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After nearly three months of rigorous military training, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force's (RBDF) best female recruit, Victicia Rollins, credited The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) with helping her pass what was an arduous experience.
Rollins, who graduated from BTVI in 2010 with a certificate in computer repair, said what she learned at the institution even helped her with the initial interview.
"During the interview, I started to have an anxiety attack in front of the six officers, but I remembered what one of my instructors, Mr. [Craig] Albury, taught me. He told me to take it slow and breathe slowly. He helped me with my anxiety while speaking publicly to the class during a business plan presentation. I used to have severe anxiety; BTVI helped to boost my confidence," said Rollins.
Training for the 83 recruits, nine of whom were females, took place February 8 to May 2. The program's curriculum included subjects such as navigation, seamanship, small arms, first-aid, firefighting and communications. Math and English were inclusive of the academic subjects covered. The demanding Swedish physical fitness training program and swimming comprised the bulk of the fitness program.
Rollins said she also learned invaluable leadership skills at BTVI and had to quickly use them while in training. "While in the computer course at BTVI, I was in charge of a group of eight and I had to deal with varying personalities...it was challenging," she said. "While at the base, I was captain of the squad for a day and just as I had to tell my team at BTVI to fix a part of a computer, I had to sometimes tell a recruit to clean an area or square off an area. I had to stand my ground," said the 24-year-old.
It was at BTVI where Rollins said her discipline was put to the test with 8 a.m. classes. However, she later thought that paled in comparison to the early morning routines at the RBDF's Coral Harbour base.
"They would get us up at 4 o'clock in the morning to exercise, run four miles, 12 miles, eight miles, pushups, sit ups, etcetera. It was easy to give up. I had to push myself. It was up to me. The fourth day I was ready to give up, but my family, including my parents and godson, kept me going. They are the glue to my life, and I ended up graduating on top," she said beaming with pride.
Reflecting on the award she received for her leadership skills, positive attitude, physical aptitude and exam results, Rollins said although she is honored; simply graduating was most rewarding.
The determined Rollins, who had just started her Associate of Applied Science degree in office administration in January just before being called into training, said she will eventually make time to complete her degree.
Rollins said BTVI has been a stepping stone for her, and she is not finished yet.
"Going to BTVI made me feel I was doing something constructive with my life. It showed me I can accomplish my dreams. The instructors motivated me like Mr. O'Glen Johnson and Mr. Anthony Ramtulla. They were hands-on and really helped me to go after my dreams," she said.
The two highest performing candidates in the 2013 Electrical Installation and Carpentry national exams will be expanding their knowledge and hone their skills at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).
Lamaron Sweeting, a 2013 graduate of South Andros High had achieved the best results in the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) Electrical Installation exam. Oscar Saunders, formerly of Nassau Christian Academy, topped all other candidates nationwide in carpentry.
Lamaron recently collected his acceptance letter to BTVI and is excited to begin his studies toward an associate of applied science degree in electrical installation when summer classes begin on April 28.
"It is important for me to attend BTVI to further my hands-on skills and to apply it to the world of work," said the 17-year-old.
During his three-year study under the tutelage of Errol Coke, Lamaron obtained many skills and is able to install receptacles, switches and breakers. He said he enjoys manual work and electrical installation became his favorite subject.
"I understand it and am able to apply it easily," said the young man who aspires to become an electrical engineer. "The passion I have for the work makes me feel I'm doing it for fun. Time doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I can see what I've done."
Oscar, who has already been enrolled at BTVI for two semesters, said although he is learning the intricacies of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), carpentry comes natural to him.
"I like things that can be done with the wood -- the many possibilities. I make art out of wood," said the 19-year-old who has built a computer desk, towel rack, wine rack and car speaker box.
Oscar gave credit to his teacher, Carl Curry. But he also said he took the time to put in extra work which he said made the difference as the more he did it, he said the better at it he got.
BTVI's Dean of Construction Trades Alexander Darville said it was an honor to have Oscar enrolled at BTVI and Lamaron starting in a few weeks. "It shows how students see BTVI," he said. "We are attracting top students from the technical areas."
Darville said that for many high school students, technical education is a first choice.
"We live in a technical world and BTVI is literally preparing its students for the world of work," he said.
THE BAHAMAS Pharmacy Council's chairman last night told Tribune Business that the case which saw a Bahamas pharmacist paid $4,000 a month for the use of his company's name and licence to export illegal prescription drugs into the US is "unlikely to occur" under current laws.
Barbara Henderson, responding to this newspaper's report yesterday, said the Pharmacy Act 2009 was developed "in part as a response to this case" and she added that the Council was seeking to further strengthen laws on the import/export of pharmaceutical products in the Bahamas.
