Shannon was named valedictorian an honoring that earned him a $6,000 scholarship. Ahmad was named the salutatorian. He earned a $3,000 scholarship.
Both young men described the honors as special.
"This honoring was really special to me because I got the opportunity to win a scholarship and to also make history with my friend Ahmad Pratt," said Shannon. "We were the first two honorees from the same school to ever be able to win both top prizes in the competition."
"It was a great experience and one of the top moments of my life," said Ahmad. "It was a great honor. I was glad to get a scholarship to help with my fees to university."
Also picking up special honors from the recent weekend program was Old Bight High School's Allancio Gilbert who was awarded the Family Island Scholar award. He received a $2,000 scholarship.
Grand Bahama Catholic School's Uriah Knowles was given the Medicine award and a $1,500 scholarship. L.N. Coakley High School's Javan Davis was awarded the Accounting/Commerce award and a $1,000 scholarship. C.R. Walker's L'Heintz Vincent picked up the Debate award and a $500 scholarship.
Shannon and Ahmad outscored 59 honorees, all young men who are at the top of their graduating class from high schools around the country. Each year the Greek fraternity writes to schools around the country inviting their top two male graduating students to be a part of the program. The students have to have a 3.00 grade point average or above.
The young men are then invited to sit exams that consist of math, English and general knowledge. The results are perused and the winners announced.
This year Shannon, who has a 3.95 cumulative grade point average (GPA) was also recently named the Best Overall performer in the 2012 BGCSE examinations in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, in New Providence and in Independent Schools, (nine A grades and one B grade) and who also picked up the best overall performer award in the Mathematics BGCSE, was named valedictorian for the Alphas Honours Day Convocation, said the new honor made him feel good.
"It's nice to know that my hard work and determination over the years has paid off and manifested itself in all these awards and honors because I have to say, when I was in primary school, I was never at the top. I always wanted to be at the top but it didn't go that way, and so in high school I'm glad to see that my consistency paid off."
Shannon plans to attend the University of St. Andrew's in Scotland to study medicine. His interest is in cardiothoracic surgery.
It will cost him approximately $60,000 per year for the medical program at the University of St. Andrew's. With a $6,000 scholarship under his belt from the Alphas, he has applied to the All Bahamas Merit and the National Merit and Lyford Cay Foundation for further funding to help with his educational pursuits.
Ahmad, who has s 3.72 cumulative GPA, plans to study biochemistry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in the fall.
"It made me feel great, that two males from the same school could actually do such an extraordinary accomplishment and make history for our school and selves," said Ahmad.
Ahmad, who says he always strives to be one of the top students in his class sat eight Bahamas General Certificates of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations in 2012. He received five A grades, one B grade and two C grades.
Dr. Valentine Grimes, chairman of the Alpha Phi Alpha Education Committee and coordinator of the Honours Day Convocation said the sweep of the top two honors by Queen's College students was an achievement for the school.
In an age where young men receive so much bad press, he said it was positive that the organization is able to host an honors day for 26 years, recognizing young men that are actually doing the right thing.
Dr. Grimes, who himself was the second valedictorian of the program in 1988, has also seen the program evolve over the years. When the honors day program fell under his portfolio, he said he sought to expand on it by affording the students time to interact with each other.
"I had limited interaction between. We basically came, sat the exam, sat together for convocation and then went our way. I wanted to improve on that so students from C.C. Sweeting seated with students from Q.C. and Cat Island could interact.
"I wanted to let the students know that these are going to be their peers when they're professional in The Bahamas as they move through the ranks in the companies or their own businesses," said Dr. Grimes.
Under his watch, the students have also been given opportunities to engage in debate. They are given questions on the Saturday, broken into small groups from which they have to elect a leader from among themselves to present the position of the group on a topic in 10 minutes. The students are also subject to questions from the floor, which forces them to have to formulate ideas on the spot.
"It forces them to interact and forces them to think about issues pertinent to young men and also let them know to keep going," said Dr. Grimes.
The day is concluded with a career mixer. The organization puts the students in contact with people in their fields of choice, so they can understand and make sure they understand the options to go and pursue their career of choice.
According to Dr. Grimes, the program not only recognizes top male students, he said it also affords them the opportunity to view men who can be seen as role models.
