will enter the six-year medical program that he says is perfect for people who know that they only want to study medicine.
"It avoids all of the extraneous requirements of other systems where you have to get a bachelor's degree and do lots of hours of research and community service, and you always try to have the top grade point average (GPA) and all of that stuff," said Shannon.
Even though the study habits he had adopted held up through his first year at university, he's anticipating that things will now have to change for him as he enters the rigorous program.
"With medical school you don't really have much coursework and many assessments -- it's really all about studying. I was actually reading the student handbook a few days ago and for my first year, in both semesters, I only have two assessments -- a mid-term that is 25 percent and my final exams which are 75 percent -- so basically this upcoming year it's going to be studying every single day."
After his first semester at university he had described the experience and adjustment as tough. He was homesick. His second semester was a different experience. He returned to the campus adjusted and with a solid group of friends. He experienced less homesickness and felt more at home in Scotland that he said resulted in an experience that was more enjoyable for him.
"I knew the ropes so things got a bit easier for me. I started out not liking the place that much, but now I'm actually excited to return to Scotland," said Shannon.
He's not only eager to return to his studies, but to the town he's grown to love which he said has a "charm" that he did not realize it had when he first went there.
"I always wanted to be in a big city, but now I basically realize that I like the small town. I get to see a lot of people -- almost everyone that I know...professors, students, all around the town and it [town] has a lot of history and a lot of beauty to it with the pier and the beach, and even the wilderness and farms outside of it."
During his first year he extended his education beyond the classroom. He made the first of what he expects to be many sojourns over the next six years into Europe by visiting The Netherlands. In the period between the end of his exams and his first-year graduation, he and his friends visited Amsterdam. They took the train to the countryside to look at small towns and to view the famous Dutch windmills.
At home, Shannon is relaxing in preparation for his return to Scotland. After his first week at home, he lent his services to his former high school teacher for two weeks for a chemistry course work preparation class. Shannon helped the tenth grade students with course work, writing lab reports and conducting experiments.
For the remainder of the summer break he plans to relax to prepare himself for the upcoming medical program.
"I just want to hopefully relax and leave the work experience, the research and the internships all for next summer and all the summers after that," he said.
"Actually, the school does not encourage trying to prepare yourself for medical school, because it says all that studying will come in time, and actually as soon as you arrive. I spoke with a teacher of mine who actively encourages taking breaks when breaks are given."
Shannon said his reading this summer will be for his enjoyment. He is currently engrossed in a fantasy book.
Shannon amassed a total of $146,000 in scholarships to help fund his education -- the All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, a four-year $140,000 scholarship. He was also named the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's 2013 valedictorian and awarded a $6,000 scholarship.
He's also known for his focus. The former Queen's College student in high school distinguished himself with an impressive academic record, having achieved 10 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) awards with nine A grades and one B grade. The results earned him the award for the best BGCSE results in the country; the best results from an independent school student and the highest award in mathematics.
Shannon's advice to graduates who are preparing to transition into university life is to ensure that they attend a school that they really like, and to ensure that they pick a course of study that they like.
"Just make sure that you're in a healthy environment and be prepared to buckle down and do your work, pull all-nighters and study as much as necessary to get the grades that you need. But also try to genuinely enjoy yourself and have a great time," said the former Q.C. head boy and valedictorian.

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Young men top Temple Christian School's 2014 graduating class