Too often, art classes act in an "academic vacuum" said College of The Bahamas art instructor, John Cox. To give his advanced students experience in the local art world and to "breathe life into the art program" at The College of The Bahamas, he helps them plan and carry out site-specific art pieces.
The latest location is the new building at The College of The Bahamas, the state-of-the-art Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre - fitting since Harry C. Moore was a lifelong patron of the arts.
"I think a lot of people don't know what a supporter of the arts he was and these pieces bring attention to it," said Cox. "It presents a present and future effort to make the library a monument to contemporary visual expression."
Over the next few weeks, Arts&Culture will be examining the installations in this library by his Art 400: Advanced Painting students.
Some things are often so tiny you miss them - but the installation by art education major Yutavia George on the glass wall of the computer center in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Center has undeniable presence.
That's because though each of the 150 tiny and intricate wire-and-bead butterfly sculptures come together to make up a charming glittering display. Just like their real-life counterparts, the tiny creations don't reveal their true impressive beauty until the viewer investigates their complexity up close.
And impressive they should be - each butterfly took George 30-40 minutes to make. Add that up for 150 butterflies in total, and the time spent is mind-boggling.
"This piece branched off from two other pieces I was trying to do, and through the hardship of trying to create these pieces, it made me think of concept - how much time it takes for someone to come up with a brilliant idea," she said.
"The piece itself was time consuming for a reason, so that whole process of getting the work done was actually fulfilling the concept of it. But I enjoyed it."
Indeed to George, the piece, titled simply "Butterflies", honors the labor of process. Such a piece is perfect for an academic library setting, reminding viewers of the hard work and ultimate payoff of sticking with a great idea.
"At the library, thought is encouraged," said George. "I knew it had to be placed in the library and I thought that was wonderful - people sit and think in the library all the time, they spend hours in the library working on their ideas. So the butterflies for me really represent ideas and how long it takes for someone to come up with something so beautiful."
Though you would think with the extensive process that already went into this piece, George would be celebrating her victory. But the ambitious artist who originally aimed for 200 butterflies wants to continue her labor of love and cover an entire wall with the tiny creations, becoming an inspiration for her commitment to process.
"The reason I chose butterflies is because I feel like ideas fly over your head, and you're just trying to catch them like butterflies in a net," she said.
"And when the sun hits them, they really shimmer, and the light behind the glass illuminates them, and it's like the beauty of ideas. It has a presence for such little things."
Nassau, The Bahamas
-Neighbourly compassion drives the Bain and Grant's Town community to
unite through free after school programmes and computer classes for the young
and the old.
"Here at Bain
and Grants Town, we try to do everything to help the community because they
really need the help," said Diana Bullard, manager of the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal Centre.
"We have a lot
of people who come out for the computer classes, even people from upscale
communities come out here also because their pocket right now is tight.
So they come in and take advantage of this free opportunity...
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The U.S. Embassy's Education and Cultural Specialist plays a key role in supporting the planning, development and implementation of a broad range of U.S. Government funded programs and activities in partnership with the Bahamian government, civil society, business, academic and cultural entities.
Successful applicants will have an extensive knowledge of Bahamian politics, educational structures, history and contemporary culture is required. A firm understanding of U. S. society, culture, education, political processes and foreign policy concerns is highly desirable.
A Bachelor Degree from an accredited institution.
3 to 5 years of experience in cultural or media activities, public relations, university teaching, journalism or related fields.
Skills and Abilities:
Exceptional communication, public speaking, organizational, and project management skills are required.
Must be able to work effectively with other people and organizations in the planning, coordinating, and carrying out of innovative education and cultural activities and programs.
Computer skills and an understanding of technology are required.
Deadline for applications: May 24, 2012.
Nassau, The Bahamas - Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes kept his promise and bought several cases of crabs from 30 Mangrove Cay, Andros students who were selling the crabs to raise money to purchase lap top computers. The students travelled from Mangrove Cay with their parents and Family Island Administrator Gilbert Kemp to sell the crabs on R. M. Bailey Park, Friday, July 30.
Cabinet Ministers were among those who showed up to support the students at the event where $4,500 was raised. Sir Arthur is pictured holding a crab while Member of Parliament for Fox Hill the Hon. Fred Mitchell and students look on...
CaribPR Wire, Kingston,
Jamaica - Fans of Reggae Sumfest and reggae music will be able to catch
some of their favorite acts later this month without leaving the
comfort of their home.