"Even though these guys are the best in their schools, sometimes they don't have a lot of role models maybe within their schools or without, and it's good for them to see there are young men doing successful things and giving back. I think it encourages them to keep going with what they want to do, because even though they are the top of their classes, the point we make is that a high school degree does not go very far today."
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As the twenty-two year old puts the finishing touches to his master's thesis for his June graduation from Drexel University in Philadelphia, with a 3.96 grade point average no less, the 2008 All Bahamas Merit Scholarship says his university experience has been more than he could ever have hoped for, and a lot more than he predicted as he looks to the future that he said is still be decided. But he's not worried, because looking back at the past five years, he says if he'd been asked five years ago where he would be, he would not have been able to say he would have done all those things.
"It's ultimately to be determined because I could not have predicted this so far. So I am in the process of establishing what the rest of my future will be," said Higgs who studied biomedical engineering.
The Grand Bahama native's immediate future has him working as a research associate for an implant research company that researches artificial joints.
"We look at these devices after they've been implanted and for whatever reason they have to come out. We look at them to try to figure out why they're taken out and essentially why are they failing. We also look at how the implants themselves are changing in the body, and how the body is causing the devices to change and what affect it has on the body as well. We also look at the tissue that comes from around the device and we look at what debris may be in those tissues and what effect it has on the body."
Carpet of his life still unfolding
As far as school is concerned, Higgs says he's definitely not stopping at a master's degree. For now he's looking to get as much research experience as he can before he makes a decision on his course of study towards a doctorate degree.
"I want to make sure that my [doctorate degree] is in a field that I'm interested in and also one that I can give back as much as possible," he said. "I'm hesitant to start a degree just yet because I want to make sure that I have essentially lined out how it's going to play for the rest of my life."
With the carpet of his life still slowly unfolding before him, the son of Glenn (an engineer) and Christine Higgs (a retired nurse) is already looking back at his university life at Drexel with appreciation. And he's thankful that he was awarded the 2008 All Bahamas Merit Scholarship worth up to $35,000 per year, which afforded him the opportunity to attend the university and get the exposure that he did. Since his sophomore year he has participated in a program that allowed him to go to classes for half a year and work for the other half annually.
Without the scholarship he said he would not have had such an impressive university experience. And that he remembers being in shock for almost three months of starting Drexel, because the scholarship wasn't something he expected.
"It was always my goal to work as hard as I can and do as well as I can, but I was still not expecting that scholarship. Without it [All Bahamas Merit Scholarship] I would not have been able to go to Drexel. I had some money from the school, but not enough to make it affordable."
Genymphas is definitely one smart Bahamian. He has always been focused on his education and its importance was something that was instilled in him at a young age. He said it also helped that his parents were encouraging in a positive way and not a scary way.
"I got nothing but great encouragement and support to do well," he said. "And it also helped that I had two over-achieving older brothers and so in their successes, they showed me what's possible to set my goals higher."
Looking back he said he realizes that every decision his parents made, they did for the benefit of their children and their future.
"When I was younger I wasn't able to see it. I knew that they were always doing a lot for me in terms of the sacrifices to ensure that we were able to be in situations where we could have good opportunities, and I can say nothing but 'thank you' for it," said Genymphas. "With regards to more specific things, they refused to let anything good go unnoticed in our lives. We would do well in high school and we would have award ceremonies and they always found themselves there. I remember actually coming towards the end of my high school career, my mom had something she was working on that was due and I was like, 'mommy stay home and work on it'. I went to the awards ceremony, and lo and behold, she was right there in the crowd with everybody else. She was there to support me and enjoy in our successes."
Advice to the youth
It was Genymphas placing importance on his education that has gotten him to where he is today and his advice to the school children of today is to do what they need to do to ensure that they are within the realms of where they are supposed to be.
"I can only say what has been said over and over, and I know it's one of the things that they may need to hear from someone else for it to actually sink in; but I don't think it can be stressed enough how important it is to ensure that during the time in their life when school is pretty much their only responsibility, that they spend as much as their effort and attention on doing as well as they can. Later on, school may be one of many things they have to do, and after that, everything else that they have to do will be based on how they set themselves up while they're in school," said the young man who will forever be known as an All Bahamas Merit Scholar.