July 16, 2014

Temple Christian School's 2014 graduating class was reminded that to succeed, they would need to have a sense of personal direction.
"In order to have the results you desire in the future, you must commit yourselves to embracing the necessary attributes and skills that will keep you engaged like the magnetized needle in a compass that automatically swings to magnetic north," said Marcellus Taylor, the Ministry of Education's deputy director with responsibility for planning and development.
His words to the graduating student body came as the top awards given out during the ceremony were snagged by three young men -- Daniel Jagessar, Terrance Arnold and Cameron Johnson.
Jagessar, the head boy was named class Valedictorian and received the Principal's Award. He took home top awards for mathematics, English Language, physics, biology, chemistry, religious studies and Spanish and the second place prize for Graphical Communication. He also received the Most Outstanding Student Award for mathematics, the BTC General Manager's Award and a four-year scholarship from BEC to attend The College of The Bahamas because of his participation in the Technical Cadet Corps Programme.
Arnold, the deputy head boy captured the Salutatorian Award. He received first place prizes for graphical communication and physical education and second place prizes for mathematics and physics. He was also given the Spirit Award for his participation in soccer and track and field. Johnson graduated in third place. He obtained first place prizes in Literature and Art and Design and the second place prize for English Language. He received honorable mention from Savannah College of Art and Design for his comic book entered in the college's art competition.
Taylor told the graduates that employers are looking for candidates who stand out from the crowd and who are qualified for the job.
"Your compass for the future should point you in the direction of acquiring the college degree, and or training, that you will need to secure the career that you desire," he said. He also reminded the members of the graduating class that employers want to hire people who possess good work ethics and that punctuality, high attendance and good moral character are among the top criteria that capture the attention of employers.
Taylor further told the graduates that employers were interested in team players who exhibit flexibility and adaptability. He told the students to allow their compass for the future to point them in the direction to evolve into lifelong learners. He encouraged the graduates to commit to a future of following a compass that will guide them to ultimate satisfaction, which involves positive accomplishments.

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Student internship programs take off at Baha Mar

July 16, 2014

Bahamian college students have the opportunity to soar this summer as the eight-week Summer Dream Team Associate program, one of three coveted student internship programs at Baha Mar, got underway. The internship programs are geared towards students at various stages in their education.
The Junior Jet-Setter program for high school students started on July 7. The Jet-Setter program for recent college graduates will start on July 21. These internships provide the opportunity for students to explore careers in hospitality while experiencing the Baha Mar environment in diverse areas such as environmental planning and sustainability, creative arts, marketing and finance.
"These outstanding students are the future of the Bahamian hospitality industry. These internships at Baha Mar demonstrate the diversity of the industry and show the students that if they have the right attitude and an aptitude for service, they can have a career in hospitality regardless of their area of study," said Baha Mar Chief Operating Officer Paul V. Pusateri. "Together we can transform [The] Bahamas and create a better future for our country".
The summer programs will lay the foundation for Baha Mar's better-than-best service culture among potential employees. The Junior Jet-Setter program will run for two to three weeks at a time, teaching the high school students how to prepare for successful careers. The Jet-Setter and Summer Dream Team associate interns will teach more specific workplace skills.
The college students and recent graduates will learn skills such as time management, professionalism, and critical thinking in addition to function-specific skills such as guest services that will prepare them for future job opportunities with Baha Mar.
One of the most unique aspects of the internships will be the chance to learn service standards and global perspectives from representatives of the exclusive resort brands at Baha Mar -- Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, SLS and the centerpiece of the resort, the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel.
Candidates are hand-selected for each of the programs based on their performance in school, participation in extra-curricular activities and in-person interviews with Baha Mar Academy representatives.
The Junior Jet-Setter program selected only the top candidates from 350 applicants for the first session that started last week and competition for the college level programs was also healthy, as the internships could lead to potential job opportunities at Baha Mar.
High school students and recent college graduates will still have the chance to participate in upcoming Junior Jet-Setter and Jet-Setter programs that will begin in the coming weeks.
Applications for the Baha Mar Jet-Setter and Junior Jet-Setter programs are available at www.bahamar.com/careers/opportunities under the "Current Job Openings" tab.
o To learn more about internship programs and career opportunities at Baha Mar please follow Baha Mar Careers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or email careers@bahamar.com.

