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There is nothing more fulfilling than having hard work pay off -- and 17-year-old Dante Delaney knows this firsthand. Staying focused and dedicated to achieving his goals throughout his academic life has allowed him to accomplish one of his dreams -- acceptance into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
WOMAN TAKE TWO
Woman Take Two, probably the Bahamas' best known play, was given a thoroughly enjoyable revival at the 2010 Shakespeare in Paradise festival. The play, written in the 1970s by Telcine Turner-Rolle, has been on the BGCSE Literature syllabus since the early days of the examination and has enjoyed two other successful runs in Nassau prior to this latest production. It is easy to appreciate why the play sounds so many chords with its audiences and readers, and David Jonathan Burrows' energetic direction ensures that Nassau's theatergoers are not disappointed.
It is a play about manipulation, ambition and the clash between traditional and modern ways and b ...
The Bahamas government signed a $1,192,651 contract with Garvin Neilly of St. George's Cay Construction Company to construct a six-classroom block addition to he Spanish Wells All-Age School, Wednesday, August 10.
Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday it is important that schools avoid social promotion.
Company: Front office manager, British Colonial Hilton
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
Andrew: I started work in the field of hospitality in 1991 on the front desk at the Casuarinas Hotel on West Bay Street. I then moved to The Sheraton Grand Hotel on Paradise Island in 1992 until 1999, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the team at the Hilton Hotel downtown.
Within my present role I am responsible for the front desk, concierge, valet, pool, beach and gym and the executive lounge, which hosts our top tier guests.
GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
Andrew: The various daily activities are very exciting. Everyday brings new challenges and the opportunity to meet people from around the world. No two days are the same, especially when working along with people from various cultures and backgrounds.
GB: What has been your most memorable moment?
Andrew: I have had so many, from meeting royalty (most recently Prince Harry) and celebrities, to being selected to work in Minneapolis to work for Hilton, to administering CPR to a child that had a coin lodged in her throat. Overall, the hotel industry has been very good to me.
GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Andrew: The industry has changed drastically; guests are much more knowledgeable about the product and services and aspects of the daily operation have truly evolved into a science from a revenue standpoint. Overall, customer service is very demanding and we have had to rise to the challenge in order to remain competitive.
GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
Andrew: We as a country must become more service oriented. I feel that we have strayed away from a true service culture and must focus on regaining this. As our number one industry, training needs to be introduced earlier in high school education in order to groom those that wish to become tourism professionals. The establishment of a BGCSE in hospitality would be great! Also, due to the high operating cost locally, there should be further concessions, especially to smaller branded hotels in order to attract them to us.
GB: What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
Andrew: Stay focused on your goals and try to gain a strong educational base and work on your language skills. Work and interact with as many people as possible in order to help you decide if you have skill of working along with people. Be patient but aggressive and take on any opportunities for advancement that may come your way.
As we continue to digest the dismal results of the national exams released by the Ministry of Education earlier this week, and its implications for the future development of our nation, we are reminded of the importance of good teaching in school.
In the BGCSE, the average grade for English Language was a D. The average grade for Mathematics was E+. The average grades in many other subjects were not much better. The fact that these results marked an improvement offers little consolation.
Thursday's editorial focused on education reform in general. Our focus today is the quality of teaching in our public school system.
There are many excellent teachers in the system who have dedicated their lives to the education of generations of young Bahamians. Through mastery of their subject matter as well as a passion for imparting this knowledge, these teachers have contributed significantly to national development.
Today, many teachers find themselves in the position of having to act as surrogate parents for students whose home lives are extraordinarily difficult.
The range of disciplinary problems confronted by teachers makes an already challenging profession even more difficult.
However, the quality of much of the teaching in our public schools is poor and weak.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, responding to the national exam results, told The Nassau Guardian's News Editor Candia Dames that a "new culture" for learning is needed if we are to improve student performances in the most basic areas.
"Year in and year out we talk the same talk and [get] the same results... We have to make a major, major effort to break through to where we ought to be because it's so necessary to the future of the country," the prime minister said.
A part of that "new culture" Prime Minister Christie is referring to must include re-thinking how teachers teach if our students are to improve their scores, and more importantly reach their full potential.
The standard system of learning used in traditional schools is no longer sufficient. It reaches only a certain segment of students and does little to encourage creativity and critical thinking.
Teachers must make learning exciting, interesting, motivating and relevant.
Two programs that education officials might learn from, that have been shown to engage teachers and students and transform schools, are the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Expeditionary Learning (EL) systems.
The IB program provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. In New Providence, St. Andrew's School and Lyford Cay School are IB schools.
The EL program provides a model that challenges students -- even those starting with low skill levels -- with high-level tasks and active roles in the classroom. Students focus upon the real world application of standards-based content.
Programs such as these create the necessary skills to compete in this knowledge-based globalized world.
