Education

BTVI students fulfill graduation requirements

January 21, 2015

The skills learned at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) are now being applied in the workplace by 67 students on four-week internships for the spring semester.
Interns will work for 40 hours a week each, amounting to 160 hours -- a requirement for graduation, and are experiencing work life at various organizations -- Culmer's Plumbing and Platinum Welding, the Ministry of Education, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
The Student Affairs Department held a seminar prior to the commencement of internships, with Student Affairs Coordinator Racquel Bethel giving them advice they would need to be successful in the workplace. She told students that the experience was not only about skills but work ethics as well.
"Add value to the institution you're going to," Bethel advised the students. "Have the right attitude. Don't go in there with the mind to show off. Every organization has a corporate culture. Go to learn. You're not to go there to be the boss and take over," she cautioned.
Office assistant student, Mitzi Sanches, 18, said she expected to gain work experience from her internship and to complete all tasks assigned to her, even the challenging ones.
"I want to gain knowledge every day if possible while networking."
Keisa Knowles, who is studying towards an Associate's of Applied Science degree in Information Technology Management, said BTVI has prepared her well to enter the workplace.
"This internship is a chance to exercise everything I've learned such as disassembling and assembling laptops and desktops," she said. "Initially, I saw BTVI as just a place to gain knowledge, but it's not just an institution. I've gained a family," said the 25-year-old.
Dean of Construction Trades Alexander Darville encouraged the interns to apply safety rules while on the job.
"Regardless of your discipline, closed shoes are important -- whether you are at the office or on the construction site. If you are sitting on a chair that is rocky, you need to respectfully say something because it could injure your back. What you would have learned here, express it," said Darville.
Beyond the necessary paper work, Darville further suggested to students to keep a personal diary of their internship, documenting experiences and evaluating their performance and growth at the culmination of the four weeks.

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Mission: Educate Bahamas Foundation raises 193K

January 21, 2015

Eight local businesses and organizations contributed a combined $193,000 to the "Mission: Educate Bahamas Foundation" in a newly formed private/public sector partnership geared towards improving education in public primary schools.
The funding was provided by Furniture Plus Co. Ltd., Kelly's House and Home, Fidelity Merchant Bank, Royal Bank Of Canada, Caribbean Bottling Co., Credit Suisse, The Cable Cares Foundation, and Len-Glo Bus Service of Andros will facilitate the immediate expansion of the breakthrough, melodic learning program "TuneIn To Reading (TiR) Program" throughout Government Primary Schools throughout the country.
Several additional primary schools are now able to receive the necessary laptop computers, headsets, instructional teacher training, and TiR software needed to facilitate the program and bring them on stream, according to Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald. He also said that in the coming weeks several Members Of Parliament including himself, will invest an additional $160,000 from their respective constituency allowance into the TiR expansion.
"Research shows how effectively children learn with emerging tools for the classroom that enhance the teaching and learning process through the use of interactive technology. This is particularly so for primary schools, where students' future success depends heavily on their experiences in the early grades," said Fitzgerald. "Consequently, there is a demand for more innovative programs such as TuneIn To Reading that will captivate young students' interests and allow them to improve their reading skills in an interactive and enjoyable way."
TiR uses music-based computer lessons to help students improve in the areas of literacy, reading fluency, comprehension and word-sight recognition. The US-based program is designed to reach struggling readers where they are, allowing children of varying reading levels to learn side-by-side in a classroom setting without the social stigma of being placed in lower-level classes.
TiR was launched in New Providence, four years ago by brothers Christopher and Terry Tsavoussis, proprietors of Wendy's Bahamas and Marco's Pizza. It debuted at Columbus Primary School.
Over the years Wendy's has spent in excess of $351,000 to get the program up and running in 14 local public primary schools. On average, students using the program demonstrate reading gains of 1.4 to two years, after only nine weeks of use, comprising of three 30-minute sessions each week. In addition to the strides made in reading, teachers and administrators have praised the program for restoring excitement, enthusiasm and a renewed sense of confidence among their students.
"Mission: Educate Bahamas" is purposed to increase literacy and improve our students' learning abilities through technology-based tools that enhance and deepen their learning experience," said Tsavoussis. "I am extremely grateful for the support of our corporate and private sponsors, and can report that together our private/public sector partnership will continue to move literacy and education to new and exciting frontiers in this country."
The "Mission: Educate Bahamas Foundation" is committed to providing local schools and educators with technology-based tools to boost literacy and improve student education, engagement and empowerment. For more info, or to donate visit: www.missioneducatebahamas.com.