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Fear motivation or desire motivation

July 16, 2014

There are unfortunately a whole lot of people who are using fear motivation on both young people and indeed adults, without really fully understanding its destructive, negative impact on others. Let's face it, as I stated before on many occasions in these articles, we initially learn the behaviors we exhibit as children by observing those around us. So if they did things wrong, well then, it logically follows that we will continue to do it wrong until such time as we become aware that by and large fear motivation is indeed counterproductive.
I myself was indeed programmed in my youth with a whole lot of fear motivation by my parents, and in particular by my mother who always used it -- you better do this or else this will happen! I'm quite sure that everyone is indeed quite familiar with what I'm alluding to here today. So, having learnt all about fear motivation at a young age from my parents, I obviously continued to use it on everyone until thank God I became associated with Dr. Denis Waitley who was the author of many bestsellers dealing with human behavior, including "The Psychology of Winning'" "The Winner's Edge" and "Being Your Best" to name a few.
From my association with Dr. Waitley I facilitated his "Psychology of Winning" seminar around the globe for major corporations, I learnt firsthand so to speak about the absolute importance of using desire motivation in order to get good results from people both young and old. Dr. Waitley states quite clearly, that we should only use fear motivation when there's a possibility of danger. However, on all other occasions we should always use desire motivation if we wish to get excellent results from people.
In his bestseller "The Psychology of Winning" Dr. Waitley states the following: "We are always moving toward our current dominant thought". This is absolutely true. So, when we use fear motivation by saying to a child for example, you better not fail your exams, or if a manager or supervisor tells one of their employees not to mess up a certain task or else, well then that person is actually programming the child or adult to do exactly what they don't want them to do by placing the thought of failure in their mind, which they will then move toward.
So, always, always use desire motivation on people young and old if you want to really motivate them and thus get excellent results from their actions. Use phrases like "I know you'll do a great job," or "I have absolute faith in you to succeed" ... etc. This type of desire motivation is very effective. Try it and see for yourself. I guarantee you'll be glad you did!
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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Student Internship Programs Take Off at Baha Mar:
Student Internship Programs Take Off at Baha Mar:

July 15, 2014

Best and Brightest Young Bahamians to Learn Teamwork and Service Culture at the Luxury Resort...

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Nottage hits back at Wilson over COB president search

July 15, 2014

THE head of the committee charged with finding the new president of the College of the Bahamas yesterday hit back at Franklyn Wilson, the college's Council Chairman and a major benefactor, over his comments as to who should be appointed...

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Monroe College to host Bahamian Leaders for Exploratory Agricultural Education Partnership
Monroe College to host Bahamian Leaders for Exploratory Agricultural Education Partnership

July 11, 2014

Monroe College, a national leader in urban and international education, today announced that it will host Godfrey Eneas...

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It's What They Have in Common-Nation's Top Performing Bank Sponsors Top Performing Junior Achievers
It's What They Have in Common-Nation's Top Performing Bank Sponsors Top Performing Junior Achievers

July 11, 2014

More than 25,000 young people have passed through the training grounds of Junior Achievement since the late 1970s...

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Baha Mar Partners with Best Buddies to offer Revolutionary Program:
Baha Mar Partners with Best Buddies to offer Revolutionary Program:

July 09, 2014

Teachers and Volunteers Trained at Leadership Development Institute to Work with Special Needs Students...

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St. Andrew's student raises awareness of pollution