This smart kid is now on to the next chapter in his life. Hopefully, he sets aside time for a little relaxation and fun as well after remaining focused on his educational pursuits for so long.
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Thirty-seven iPads, two wireless routers and a laptop were donated to the school from the Mayaguana Development Group. The students are allowed to use the iPads in the classroom to assist with their academic studies.
The students can use the iPad to access Khan Academy, a Bill Gates-backed online resources that is one of the premier educational internet sites which teach students about science and mathematics. Students can make use of the site's extensive video library, interactive challenges and assessments from any computer with access to the web. In an effort to ensure that the students use the iPad for the reason they were intended, the iPads were updated with software and apps simultaneously and prevent them from accessing inappropriate content using a special syncing cart.
With the guidance of their teachers, the students have been using the technology for the past two months.
"The iPads have really made a difference at our school. It is so much easier to access information that can help with the completion of homework and coursework," said Jada Charlton, head girl at Abraham's Bay High School. "I am proud that our school was selected because it really made a difference in the educational process."
Head boy Cameron Charlton said the use of the iPads assists him with his school work and is certainly taking their school into the technology era.
"I am able to research word meanings and gather information that is vital to me. It is something that we really appreciate as we prepare for the way forward," said head boy Cameron Charlton.
Abraham's Bay High School math instructor Susan Miller said if she's teaching a lesson on probability she would give the students the gist of probability, and then allow them to visit the Khan Academy website where they would watch various mini video presentations on the subject matter.
"The video lessons would start from basic Probability with a thorough explanation of the term Probability and how the formula is derived, after which varying examples are shown. At the end of the video presentations, the students are able to complete activities based on the video presentations they had previously watched. They are also able to check their work to see if they were accurate, if not, a detailed explanation is given in stages for them to see their error(s). This type of teaching and learning activity encourages self-directed learning so that advanced students can push ahead and students needing remedial help can get assistance with foundational concepts," said Miller.
Abraham's Bay High School acting principal Brian Williams said he has already seen the students confidence grow as a result of them having easy access to wider source knowledge.
"The Ministry started the technology revolution at this school last year with the Ministry's INSPIRE ICT Project and this expands the effort to close the technology gap in The Bahamas," said Williams.
Mayaguana Development Group company representative, John Moses, presented the iPads to Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald.
The donation was coordinated with the school and island residents.
"This has been a team effort with the Mayaguana Advisory Board and Council and the school's leadership to provide Mayaguana's students with the best technology resources available. Mobile technology is having an important impact on education and some of the world's most privileged schools are integrating tablets into the classroom. We are pleased to have worked with the community leadership to give local students the same opportunities," said Moses.
Minister Fitzgerald thanked Moses and the company for their generosity and assured him that the devices would be used to enhance the instruction the students obtain from their teachers.
The education minister said it is important for all stakeholders in The Bahamas to be involved in the education of students. And that he was pleased that students at the school would have the much-needed resource just prior to sitting their final and national examinations.
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Unfortunately, most people when they initially awake in the morning are thinking in exactly the opposite way by saying to themselves, I wonder what I can get today? How can I get blessed? Well my friend, if you're focusing on what you can get, what's in it for you, well then, you really are focusing on the wrong end of the stick. In all things, we need to focus our attention on the giving end of the scale. When we do that, we will have real balance in our life and affairs as we get back the blessings we give to others in great abundance. Yes indeed, there's no doubt about it, as Joel Osteen so very wisely advocated, we all need to be a blessing to be blessed.
When you start to really think about it, there are indeed so many ways in which we can be a blessing to others. By just being positive and upbeat, and by smiling and encouraging everyone whom we meet and talk to we can be a blessing, a positive, uplifting blessing to all whom we encounter throughout the day, evening and night. Don't ever forget the universal law of cause and effect, which Emerson simply referred to as the law of laws, that's how very important he thought this law was which states that as we sow -- so shall we reap.
So my friend, in conclusion, if you wish to be truly blessed today, well then make absolutely sure, that you are a real blessing to a whole lot of people. You know, life really is much simpler to understand than a whole lot of people think it is. In short, give and you'll receive. What you put out each and every day of your life, will, it must eventually return to you, and usually greatly multiplied, into the bargain. So, why don't you start to compile a list of people whom you need to be a blessing to, and exactly what you intend to do to be a blessing to them. This is surely the simple way to a fulfilled day, and indeed life.
o THINK ABOUT IT! Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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LCIS has been dedicated to providing transformative experiences to all students. During the past month, students in fifth through ninth grades have been involved in many transformative field trip experiences.