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Mental vitamins

January 21, 2015

There's no doubt about it, a whole lot of people have become a lot more health conscious than they used to be and are thus concentrating on ways in which they can be more fit. So they eat right, exercise regularly and take a whole lot of supplements, vitamins, minerals, etc. to augment their perhaps deficient diet. Yes indeed, health stores are springing up all over the place as people concentrate on improving their health, thus these health conscious people are taking a whole lot of vitamins daily. If you were to visit my home you'd note that I take a whole lot of vitamins, and indeed have been for years.
But my friend, when we speak about health, we need to realize that it must encompass, not just our physical body but also our mental state and spiritual understanding. Yes indeed, whenever we discuss the subject of health, we must of necessity include body, mind and spirit for they're all a part of total health. So that brings me to the title of today's article, "Mental vitamins."
So what are the "mental vitamins" which we need to partake of to supplement our mental health? Well the first "natural vitamin," so to speak, which we need in very large doses, is "Vitamin L" for love. That's right -- to maintain a healthy mind it most definitely needs large helpings of "Vitamin L" of love. Firstly, we must love ourselves unconditionally so that we have a good self-image, which in turn is absolutely vital to good mental health, which in turn will contribute to excellent overall health of body, mind and spirit.
Yes my friend, as James Allen said in his book "As A Man Thinketh", "The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the mind." Yes it does. So we need to keep it full of positive thoughts. To do this, we must take a daily dose of "Vitamin I" for inspiration. I sincerely hope that I give you an adequate dose of "Vitamin I inspiration" through these daily articles. So do make sure that you get a whole lot of inspiration each and every day, as it is vital for good mental health.
Finally, you need "Vitamin M Meditation". That's right, as I state over and over, you need to spend some time each day in the silence, replenishing your whole being with spiritual substance which will believe me, keep you healthy and strong, across the board.

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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Oakes Field Primary School teachers show appreciation to their students

January 21, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Days are intended to be special days for the appreciation of teachers and may include celebrations to honor them for their contributions, but in a twist on the norm, the teachers at Oakes Field Primary School decided to show appreciation to the student populace with their recent Students Appreciation Week celebration. Their rationale for the week dedicated to their students was to reinforce the importance of students' understanding that they are unique and appreciated; to celebrate their students and give back to them for all that they continuously do for the school; and heighten the awareness of the beauty of childhood and expose the students to old school games such as ring play, jacks, flying kites and hopscotch.
During the week, the teachers showed appreciation to their students in the class through poem, song and storytelling. Teachers also gave their students a piece of healthy fruit and a sweet treat. During an assembly put on by the teachers each student was also presented with a medal keepsake inscribed with the words "you are unique."
In a fun twist to the week, teachers also got to dress in school uniforms and hosted their students to class parties on the day. And on the final day of the week teachers brought back the "good ole days" to students, engaging them in outdoor games and play in the yard through games that the teachers themselves once played as a child. As a bonus, during Students Appreciation Week, students received no homework.

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19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers

January 20, 2015

The website (http://www.bahamaas.gov.bs/19ccem) for the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (19CCEM) was officially launched during a press briefing at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST), Friday, January 16...

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Super Unique Celebration at Oakes Field Primary School

January 19, 2015

Teachers at Oakes Field Primary School showed appreciation for their students in a thrilling week of “You are Unique” activity and fun, January 13-16...

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Educate Bahamas Foundation raises $193k from local business to boost Literacy in Primary Schools

January 19, 2015

Eight local businesses, and organizations generously contributed a combined 193K to the Mission: Educate Bahamas Foundation in a newly formed private/public sector partnership geared toward improving education in our public primary schools...

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Graduation of New Aviation Security Officer and Passenger Screeners

January 19, 2015

The Airport Authority held Graduation Ceremonies for Twenty-four new Aviation Security Officers and Aviation Passenger Screeners, January 15th, 2015 in The New Providence Community Center on Blake Road...

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Students Excel at 12th Primary Mathematics Student's Workshop

January 17, 2015

For the twelfth year, in order to support the commitment of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to raise the level of numeracy skills, the Primary Curriculum Section of the Department of Education...