July 09, 2014

Inspiration comes in many forms, including young Bahamians who are trying to make The Bahamas a better place. Jenna Bayles, a sixth-grade St. Andrew's School student, is raising awareness of how bad pollution actually is in a video she produced.
The mini-movie was a part of Jenna's year six exhibition project at St. Andrew's School, during which students take responsibility for their own learning over a nine-week project. During this year's exhibition, the students explored how different forms of creativity can communicate powerful messages and bring about change.
Jenna contacted Bahamas Waste, a major environmentally-friendly waste company, for its input on her movie.
Francisco de Cardenas, managing director at Bahamas Waste, watched and shared her video on pollution with his staff and friends.
"Bahamas Waste helped me to not only learn about pollution, but also helped my video on pollution to reach a variety of people," said 12-year-old Jenna. "Thanks to their help, my video is raising awareness of how bad pollution actually is."
Litter, fires at the dump, global warming and environmental pollution caused by ships are all examples of pollution that were highlighted in the two-and-a-half minute movie.
Stacey Fuderer, year six teacher at St. Andrew's, said that Jenna selected filmmaking as her topic and through her inquiry, she learned that films such as documentaries can communicate important messages about critical issues facing society. She particularly found pollution interesting and decided to make her film about littering and pollution in The Bahamas.
"Upon completion of her film, Jenna sent it to Bahamas Waste in an effort to encourage the company and other organizations to take action on the issue and develop strategies to effectively manage waste in The Bahamas," said Fuderer. "Jenna's action is a great example of how creativity can communicate a powerful message about a real world issue. Her video encourages people to take responsibility for the waste that they produce and raises awareness about the pollution that affects the beautiful Bahamas."
In the movie, Jenna can be seen explaining various types of pollution, cleaning up litter around her school and showing what people can do to help prevent and reduce pollution. She also encourages everyone to spread the word about pollution and taking care of planet Earth.
"The fact that Jenna came to Bahamas Waste for our thoughts and comments speaks volumes to what we are trying to do for our environment," said Cardenas. "We do all we can to protect the environment in our everyday work, and it's a great feeling that what we're doing is being noticed, especially by younger Bahamians."
The video can be watched on the Bahamas Waste Facebook page.

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Teachers, volunteers trained at LDI to work with special needs students

July 09, 2014

Teachers and volunteers from Baha Mar's Leadership Development Institute (LDI) began a two-day training seminar to welcome four students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) into the training and recruitment program yesterday. The students will also participate in the training seminar to prepare them for the classes scheduled to begin on July 21.
The students will join LDI through Best Buddies, an international volunteer program that will be implemented at Baha Mar. Best Buddies, a program founded at Georgetown University in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, a partner with organizations throughout the United States and in 50 countries around the world to assist with training and creating integrated social and employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, such as autism or down syndrome. Through the program, people with IDDs are paired with "buddies" that provide guidance and support, establishing meaningful friendships and enabling them to lead more active and independent lives.
Candidates for the upcoming LDI class were identified and selected with assistance from local IDD advocates including Dr. Michelle Major, director of the Seahorse Institute, a non-profit organization that provides treatment for people with autism and other developmental delays, and Mario Carey, president of R.E.A.C.H. Bahamas, an autism support group. Each IDD student will be paired with a student buddy for the duration of the 16-week class session. If they successfully complete the program, they will also receive a job offer at Baha Mar.
The integration of Best Buddies with LDI has received support from local advocate groups as well as the parents and guardians of the students.
According to Denise Godreau, Baha Mar's chief marketing officer and the parent of a child with IDD, the integration of the Best Buddies program with LDI is a natural expression of Baha Mar's inclusive culture.
"Baha Mar is committed to having a transformative impact on our guests, employees and the country. Best Buddies extends the economic impact of Baha Mar to people with disabilities to enable them to become more integrated into mainstream society," said Godreau.
"Everyone can be part of the Baha Mar Dream Team if they have a heart for hospitality," she said.

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It ain't over!