Fifth grade students stayed overnight at The Island School in Eleuthera to complement their studies on renewable energy, sustainability and their Caribbean geography unit. For their renewable energy unit, students learned how the Island School uses bio-diesel to fuel their cars, trucks and generator by recycling used vegetable oil and methanol, which burns 95 percent cleaner than regular diesel. For their unit on sustainability, students learned about creating compost by collecting and sorting scraps leftover from their meals. They also learned that The Bahamas is made up of limestone due to the shallow Bahama shelf on which the islands sit. Ooids are small round grains of calcium carbonate that have created some of the Bahamian cays and are only found in a couple of places in the world. The students also learned about energy conservation, ensuring that lights are only switched on when needed.
Sixth grade students, their teacher and 11 brave fathers ventured off to Andros for a weekend of exploring the wetlands. The students explored different types of wetlands including an estuary, a creek, blue holes, a coral reef and a coastal wetland. They became real scientists as they dissected calcified algae to discover many small species in and among the branches. Even the dads got involved in the fun science quizzes and dissections. It was a very eco-friendly weekend at Forfar Field station in Central Andros.
A lofty lighthouse, spectacular views, and underwater life were just a few of the exciting experiences on the San Salvador field trip. Seventh grade students embarked on an adventure to the Gerace Field Study Center on San Salvador. Prior to their trip, students learned fish and coral identification as part of their living things unit. Students tested these skills in a fun, house competition. On San Salvador they worked in groups to complete tasks about rocky and sandy shores, sharpening their observation, measuring, classification, and communication skills. As part of their English curriculum, they are developing their comparative writing skills. While on their trip, they compared descriptive observations of the island as a whole as well as sandy and rocky shores. Upon their return, their observations were linked to a writing assignment in English class.
Eighth grade students were the third secondary school group to travel to The Island School this year as part of the one world aspect of the MYP science curriculum. Having studied ocean currents, the students focused their attention on the issue of plastics in the ocean. Over the course of the three-day, two-night trip, students had lots of fun, including a pre-breakfast run followed by cliff jumping, lionfish dissection, snorkeling, and a campfire and s'mores evening.
LCIS is currently hosting a group of students from St. Matthew School in Ottawa, Canada. In February LCIS' ninth grade students visited Ottawa, experiencing every winter sport imaginable, including skiing, skating, snowshoeing and even curling. Now their Canadian counterparts are experiencing Bahamian culture, ocean adventures and warm sunshine.
While in The Bahamas, the Canadian students will visit forts, Blue Lagoon, Dolphin Encounters and the Atlantis Waterpark. They will be taken on a boat trip to Rose Island by a LCIS family and experience Junkanoo at Educulture. They will finish the week off by taking the Tru Bahamian Walking Food Tour in downtown Nassau and visit the Straw Market. This is the second time LCIS has hosted the Canadian school.
These trips are examples of just one month at LCIS. Everyday teachers work hard to provide transformative experiences both on and off the LCIS campus as LCIS students move to becoming critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
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The goal of their visit was to expose the Delaware students to a different culture.
"We wanted them to give them a unique experience prior to them moving on to high school," said East Side Charter School & Learning Center principal, Dr. Lamont Browne.
Jacinda Fields, an eighth grade student from Eastside said that she was happy to be in The Bahamas and that within seconds of their arrival on the C.H. Reeves School campus she made many friends.
"It seems like yesterday that we found out we were coming to The Bahamas. I was so excited about coming to The Bahamas since I never travelled outside of The United States," said Fields.
She said she was impressed by the friendliness of the students who asked her questions and wanted to learn about her.
Giovanni Thompson, an eighth grade C.H. Reeves student was excited about having the visitors at his school and that he enjoyed working with them in the peace garden.
After the planting, some of the C. H. Reeves students engaged the East Side students in a spontaneous dance session and later the guests were treated to coconut tart and Goombay Punch. The two schools did have their basketball shoot-out which resulted in a one-game victory for each side. During their visit the students also visited the Straw Market.