One of the planks in the Progressive Liberal Party's campaign platform was its promise to double the investment in education. If Prime Minister Perry Christie is serious about creating a new culture in learning, this increased investment could go a long way in providing the necessary resources to reform public education.
There is much work to be done, and a change in teaching will not happen overnight, but it can begin on a smaller scale, perhaps starting with a pilot program in one of the public schools.
Improving the quality of teachers is just a part of the answer.
More discussion on the improvement of teaching in our primary and secondary schools is needed. One of the toughest battles Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald may have to fight is the development of a more rigorous protocol for teacher evaluation.
This includes better assessment of the productivity and overall performance of teachers, using a range of transparent and fair metrics.
For successful reform of public education, tackling this complex and potentially thorny issue will require deft politics and public support. The Bahamas Union of Teachers will also have to be onboard.
The campaign to improve the quality of teaching in our public school system must be joined by the public at large. This is critical if those battling for reform are to have any chance of success.
One of the hottest topics today is the seemingly "out-of-control" murder count that soared to 85 over the Emancipation holiday weekend with a triple murder, coupled with the many other ills that are taking place in society, most of them done by males in most instances. With the focus usually placed on the negative, the bright, shining stars that are the country's future almost seem to get overshadowed. But five young males refuse to let that pall of negativity win out. Miguel Cartwright, Carlyle Bethel, Runako Aranha-Minnis, Aravind Chenrayan Govindaragu and Dimitri Duncombe, members of Queen's College 2011 graduating class have all had the distinction of being named AP Scholars. They sat at least three AP examinations each, and received an average score of three or above.
Advanced Placement courses give students the opportunity to take college level courses while in high school which proves their readiness for college. They are exposed to college level material which facilitates their transition into institutions of higher learning and earn college credit. Only students who have completed just about all of their Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE) in Grade 11 and have received A and B grades are generally permitted into AP classes. Students at Queen's College have to receive their Bahamians qualifications first before any other external examination.
Queen's College has been offering AP subjects for seven years. They began with just two courses, and now the selection has grown to eight. Courses offered are English Language and Composition, Psychology, History, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Calculus AB, Human Geography and Biology.
Bethel who sat three AP examinations scored a three in Microeconomics, a four in Psychology and a three in Human Geography. They are scores he's really proud of.
"It's good to know that I could take college courses a year early while still in high school and do well," said Bethel who is heading off to the University of Connecticut to study banking and finance. "It helps me a lot to know that I'm going to college prepared and also it provides me the opportunity to get college credits early and avoid taking these same courses in college, so [I] save a lot of money, actually about $3,000 per course."
He credits the staff at Queen's College for preparing the AP students to achieve the success they did.
"Actually, Q.C. did a wonderful job in facilitating us and giving us the resources and teachers to teach us the stuff. With the amazing teachers that we had, it was definitely easy. Teaching is a calling, and students can't do it without the teachers," says Bethel. "And Q.C. does a wonderful job in training their teachers, and actually selecting teachers to love their students and nurture them. And the administration [staff] helped to push us. They would come to the class and check on us and they really pushed us to do good, so it felt like our obligation to do good for the school because they did so much for us."
Bethel was also proud of the fact that the top five AP students were all male, considering the crisis the country now finds itself in.
"Many people like to say that the males aren't doing good in our country and are falling down, and the females are the only ones standing up and have to pick up where the males are falling down, but our year in Queen's College was very strong with male. At the graduation it was mainly males picking up the prizes, except for the valedictorian Karen Wert who did a wonderful job, but it was mainly males who cleaned up, and everyone was saying the males were dominating in our grade. The males in our grade were strong and it made me beyond happy to see that."
Queen's College vice principal and head of high school Shawn Turnquest was pleased with the AP results.
"Every year we receive at least one AP scholar and sometimes two, however, this year we were very pleased to learn that five of our students were named as AP scholars ... and all male students! They rank among the best in the world as only top students are given that distinction. We are so very very proud of them. We are aware of the hard work and the sacrifice they made to obtain those results. Most Bahamian students are not exposed to Calculus while in high school and struggle, particularly in this subject when they get to college. Taking AP calculus while in high school certainly helps with this. We are very proud when our students receive high scores in their AP exams as we then know that they will certainly soar when they get abroad, but it also affirms and validates the decision of the school. Our students, each year, return and tell us how well their Advanced Placement Courses have prepared them for university."
Turnquest said the students could not achieve what they did without putting in a tremendous amount of work and that the administrators and teachers continue to encourage all of their students daily, as they know they often need a boost to encourage them to persevere. She also congratulated the teachers of the high achieving students who she says obviously worked very hard to ensure that the students were prepared.