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Learning beyond the classroom

January 14, 2015

When most people think about education, they think in terms of school buildings, libraries, textbooks and teachers. But education does not just apply to formal education. It is very much a part of daily life and encompasses what is heard, read, seen and touched.
It's this learning beyond the four walls of the classroom that had year-three St. Andrew's School students recently visiting Junkanoo World Museum & Arts Centre, where they were able to engage in hands-on learning about Junkanoo after learning about the cultural art form at their school.
The seven and eight-year-old students engaged in an escorted tour of the center, located on Horseshoe Drive, by proprietor Quentin "Barabbas" Woodside. And through the Junkanoo exhibits on display they were able to capture the culture and art of Junkanoo. The core exhibit of the museum concentrated on telling the story of the evolution of Junkanoo through the ages from early slavery days to the present day parades on Bay Street. The students viewed exhibitions that depicted the many changes to the costumes and the various developments in musical instruments over time.
Students also participated in a hands-on drumming session, pasted a Junkanoo souvenir and enjoyed a "rush" to the bus.
"As an international school, we want our students to appreciate and be tolerant of all different cultures, but you can't do that if you don't appreciate our own Bahamian culture," said Karen Carey, the school's director of admissions, as to why the school finds it important for its students to visit Junkanoo World annually.
Looking at different cultures is a part of the year-three students' unit work, and delving into Bahamian culture, she said, is important.
"After learning about Junkanoo they actually go there to see the art and all the work behind the scenes that goes into the pieces themselves," said Carey. "The students enjoyed making masks. They learned about how cowbells are made and they enjoyed beating the drums."
Carey said the field trip added value to what the students had learned in their classroom setting.
"In the classroom you can teach something, but when the students go out on a field trip like this they can actually see and touch. The artwork comes alive. It adds that three-dimensional experience to education. It takes them out of their environment in the classroom and seeing a picture to an actual place where they can see it in its beauty," she said. Classroom teachers accompanying the students included Vashni Carey and Tasha Bethel.

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CIBC FirstCaribbean donates to Junior Achievement scholarships

January 14, 2015

CIBC FirstCaribbean has been a Junior Achievement (JA) company mentor, sponsoring a high school team, for over a decade, however, this year, when the bank found itself unable to participate in its usual way, CIBC FirstCaribbean honored the longstanding relationship with a donation towards JA's annual scholarships.
"The funds from CIBC FirstCaribbean will provide partial scholarships for three achievers," according to Tammy Lecky, who represented JA at the check presentation. "The students work hard throughout the year and we are happy to team with CIBC to reward thee of them," she said.
Youth and education are a major component of CIBC FirstCaribbean's four-pronged social impact policy which also promotes health and wellness, staff volunteerism, and community and environmental causes.
"We have seen many sponsors pull back due to the recession, so CIBC's commitment means a lot to us, they have been with us for years and we have come to rely on them," said Lecky.
JA Bahamas is a youth program that provides entrepreneurial and economic training to over 3,500 students in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros and The Berry Islands. To date, more than 25,000 "Achievers" have advanced through the program.

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Canadian boarding schools promote benefits of studying in Canada

January 14, 2015

Generations of Bahamians have chosen to attend an accredited boarding school in Canada to prepare them for the demands and expectations of university, and today a group of 16 of Canada's most prestigious boarding schools are in town to continue to promote the benefits of studying in Canada at their annual New Providence recruitment fair.
The recruitment fair will be held tonight between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.
The recruitment event, organized by Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), offers families an opportunity to meet with representatives from a variety of schools -- all boys, all girls, co-ed, urban and rural. Some schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, others offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and all offer a range of arts, athletics, community service and leadership programs.
Recruitment officers boast that Canada, which is home to students from over 100 countries around the world, scores the highest among English-speaking nations in math, science and reading scores. The latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released n 2013 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), placed Canada ahead of the United Kingdom and the United States in student performance in all three disciplines.