According to Dr. Browne, the staff and students of the school decided last year to visit another school in a different country to interact with other students. And that school vice-principal Letisha Laws suggested The Bahamas.
School officials contacted the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in September 2012 to seek permission to establish a relationship with a local school. Eulease Beneby, superintendent for the southeastern district referred them to C.H. Reeves Junior School. The two schools arranged the visit.
After nine months of planning, the visitors arrived in Nassau onboard a Disney Cruise ship. They were greeted by the school's principal Greta Brown, Beneby and other faculty members of the school and transported by bus to the school where they were greeted by the student body.
Immediately after the introductions, some of the students from C.H. Reeves challenged their counterparts from East Side to a basketball shoot-out, but the school's principal refocused their energies on the planting project. Holes were dug, old roots pulled, plants placed in the ground, covered with soil and mulch and watered.
The group paused for a moment for the presentation of tokens by the principal, district superintendent and some students. Each of the bags contained a C. H. Reeves' Raptors t-shirt, a poster and other trinkets.
The two groups discussed C.H. Reeves students traveling to Wilmington next year.
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The intervention program is designed to support students with special learning needs so that they can progress academically without being completely separated from the mainstream educational system.
Team members of the RBC FINCO, Palmdale Branch, donated the Dell desktop computer system to the school's principal, along with the school's head girl Kiante Stuart, head boy Kemeshio Thompson, and deputy head girl Byronique Bastian.
Funds for the purchase of the computer system were raised by the FINCO Palmdale Branch team. The recent donation builds upon the branch's efforts to make a difference in and contribute back to the local community. Earlier this year the branch made a cash donation and provided food and clothing to The Great Commission Ministries.
Jan Knowles, RBC manager, public relations and communications, congratulated the Palmdale team on the time and effort they allocate to initiatives that impact the community.
"We are very proud of the staff of RBC FINCO Palmdale. They embody RBC's commitment to build stronger communities for a better future through sponsorships and volunteerism," said Knowles.
"As a branch we are always trying to find ways in which we can positively impact the community," said Marcus Hutcheson, Finco's Palmdale branch manager. "This initiative was truly a RBC FINCO Palmdale Branch team effort and to be involved in such a selfless act of giving provided a feeling of great satisfaction."
Columbus Primary School principal Marcia Roberts thanked RBC FINCO Palmdale for their donation.
"With responsive, responsible corporate citizens such as RBC, we are able to more effectively meet the demanding needs of the diverse student body of this fine institution," she said.
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Major was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Heritage's recent annual convention in Huatulco, Mexico.
The criteria for being inducted to the Heritage Hall of Fame is quite challenging. In order to qualify for consideration individuals must meet the requirements in one of two categories -- developer and builder.
The Heritage Sales representative must have a minimum of 20 years of service and have consistently displayed excellence throughout his/her career with a minimum enrollment of 2,000 children. And the Heritage agency director or manager must have the 20 years service minimum and displayed excellence in production, recruitment, and persistency.
Scott McIndless, chairman of the Board of Heritage Education Funds, said that Major was the first member in the Hall of Fame to qualify in both categories and that there was no other inductee in the Hall of Fame who has produced more than Major.
She also happens to be the first female inductee into the International Hall of Fame in the history of Heritage.
Heritage Education Funds is an institution that helps parents, grandparents and other interested sponsors save for a child's future post-secondary education through the provision of an educational saving plans. Heritage has been operating in the Bahamas for over 20 years.
After many years in the field of banking, Barbara commenced a new career path in 1992 with Heritage, starting out as district manager and was soon thereafter promoted to country head and agency director for The Bahamas. Over the years she has assisted many families and witnessed thousands of Bahamian students benefit from a Heritage education savings plan, started by either their parents and or guardians for their children's future post-secondary education.
People interested in obtaining more information about Heritage Education Funds International and Education Savings Plans, are invited to visit www.HeritageESP.com
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Nassau, Bahamas, May 3, 2013 -- Nearly 150 public and private school students in Nassau were given an opportunity to experience the major speed increases that Cable Bahamas introduced to over 45,000 REVON Internet subscribers on April 22.
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The competition, hosted by Integrated Building Services (IBS), at The...
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