July 09, 2014

There's a well-known saying that many use over and over again and that phrase is "It ain't over till it's over". This phrase is attributed to baseball great Yogi Berra. Lenny Kravitz also wrote and recorded a song with that same title, and Marlo Thomas wrote a book with the title "It Ain't Over ... Till It's Over" which was published by Simon & Schuster. So one might say, what exactly does that popular phrase mean, especially as it relates to me, and my life? Well what it means, in my opinion is this. Just because you or your business failed, does in no way mean, that your life or the life of your business is over. You see, what I'm really trying to get at is this. Failure is an integral part of the growth process of life. That's right; failure is not the end of the road for anyone -- that is unless you actually accept it as such. Failure is just a learning experience, finding out what doesn't work.
For example, when (Thomas) Edison was asked by a group of reporters one day how he dealt with the fact that he had failed 10,000 times in his efforts to perfect the electric light bulb, he promptly replied "I didn't fail, I just discovered 10,000 ways in which it would not work". Boy oh boy, what a simply great attitude to have toward temporary failure. This my friend, is the kind of attitude which we should all develop as we travel the road of life with its many setbacks. In short, the only way in which to fail in life is to completely give up and thus throw in the towel, figuratively speaking.
Yes my friend, take heart here today for I'm sure you now realize, that in spite of your repeated failures, you can indeed still go on to put in a winning performance, an outstanding, academy award performance. Why? Because as today's title puts it, it ain't over till it's over. Let me assure you, if you've failed at something, you've just hit a bump in the road, so to speak, but you can indeed continue your journey, provided you don't give up prematurely.
To me, it's very sad to observe so many who actually give up on their dreams when success is literally just around the very next corner. So please remember today's most important lesson, it ain't over till it's over. That is of course, unless you give up!
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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Student news

July 09, 2014

Tarpum Bay student on honor roll at Lawrence Academy
GROTON, MA -- Junior Aleice Goodman earned academic high honors for the spring trimester at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass. Aleice serves as a proctor in her dormitory and competed for the varsity track team this spring. A former student at the Deep Creek Middle School, she is the daughter of Bobbett and William Goodman of Tarpum Bay.
Bahamian receives Ursula Laurus Citation from The College of New Rochelle
NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Bahamian Maria-Teresa Butler was one of 21 graduates of The College of New Rochelle (CNR) who were awarded the Ursula Laurus Citation at the college's 76th annual alumnae/alumni college weekend in June. The Ursula Laurus Citation is given to honor CNR graduates and friends who have provided outstanding leadership and have demonstrated by their capabilities, efforts and interest their selfless and generous devotion to furthering the high ideals and rich traditions of Ursuline education. The citation was presented to Butler, a class of 1974 graduate, by Judith Huntington, president of the college.
CNR is the first Catholic college for women in New York State. The college was founded in 1904 by the Ursuline Order. Today, it comprises the all-women school of arts and sciences and three schools which admit women and men: The school of new resources (for adult learners), the school of nursing and the graduate school. The main campus of the college is located in lower Westchester County, 16 miles north of New York City. The college maintains five other campus locations in New York City for the school of new resources in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.

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A journey that started out on faith