Telegens and CbeanMedia.tv have teamed up to present Reggae Sumfest TV,
which will video stream live from the July 21 to 23rd "greatest reggae
show on earth" in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Fans will be able to see live performances from Beres Hammond, Half
Pint, Beenie Man, Jah Cure, Mavado, Tanya Stephens, I-Octane, Konshens,
Cecile, Kip Rich, Christopher Martin and Tifa among others, as they
appear on the Sumfest stage over the three day period by simply logging
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, and is the second leading cause of death in the United States, according to gastroenterologist Dr. Beverton Moxey. As Colorectcal Cancer Awareness Month is observed during March, he advises people 45 years and older to speak with their physicians about screening for colorectal cancer. People who have a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of cancer or those who have symptoms -- change in bowel habits, bright red or dark blood in the stool, discomfort in the abdomen, including frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and cramps or unexplained weight loss, constant tiredness or unexplained anemia (iron deficiency), should also speak with a medical professional.
During a recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series Dr. Moxey stressed that the number of patients affected by colon cancer is equal and that men aren't affected more than women, and that women aren't affected more than men.
Colorectal or large bowel cancer is the disease in which malignant cells form in the lining of the rectum or in the colon. Most colon and rectal cancers originate from benign wart-like structures or growths that occur on the inner lining of the colon or the rectum, called polyps or flat lesions. The difference between polyps and flat lesions is very simple. Polyps protrude into the lumen and flat lesions remain flat onto the lining. The polyps and flat lesions have the ability to transform into cancer. It takes more than 10 years for someone to develop cancer from a polyp or flat lesion according to the doctor.
As the process to cancer development is a lengthy period, Dr. Moxey said colorectal cancer can be prevented through the detection of polyps at an early stage. And that a persons' survival rate is best when the disease is caught at an early stage.
Colorectal cancer is preventable
"Colorectal cancer is one of those diseases that is preventable, but it requires screening. Early diagnosis means a better chance of successful treatment. Screening should begin at age 50 in most persons, except for persons of African descent. The guidelines have changed for persons of African descent that screening should be started at an earlier age, 45, because persons have been found to have a diagnosis of colorectal cancer earlier. Additionally, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer you would start screening before the age of 50, you would start screening either at the age of 40 or at the age of 10 years younger than when the diagnosis was made. For instance, if you have a first-degree relative that was diagnosed at the age of 40, then you should begin screening at the age of 30. Additionally if you have a history of IBD, then that would put you at a higher risk category and you should start screening before the age of 50."
Colorectal cancer data collected by Dr. Moxey from the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) between 2003 and 2013 showed that 436 patients were diagnosed with colorectal cancer with 329 persons diagnosed with colon cancer exclusively. Persons that had cancer involving the rectal or the rectum sigmoid junction was at 107.
"When we look at the occurrence between male and female, it's equally affected -- 218 men and 218 female," said the gastroenterologist. Of the total, 298 people are still living, 138 had died. And he said the majority of the patients diagnosed were done at an advanced stage -- stage three as compared to stage zero or stage one.
Dr. Moxey's Doctors Hospital data from 2009 to 2013 data showed 142 persons diagnosed with colorectal cancer -- 53 males and 41 females. For cancer of the rectum, 22 males and 26 females were diagnosed.
Age group wise, he only had information from Doctors Hospital that showed a patient in the 20-25 age group bracket diagnosed.
"For the most part, the incidence increases from the age of 45, and something that was very striking as well is when you look at this age group, persons over 70, compared to looking at the others shows that there is still a high incidence in persons that are older," said Dr. Moxey. "Colorectal cancer in the United States is one of the second leading causes of death. I used the U.S. as a benchmark because that's in large part a lot of the guidelines that we use by which we diagnose and treat. Lung and prostate cancers are more common in men and lung and breast (cancers) in women when compared to colorectal cancer. However, when we look at the incidence of colon cancer in men and women it's equal in terms of the amount of patients that are affected, so men aren't affected more than women, and women aren't affected more than men."
Risk factors for colorectal cancer
Polyps, age, a history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diet high in saturated fats such as red meat, a personal or family history of cancer (colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium or breast), obese patients, smoking and genetic syndromes (Lynch syndrome, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) are risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Dr. Moxey said that the hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) sometimes called Lynch syndrome accounts for approximately five to 10 percent of all colorectal cancer cases. And that the risk of colorectal cancer in families with this particular genetic syndrome is 70 percent to 90 percent, which is several times the risk factor of the general population.
"People with HNPCC are diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an average age of 45, and genetic testing for the most part is available and can be done to prevent the development or to at least find out if you are at risk for the development of colorectal cancer," he said.