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Students told of importance of Majority Rule Day

January 14, 2015

As the nation celebrated its second Majority Rule Day holiday, Carlton Francis Primary School students were reminded of the importance of why they can celebrate the day, and to always be mindful of the people that made the sacrifice for Bahamians of color to achieve what they achieved, what they are achieving and what they will achieve by former member of parliament and former senator, Ruby Ann Darling, the first woman to register to vote in The Bahamas.
While the students performed a reenactment of what they learned about January 10, 1967 and the events surrounding it, Darling who lived through that era spoke to the students of having to live through a period when people like themselves couldn't go certain places and had to leave school by a certain age, and of parents being servants and slaves and having to scrub floors and use a scrub board.
"Only if you had a reason to be on Bay Street could you be there," she told the students. "And there were places of entertainment, and restaurants that you could not go to. There were churches where you could not sit in the same pew as others ... you had to sit where there was a sign for you. There was rank discrimination throughout as well as segregation. There were schools you could not go to. And at the age of 14 you had to leave school."
Darling said that people should always be mindful of their "birthday" -- the day they were set free, and chains of bondage fell from their wrists, their legs, their minds, and their aspirations.
"For all Bahamians, Majority Rule Day should be a day of utter thanksgiving to God for where he has brought us, and we are now able to advance as our minds would have us to be," she said.
Darling who holds the distinction of being the first woman to register to vote in The Bahamas said to the Primary School children that Majority Rule Day should be important to them and that they should always be mindful, appreciative and aspire to greatness so that The Bahamas will be a great nation, and those who come after them would also give thanks and praise to God for those who were before them, and upheld faith and values.
On January 10, 1967, the will of the majority of Bahamians was expressed in a general election in which adult citizens could vote to determine who would govern the country.
Majority Rule Day memorializes what was in a sense, a second Emancipation -- that was the day when people of African descent who made up the majority of the population were enabled for the first time to form the government. Slavery had been abolished in 1834 and men of color had sat in the House of Assembly since the 19th century. But the majority still suffered from political, social and economic discrimination, and a blatantly unfair electoral system that prevented them from achieving true representation in the House of Assembly.
In 1833, Stephen Dillet became the first man of color to be elected in the House of Assembly. From that time up until the 1950s there was only a handful of representatives of African descent in the House of Assembly.
The first signs of mass social and political unrest and rebellion against the system came in 1942 when the Burma Road Riot erupted over a wage dispute at the construction site of what is now the Lynden Pindling International Airport (formerly Windsor Field).
Among the important events to remember after the Burma Road Riot are the formation of the Citizens Committee in 1950 which reversed the ban on the showing of Sidney Poitier's film "No Way Out"; the formation of the first national political party, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in 1953; the election of the first organized political party, the PLP to the House of Assembly in 1956 with Lynden Pindling as leader; Sir Etienne Dupuch's anti-discrimination resolution in the House of Assembly in 1956 which was the catalyst for dismantling racial segregation in places; the General Strike of 1957 led by Sir Clifford Darling and Sir Randol Fawkes; women voting for the first time in 1962 following a suffrage campaign led by Mary Ingraham, Eugenia Lockhart, Georgiana Symonette and Dr. Doris Johnson; Black Tuesday, April 27, 1965, when Lynden Pindling, Leader of the Opposition, threw the Speaker's mace out of the window to protest the way constituency boundaries were drawn; a boycott of the House by the PLP in that same year; and the presentation of a petition to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization in New York by a delegation led by Pindling.
Prior to 1967, appeals to the Imperial Government in London, brought about limited reform, including a new constitution in 1964, which ushered in Cabinet Government for the first time. It was under that constitution that the general election was fought in 1967. Election was held against the loss in 1962 when the PLP polled more votes than the governing UPB, but lost the general election because the ruling group had given more seats to the Family Islands, although most of the population lived on New Providence.
On the evening of January 10, 1967, the results showed a tie between the two political parties -- 18 for the PLP under Pindling and 18 for the UBP under Sir Roland Symonette. Randol Fawkes who represented the Labour Party and Alvin Braynen, an independent were also elected.
Fawkes, a member of the progressive movement who ran unopposed by the PLP and Braynen, joined with the PLP to form a government, and for the first time in the history of The Bahamas, people of color had majority rule.
The victorious PLP candidates of the 1967 General Election were Pindling, Preston Albury, Clarence Bain, Milo Butler, Clifford Darling, Elwood Donaldson, Arthur Foulkes, Carlton Francis, Arthur Hanna, Warren Levarity, Curtis MacMillan, Uriah McPhee, Maurice Moore, Edmund Moxey, James Shepherd, George Thompson, Jeffrey Thompson and Cecil Wallace-Whitfield.
While the Majority Rule Day holiday is still a new celebration at only two years old, Darling said she would like to see the day, when celebrations leading up to the day take place over the course of a week.
"I want us to do more celebration, more reenactments like they did at Carlton Francis, and have more celebrations. Just as the Americans become excited about Thanksgiving Day, I would like to see preparations be done in advance leading up to January 10, so there will be a cultural and historic awareness," said Darling.