Aranha-Minnis sat four AP examinations and scored a five in Psychology, three in Language, three in Spanish and a one in Calculus. As he heads off to Emery University in Atlanta where he plans to study pre-med, he says his AP scores make it a little easier for him, because there are a few classes he won't have to take which will save him time.
Cartwright, who is heading off to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, scored a five in Biology, a five in Psychology, a three in Calculus and a one in Spanish says his scores reflect the efforts he put into his studies throughout his high school career, and he was ecstatic.
"My AP scores allow me to actually earn credits for some courses like Biology and Psychology, but taking the AP classes also prepared me well for courses that I still have to take like Calculus, because I did not score a high enough score because you need to score a four and above to earn credits for the course, so I still have to do Calculus over, but I'm still well prepared for the actual college course because I did the AP Calculus. And I'm actually pretty proud of those scores because I did not do pre-Calculus, I just did Calculus," said the graduate who plans to study Physiology in the Life Sciences program.
He also feels more schools should offer the AP program to students because the program offers students the opportunity to experience the difficulty of college level courses while still in high school before actually doing the courses in college.
"They get to earn credits so they don't have to do the courses in college," said Turnquest. "AP exams challenge students and gives them the opportunity to see what they can actually do, and gives them an idea of how well they will do in the future."
Turnquest believes other schools should consider offering AP subjects to their highly motivated and above average students. She also says to offer AP courses, all teachers must be AP trained for the course to be AP accredited which can be a rather hefty cost to the school. Over the years, she says Queen's College has ensured that their teachers receive AP training during the summer months.
AP examinations are given a score of one to five with one being the lowest and five the highest. Many colleges will give college credit for any score of three or higher. Top tier schools, including Ivy League schools, prefer scores of four or higher.
Advanced Placement courses give students the opportunity to take college level courses while in high school which prove their readiness for college, gives them an opportunity to expose themselves to college level material which facilitates their transition into college and earn college credit.
Turnquest said the five young men who have attained AP Scholar status all showed that they loved to learn. She described them as highly motivated young men who were well-respected by their teachers and peers. Bethel was the mastermind behind the club, QC 5000 that fed the homeless during the course of his final year at the institution.
Cartwright was one of the top students in the country, last year, having received eight "A" grades as an eleventh grade student. He has also written a television series that has already been filmed. Duncombe was one of the last modern language cadet winners who did a summer language immersion program.
Aranha-Minnis and Govindaraju (who has returned to India for university) both received the highest scores in the country in at least one and possibly two Bahamas Junior Certificates and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education subjects.
STUDENTS WITH THE HIGHEST SCORE IN AT LEAST ONE EXAMINATION
Araving Chenrayan Govindaraju
STUDENTS RECEIVING A SCORE OF FOUR
The Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) spent the morning of Friday, April 26 at the Doris Johnson Senior High School, speaking to a grade 11 economics class. This followed an engagement on Friday, April 12 at Queen's College, speaking with grade 12 economics and commerce students about stocks, investing and the local stock exchange. Both visits allowed senior exchange officials the opportunity to interact with young Bahamians in a small discussion setting that also allowed students the opportunity to ask questions directly to exchange officials.
BISX Chief Executive Keith Davies commented on the visit. "Young people are our future investors, and they bring such a unique perspective to discussions, so we not only talk about investing and stocks, but we also branch out to talk about education, especially their next step in their life, into college or another path. More than a few years have passed since I was a high school student, and it is easy to forget the concerns of young people at that stage in their educational, professional and financial life. Giving them advice on saving, investing and education is great from a social point of view. However, it is also smart business, because this generation is the first generation that will grow up having always been familiar with a stock exchange. BISX is only 13 years old, and these young people will mature along with our nation's stock exchange."
Davies went on to add. "I would like to say a special thank you to Mrs. Shandica Sweeting at Doris Johnson and Mrs. Monique Carnegie-Scavella at Queen's College for inviting us to speak to their classes. What I appreciate the most about this was that this was our second time speaking to one of Mrs. Sweeting's classes and the third time speaking to one of Mrs. Scavella's classes. They have decided that discussing saving and investing should be a part of their students curriculum, and we are only too happy to assist. This is a great commitment on behalf of these teachers. I would also like to thank the students for being so eager and willing to participate."
He continued, "Over the past five years, we have had the opportunity to speak to a number of schools in Nassau about the exchange. In the next academic year, we plan to also speak to schools in Grand Bahama, and utilizing modern technology, we hope to be able to speak to other schools throughout The Bahamas over alternative communication technologies such as Skype."
Davies went on to explain that BISX welcomed any opportunity to speak to students who were preparing for the BGCSE exams, as well as those students who were moving towards graduation and on into the work force. Completing his remarks Davies stated, "An educated investor base is essential to a proper capital market. The time and energy we put into educating students like those at Doris Johnson Senior High School and Queen's College will create a whole new group of informed future investors who will seek to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the Bahamian capital markets."