July 02, 2014

Charles Rose Jr.'s journey from his home on Grand Bahama to graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering started out with $3,000 in his pocket and lots of faith that he would get into and graduate from the university charging $30,000 in annual tuition fees.
"I went through a lot to go after my dreams," said the recent graduate. "But my story is about never giving up on your dreams, no matter what you're facing in life." It was a message 21-year-old Rose, a graduate speaker, shared with his peers as he graduated from The William States Lee College of Engineering.
In his commencement address, Rose, who graduated cum laude, spoke about how people thought he was crazy for leaving home to go to the United States without even the minimum tuition fees. He started classes not knowing if he would ever get the chance to finish. Rose said he pretty much stepped out on faith, as he was determined to not give up on his dreams.
"Everyone told me that the most logical thing was to start off at The College of The Bahamas or the University of the West Indies and then go on," he said. But his dreams were of attending UNCC.
"If people call us crazy, and if being crazy leads to being successful, then yes we are crazy," he told his fellow graduates.
On the final day that his tuition was due in his first semester, he came across a note under his dormitory door that said he had to pay that day or be out of the dorm room by midnight. He did not know how he would explain to his family that he had lost his dream. He still went to class that day; when he got out he checked his voicemail, revealing a message from his mother, Chassarie Bullard, telling him that he had received a $7,500 grant from the government. He didn't have the money yet, but his mother sent him a copy of the grant letter. He printed it out and took it to the student accounts department. He was allowed to remain in school. Rose said he laminated the disheartening note that he found under his door telling him to leave; he carries it in his wallet to this day as a reminder of the power of his faith.
"A lot of times people on the island cry 'We don't have any money', and a lot of the times we don't, but when God is on your side...God is bigger than anything," said Rose.
Rose applied for numerous scholarships and grants throughout his four years at UNCC. He received a total of $15,000 in scholarships and grants annually, including a scholarship from the Lyford Cay Foundation in his final year, but the generosity of approximately 30 individuals helped to pay the balance of his annual tuition.
At home, on Christmas break after his first semester, he did a television interview which aired on New Year's Eve during which he talked about his dreams and struggles and encouraged others to not give up on their dreams. People saw the interview and called in to support. Their contributions paid Rose's fees for the next semester. They continued to help him with the balance not covered by his scholarships and grants through to his graduation.
"Every semester I didn't know how I was going to come up with the funds to go back to school, but I kept having faith every semester. And whatever scholarships I received, whatever balance was left, these individuals would pretty much pay the balance."
Rose, who graduated with a 3.68 cumulative grade point average (GPA), said he believes his benefactors had faith in him because he had faith in himself and believed he would accomplish what he set out to do.
"I did my part...I kept up my grades. I think they saw that I was focused and determined to achieve my goals and wasn't looking at letting anything get in the way, and they wanted to help me do that."
Rose said had a burning desire to attend college since he was a young boy. He said he was about 7 years old when his mother laid a map out in front of him and his sister, Chardonae Rose, and told them to find The Bahamas on the map. He said they realized that it was just a little dot against the rest of the world.
"She told us that there was a whole world out there for us to explore and to never limit ourselves to only The Bahamas." The graduate said that lesson also served as an inspiration to him and his sister. She went on to study in Ecuador and speaks fluent Spanish. For the past six years, she has hosted Camp Espana, a Spanish summer camp on Grand Bahama.
Striving for excellence is nothing new to Rose, who graduated high school with a 3.82 cumulative GPA. The 2010 Jack Hayward High School graduate was valedictorian of his Wildcats class and gave the commencement address then, as well. His message to his peers then was to think of themselves as a rocket ship launching into space and to think of what's next. He encouraged them then to be ambitious and go after their dreams. He certainly went after his dreams.
His advice to school students is to take every assignment seriously, something he said he always did as it pays off in the long run.
"It's just like building a house or any type of infrastructure -- you always have to start from the foundation. And if your foundation is weak, then in the future, your potential for collapsing is great. The work that they may be doing now may not seem serious, but it really pays off in the long run, so I advise them to take everything seriously, and most of all keep the faith and never give up on their dreams."
As a youngster, Rose said he took all of his school assignments seriously.
"I loved math and science. I also liked creating things and was always designing and making models of buildings and even an entire shopping mall. At first I thought I would like to be an architect. A friend encouraged me to look into civil engineering. I was able to do some job shadowing with a professional engineer and I really liked it, so I decided that would be my major."
The UNCC graduate, who wants to become a licensed engineer, is presently engaged in a one-year engineering program at Blythe Construction in Charlotte to gain experience before returning home. He also has another goal in his sights -- he and his sister hope to open a scholarship and mentoring program in The Bahamas.
"We want to give Bahamian students an opportunity," he said. "Thank God for our mom and mentors who have been there for us, but we want to create a program from which a lot more students can benefit. We don't just want to give them money, we want to give them lifelong skills from which they can benefit to be successful and stay successful."
Rose plans to enroll in a master's program in the future, but is still undecided as to which area to specialize in.