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The super program that is creating super kids

January 14, 2015

At one time or other, every child has wanted to become a super hero or a super version of themselves. Now children in public primary schools across the country have the opportunity to become "super kids" by participating in a program called "Super Me!".
"Super Me!," founded in 2008 by Cori Ashley, Kevin Ferguson and others of Global Shifts, is an internationally acclaimed interactive character-building program for children at the primary school level. It works on a foundation of people's inherent abilities to love, learn, connect, communicate and, when self-motivated appropriately, to succeed.
It aims to build self-confident children who can grow to become a positive shift in the world. "Super Me!" focuses less on the students' errors and more on their successes. The program thrives on positive action and life lessons, celebrating children while teaching them that their lives matter. The program of constant reinforcement of success is not only educational, but also allows for mental and psychological positive transformation.

How
"Super Me!" activities cater to children's natural abilities, creativity and sense of fun. Every activity, which usually runs for 15 minutes, attempts to emphasize the student's talents and ends with a morale-boosting message of how "super" the student is for completing the activity. Examples of "Super Me!" activities include:
"Super Me! Super School Celebration": Students can draw and create their school's end of year celebration. After utilizing their natural creative talents, the students are asked what they created and how they used their leadership, marketing and teamwork skills, and all the other parts of them to make the celebration.
"Making Great Waves!": Students write thank-you letters to those who have affected them throughout their lives. It teaches the students about the importance of gratitude and thanking those around them -- be it their parents, teachers, neighbors, policemen, firemen or anyone else they feel has helped them in their life. The activity encourages the act of paying it forward, where the recipient of the letter will be encouraged to pay the kindness forward and give gratitude to someone else.
The official "Super Me! Dance": Allows students to express their joy, positivity and "super powers" in a fun and tangible way. The lyrics speak to believing in themselves and striving to be who they want to be in life, reinforcing the children's acceptance of their "super selves".
"Super Me!" not only caters to children, but also provides programs for teachers, parents, care-givers and school administrators to use with their children outside of the classroom.

Why
One of "Super Me!'s" key messages is, that what they send out is what they create more of. What they call the ripple effect is the core of their vision -- creating "super children" who would make a positive shift in the world. By ingraining such positive concepts into children's minds at a young age, they believe it would create more positive paths for their future so that they can grow to become confident people who strive to help their communities. With the right confidence and motivation, they believe the children have a better chance of achieving their goals and thriving in society.

Results
Encouraging results have already been seen in schools using "Super Me!" across The Bahamas, with a positive increase in participation, self-esteem, conflict resolution, attitude and respect.
"The dreams and super powers were revealed and spoken aloud, when - before - they were unknown or hidden," said Darnelle Forbes, fifth grade teacher at Columbus Primary.

Where
"Super Me!" has grown its presence in The Bahamas and is now being applied in all 24 government primary schools including Columbus Primary, Albury Sayle, Centreville Primary, Uriah McPhee, Claridge Primary, Sadie Curtis Primary, Gerald Cash on New Providence as well as schools in the Family Islands. It has been implemented directly into the schools' curriculum. Additionally, a special needs "Super Me!" unit will work with officials at Our Lady's and Stapledon Schools on Saturday January 17 to train teachers in the "Super Me!" system.

When
During "Super Me!" week, January 12-16, founders Cori Ashley and Kevin Ferguson along with Dr. Willard Barr, chairman of character education and director of planning at the Ministry of Education; Zoe Powell, chief officer of guidance counselors, district superintendents and Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Jerome Fitzgerald, will visit schools to share in the "Super Me!" program experience and successes.

SUPER ME! WEEK AGENDA
Wednesday, January 14
10 a.m.-12 noon -- Albury Sayle
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. -- Centreville Primary
Thursday, January 15
9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m. -- Uriah McPhee
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 am. -- Columbus Primary
12:15 a.m.-1:15 a.m. -- Claridge Primary
1:45 a.m.-2:45 a.m. -- Sadie Curtis Primary
Friday, January 16
11 a.m. - Gerald Cash
11:45 a.m. - "Super Me!" Dance (All students and educators to do the "Super Me! Dance" together in unity. Dance instruction and song download at supermeprogram.com/superme-song-dance).
6:30 p.m. - Principal's appreciation party at Mario's Bowling & Entertainment Palace.