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National Standardized High School Diploma on the cards for the next academic year

July 02, 2014

When public schools reopen in September for the academic year, students will have to meet specific standardized criteria to earn a high school diploma, according to Minister of Education Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald.
On a 4.00 grade point average (GPA) scale they will have to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 over grades 10 through 12; have attained four subjects in the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) Examination inclusive of mathematics, English language, a social science, a science or a technical study; complete a minimum of 28 credit hours in grades the last three years of school, 16 of the credits would have to be gained from core subjects and 12 of them must be earned through pathway courses.
Students will also have to complete 30 hours of unpaid community service on the students' own time during the 10th and 11th grades and 20 hours of job readiness training. The students must also maintain 90 percent or higher attendance and 90 percent punctuality over the three-year period.
Students meeting the required standards will be awarded the National Standardized High School Diploma. Students failing to attain the requirements will receive an attendance certificate.
Special needs students who are in their senior year, but who do not fulfill the requirements for the National High School Diploma may be granted a certificate of accomplishment if they have demonstrated competence in specific areas. The certificate will indicate the areas of competence for an employer.
Speaking at the 67th annual general meeting of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT), at SuperClubs Breezes Resort, Fitzgerald told the teachers that while their body is focused on transforming their union through empowering teachers, the ministry with responsibility for education is on a similar course of transforming education through the development of teachers and students. He told them that the ministry was committed to working with the BUT for the betterment of teachers whom he said are the foundation of the education system.
"We recognize the importance of empowering teachers to be equipped to perform their duties, particularly as it relates to instilling knowledge, skills and values in students who we want to become caring, patriotic and productive citizens of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
Fitzgerald told the teachers that their relationship with the ministry enabled them to transform education for the betterment of the 55,000 students and over 4,000 educators in the 168 schools and programs around the nation.
Educators were told that more would be required of them in the months ahead, particularly as it relates to the implementation of the National Standardized High School Diploma. He reiterated to them the importance of their role in the undertaking.
"The success of the National Standardized High School Diploma lies in your hands," said Fitzgerald. "At the end of the day, our educational system must reflect that we are graduating students who are equipped with the knowledge, wisdom and skills to become technologically savvy, self-sufficient, able to positively contribute to our national development and compete in the global arena."
The education minister reminded teachers that they signed on to become educators to develop the nation's youth, and told them that it was critical that they actively participate in the realization of the goal. He said from the administration, to teachers of 12th grade down to preschool, all staff and teachers should all be vested in the mission.
"Preschool and primary schools must establish the foundation for the high schools to refine and build on if we are to succeed," he said.
As the new graduation guidelines come into play, the teaching cohort will also be strengthened with the employment of an additional 108 teachers -- 40 graduates from The College of The Bahamas; 54 teachers appointed as
intervention specialists in the senior schools as a consequence of the implementation of the National High School Diploma and eight specialist Cuban teachers, at an additional cost of about $2,500,000.
This week, teachers are engaging in their annual summer professional development workshops with sessions aimed at enabling the educators to refresh their skills and learn new strategies for the classroom.
During the workshop, educators delved into topics such as 'awakening creativity in the preschool classroom', after which teachers were told they would be able to plan and execute appropriate creative development activities in the areas of art, music, movement and drama; while doing so, they could use indigenous, natural and recyclable materials to create teaching and learning experiences. During the 'Tune into Reading' workshop it was expected that the teachers would be able to use research findings to support the use of melodic learning in their classroom.
Attendees also participated in an action science workshop aimed at strengthening basic concepts; integrating the quantum learning approach -- visual, auditory and kinesthetic teaching strategies - into classroom instruction; integrating life skills and using research findings that support brain-based learning. Another workshop centered around integrating technology in the classroom and using creative strategies to integrate modern technology like smart phones, tablets and television in classroom instruction.
Other workshops focused on enhancing teachers' understanding of the impact of music on brain activity; using music movement and the brain as tools for teaching and learning mathematics; producing resources that would incorporate drama into everyday classroom learning and promote literacy, critical and creative thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills; using age and developmentally-appropriate reading materials and activities to support struggling students and developing activities to enhance strands of mathematics.
During the summer period between the last school year, more than 1,700 teachers participated in professional development activities.
As they prepare for the next academic year, Fitzgerald told educators that he hoped the 2014-2015 school year would not be as tumultuous as the 2013-2014 school year.
"We have endured marching, name calling [most of it unnecessary and unbecoming], coaches refusing to report to work and court actions. In retrospect, I would hope that moving forward, calm and mature heads can disagree without being disagreeable. The courts have ruled on every count before it and the status quo remains. Let us not (lose) another year bickering over matters which don't advance our teachers, students or the education system," said Fitzgerald.
He told teachers that he hopes they could put any ill will behind them, and assured them that he did not harbor any.
"I am focused on improving our educational system to make it more relevant and giving our students the best opportunity for success. I will work with anyone, and any organization that shares and is committed to that vision."
But he did remind them that he would fight tooth and nail against anyone who injures or tries to injure any teacher, student or administrator, or anyone or organization who attempts to disrupt the safe and orderly school environment, which he said is essential to promoting excellence in schools.

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The world's most dangerous game

July 02, 2014

Now I bet my bottom dollar, as that saying goes, that when some people read the title of this particular article "The World's Most Dangerous Game" they'll immediately start to speculate about what particular game I'm referring to. Many may immediately say that it's American football as it leaves a whole lot of players with serious injuries which they have to contend with for the rest of their life. No, no, others will protest, it's got to be car racing as people are killed in car racing again and again.
No it's boxing still others will protest, just look at what it did to Muhammad Ali. Those who watch ice hockey on TV may indeed come to the conclusion that it's the world's most dangerous game, as so many people get seriously hurt playing this game, and I guess that we could go on and on speculating about the subject for hours, maybe days. However, as I have limited time here to explain my point, let me state what I believe the world's most dangerous game to be.
It's what I call the "if only game". Now I'm quite sure, that many will immediately know exactly what I'm writing about, whereas others may say, could you explain what you mean by that expression D. Paul, the if only game? Sure, I'd be delighted to.
Far too many people from my observations over the years are continually saying to themselves and others something like this. You know, if only I'd gone to college and obtained a degree, I'd be much further ahead today; or if only I'd pursued sports, I could have perhaps got a scholarship and then been able to go to college; or if only I had married that girl I was in love with in my early 20s, I'd be much happier today than I am right now, etc ... etc.
My friend, the if only game is a game which no one can win, believe me, it's really the world's most dangerous game which far too many continue to play day in and day out with disastrous effects.
My friend, as I have tried to impress on you in these articles over the years, no one but no one, not even God can change the past, and anyone who thinks they can is indeed playing with fire, playing the world's most dangerous game. Yesterday is gone forever. The past is quite definitely over.
So, let's all vow to move on with our life and stop thinking about what could have been, if only we had done something different. Let's all stop playing the losing game and instead go out and make today a fantastic, successful, and indeed most enjoyable day. If we keep doing this consistently, day in and day out, we'll end up with a terrific life. Yes we will!

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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Health City offers internships for Caymanian students

July 02, 2014

Health City Cayman Islands is excited to welcome sixteen Caymanian interns into its inaugural internship program of which 6 commenced their internship program this week...

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American College/University 101: Preparing for Campus Life
American College/University 101: Preparing for Campus Life

July 02, 2014

he Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Nassau will host American College/University 101: Preparing for Campus Life workshops on July 15 and 17, 2014 at the American Corner...

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A gift that makes a difference

July 01, 2014

FOR the past 12 years, Paul Smith, CEO of Electro Telecom, has rewarded 12 outstanding primary school students in the Northwestern district with laptops for their high academic achievement. This year he has expanded the scheme to include 12 students from Northeastern district schools - Palmdale, Centreville, Sandilands, Uriah McPhee, Thelma Gibson and Columbus Primary...

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Police launch annual kids' summer camp

July 01, 2014

MORE than 4,000 children are participating in the Royal Bahamas Police Force's summer camp, which officially opened yesterday...

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