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Enlarge your vision

January 14, 2015

I was giving some advice to someone one day and I suggested that he endeavor to do something, which I felt would be most beneficial for him in his business. His immediate response to me was "No. I don't think I'd be able to do that." I endeavored as best I could over the phone to tell him that he was perfectly capable of doing what I had suggested, however, he just would not buy it as he was in an extremely negative frame of mind.
You know, it really is amazing how many people are holding themselves back in life by thinking small. As I've stated before on many occasions, most people are operating their lives way below their potential. And as I've also stated, many many times, the only person who can really keep you back in life is you. That's right, a whole lot of people are in fact selling themselves short, as that well-known saying so aptly puts it.
So today my friend, I'm appealing to all of my most valued readers to do as Joel Osteen suggested in a recent inspiring talk he gave on television, and that is to enlarge your vision. It stands to reason that if you don't know where you're going, chances are that you won't end up anywhere worthwhile and beneficial to you and your life. To be successful across the board, one needs to have a very clear vision of exactly what one wishes to achieve, and where one wishes to go with their life. Now, as you start to envision your future in all aspects of your overall life, I want you to start to think big, as they say. I want you to, as today's title suggests enlarge your vision.
There's no doubt about it, you can't go further in life than you believe you can, so close your eyes for a moment, and start to see yourself where you want to be, having broadened your horizons considerably. Then, write down some new expanded goals for your life, across the board. Now start to believe 100 percent that you will achieve these new goals whilst doing the work necessary to get you to wherever you want to be, your new expanded targets. Yes indeed, you my friend, are indeed more than capable of achieving great things in life, but you will only do this when you expand your vision.

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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Grand Bahama Students hold Majority Rule Day Assembly

January 12, 2015

Students of Jack Hayward High School held a special assembly in the school's auditorium, Friday in honour of Majority Rule Day. In attendance were Minister of Education, the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald; Minister for Grand Bahama...

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Majority Rule Day Observed in Schools

January 12, 2015

Schools throughout the nation held special assemblies recognizing the important milestone in Bahamian history --Majority Rule Day, January 10. Six of those schools in New Providence observing the 48th anniversary of Majority Rule ...

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Prime Minister meets Bahamian students in Beijing

January 10, 2015

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, first row, centre, met Bahamian students in Beijing Thursday evening...

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Traversing the winding road

January 07, 2015

When Avery Cunningham's grandfather had a heart attack and died, that took the then eighth grade student by surprise -- as far as she knew, he had been relatively healthy. According to Avery his death stimulated her interest in wanting to study the heart and preventative measures of heart disease. She wanted to become a cardiologist. Today, Cunningham, a President's List student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) with a 3.928 fall 2014 grade point average (GPA), is working towards making her dream a reality.
The ULM biochemistry major senior, who was home for the Christmas break, leaves today to begin her final year of undergraduate studies and to continue with the process of identifying and applying to the medical school programs that have the best fit for her.
But the road for Avery, who turns 22 tomorrow, has not been easy. Upon graduating high school, like most of her friends, she wanted to attend university abroad but couldn't. She enrolled at The College of the Bahamas (COB) where she studied biochemistry for two years and was looking forward to finally pursing studies overseas when tragedy befell the Cunningham family. Right after she graduated COB, her parents, Mark and Annamae Cunningham, both lost their jobs. She went into the workforce to help her parents with the bills. Avery ended up working for two years.
Her parents found employment, which allowed Avery to start saving money to continue to pursue her education. Despite realizing the importance of an education, after entering the workforce, she said she found leaving her job and earning a salary difficult to do, but not getting an education she said was even harder.
"You're making that money, and you're not really interested in school, but you have to try to stay focused and keep your goal in mind no matter what you do and how long it takes, because doors open at different times for people," she said. "A lot of my friends who I graduated high school with went off right after graduation and that kind of discouraged me -- the fact that I didn't get to go when I wanted to," she said. "I have to say I got discouraged very easily when I was younger."
Having encountered the difficulties she did and now that she can look back at her path, she said she can encourage the youth to not get discouraged the way she did if their path isn't clear.
"If you have a goal in mind just work at it no matter how long it takes. I had to stop school to work," she said.
Having to use money she worked for to help fund her undergraduate degree she said made her appreciate the education she's receiving even more. She realized she did not want to waste her money, and as such she said she was more focused when she entered ULM and the results she said are now showing. She also receives a $10,000 scholarship from ULM and was given a $7,500 award from the Ministry of Education.
"I needed to be focused and having to earn my own money helped me to focus more and not have to be pushed by my parents to do much. Being a little independent helped me to grow in terms of my seriousness towards what I want to do," she said.
Throughout high school and while enrolled in COB, she wasn't a consistent honors student -- in some instances she just missed the honor roll, but once she got to ULM, she kept her grades consistently above the 3.00 average. To be considered an honors student she needed to hit the 3.50 mark or higher to be named to the Dean's List, or 3.90 or higher to be named to the President's List and she strove to hit the mark. This semester she raised her GPA from 3.1 to 3.928, which she is proud of.
Avery took 14 credit hours. She recorded five "A" grades and one "B" grade. Her next goal is to hit the 4.00 mark as she does her medical school search.
She also credits a summer stint at Doctors Hospital with helping her to further push her.
"Being able to work with people who had been through school and knows what it is to take those classes, and get encouragement from them too helped a lot. I feel like that had a lot to do with why I got really serious and worked extra hard this [past] semester."
As she returns to ULM, Avery who is projected for a Fall 2015 graduation said her advice to people that want to pursue higher education is to just do it, even though in many cases, including her own, it may not be easy.
"It's not easy, but have faith and trust God and anything can happen, because I went from no salaries in the house, not knowing how I was going to finish school, to getting two scholarships. It happens, but it's about keeping focused and keeping the faith," she said.

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Preparing your child to sit those seventh grade entrance examinations

January 07, 2015

Over the course of the next two months, hundreds of school students if not thousands of primary school children will sit entrance examinations with the hopes of passing the examinations and gaining entrance into the private school of their choice to begin the junior phase of their education. But in preparation for the various examinations, a private school principal encourages parents not to stress their children, as the exam basically covers information that students should have done in the upper primary school level -- fourth grade through the first semester of grade six.
Shona Moss-Knowles, principal at Aquinas College said once children have been following a general study schedule leading up to the examination, that they should do well. She said it's just a matter of parents ensuring that their child is organized and have study time at home to review the skills they would have been taught and ensure that their child has mastered the concepts.
"It's just constant daily practice. And if they've done that there is no reason for parents to stress their child out at all, because it's just information that the child should know because we only test up to first semester grade six, so it should have been all the concepts that they would have been taught from fourth grade," said the principal.
Students hoping to be accepted into seventh grade at Aquinas College will sit their examination on January 19. The exam basically focuses on English and math.
The English component includes subject-verb agreement, spelling, comprehension, letter writing and essay writing; and basic math skills -- addition, subtraction, multiplication, word problems and fractions.
Each section is approximately one-and-a-half hours, with a 20-minute break between each section.
The day before the exam, Moss-Knowles said parents should ensure their child goes to bed early the night before, ensure that they eat a proper breakfast on the day of the exam and have their child at the examination site at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to the start of the exam.
The Aquinas College principal said her school is looking to attract into their fold the outstanding students who pass outright and that a seat is usually offered outright to children who on a percentage basis score 70 and above, which is a "C" grade on the school's scale. A child who scores between 60 and 69 is considered a probation student, those who just missed the mark. Those students go onto a wait list to see if there is any seating availability after acceptance letters have been received from students who passed outright.
As students sit the upcoming examinations, Moss-Knowles said parents should really do their research and their homework and to know what it is that they're looking for in terms of what the institution has to offer, and what it is that they are looking at for their children in terms of education.
"I know that the dollar sign is always a factor, but sometimes you have to be careful with that as well, because sometimes you get what you pay for," said Moss-Knowles.
The principal also said she has found that more parents are asking questions and want to know what the school's curriculum is like.
"They want to know what your external examination passes are like. They want to know what kinds of programs you have in place in terms of an accelerated program. They want to know if kids are being introduced to college level classes -- that sort of thing, so I would suggest that parents really do their research, and have a clear idea of what it is that they want for their children in terms of education. Also aside from academics, what the environment has to offer, the discipline structure in the school, as well as extracurricular activities so that the kids become well-rounded."

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