Another hereditary syndrome is Familial adenomatus polyposis (FAP) which accounts for a very small percentage of colorectal cancer -- one percent of cases. According to the doctor, people with FAP typically develop hundreds or thousands of polyps, so when medical professionals look at the colon during a colonoscopy it's literally studded with the growths. The polyps he said are initially benign (non-cancerous), but that there is nearly a 100-percent chance that the polyps will develop into cancer if left untreated.
"Colorectal cancer usually occurs by age 40 in these persons. There are mutations in this particular gene, and genetic testing is also available. It's recommended that people who are diagnosed with FAP should have yearly screening examinations via colonoscopy."
If you notice a change in your bowel habits, Dr. Moxey said that should prompt you to have a discussion with your primary care physician about getting a colonoscopy, regardless of your age.
"If you were the type of person that went to the bathroom everyday like clockwork, and now for the last several weeks you notice you're going every four days, that represents a change in your bowel habits. If your stools were previously nice, solid chunks, and now they're coming out pencil thin, that represents a change in your bowel habits. If you were having regular bowel movements and now the stools are coming out like diarrhea that represents a change in your bowel habits -- this should be investigated, and looked at to determine if it warrants screening via colonoscopy. If you see blood in your stool, whether it's bright red or dark like tar, that may warrant screening via colonoscopy. If you complain of discomfort in your abdomen, frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, cramps ... should not be taken for granted if it's a frequent occurrence. If you have unexplained weight loss, if you're constantly tired or have unexplained anemia [iron deficiency] that should warrant you having your bowels screened via colonoscopy."
There are a number of screening methods that medical professionals use -- the standard, tried, proven old way, the Guaic testing in which patients are given cards from the doctor and asked to collect and submit three different stool samples that are checked for blood. Patients can also have a Barium enema, a virtual colonography, a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy.
The Barium enema is an x-ray test in which a tube is inserted into the rectum through which the Barium solution flows filling up the area and allowing the medical professional to pick up any abnormal areas.
Sigmoidoscopy is a short procedure that goes right to the sigmoid colon looking for any cancers that may go to the sigmoid colon or in the rectum. This procedure misses everything else.
The virtual colonography is a computer CT-guided test that allows medical professionals to visualize the bowel. The disadvantage to this particular procedure is that it examines the entire length of the colon, but it misses smaller lesions as the sensitivity is only where it can detect things that are more than a centimeter. Also if medical professionals see a polyp at the time of the test, they cannot remove it. The patient will still have to have a colonoscopy and have to do the same prep for the colonoscopy as they would have had for the colonography.
"The colonoscopy is the superior test," said the doctor.
He also said there are other modalities that need to be taken into account when deciding on which test is best for patients.
"There are some people who may not be able to have a colonoscopy for whatever reason -- like maybe they have a lot of medical co-morbidities. They may have severe heart disease, in addition to that, severe lung disease ... anything whereby getting sedation poses an increased risk for the patient. In those patients, the CT colonography would be a good alternative, so there are places for each of these modalities, but by far in terms of the superior testing, the colonoscopy is the superior testing when you're talking about the screening for colorectal cancer.
Prior to any testing for colon cancer, Dr. Moxey said genetic counseling is always suggested for colorectal cancer patients just as it is for breast cancer patients.
"The question is does the patient really want to know? Do you really want to know if you are at risk, significantly so for developing one of these symptoms from colorectal cancer given the emotional consequences of being a carrier?"
Consequences he said include being patients labeled by insurance companies as well as by employers and affecting their ability to obtain insurance coverage. And that it needs to be taken into account whether the patient is emotionally healthy to accept a positive or negative test.
"Typically, whenever you're going to do a test like this, genetic testing for these particular diseases, even as it relates to testing a patient for HIV, you should always counsel them beforehand, and try to ascertain whether they're emotionally able to handle such a diagnosis."
After the diagnosis
Staging is the standardized way that describes the spread of cancer in relation to the layers of the wall of the colon or rectum, the nearby lymph nodes and other organs. The stage is dependent on the extent of spread through the different tissue layers that are affected. It is an important factor in determining treatment options and prognosis. It's described by the TNM system --T is for the size of the tumor; N is for whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and the M is for whether it's metastasized to organs such as the liver or lung.
At stage 0 known as "cancer in situ", the cancer is localized in the mucosa (moist tissue lining of the colon or rectum). Treatment is through the removal of the polyp in a polypectomy.
Stage 1 cancer is where it has spread from the mucosa of the colon wall and it has gone into the muscle layer. Treatment in this instance is surgery to remove the tumor as well as some of the surrounding lymph nodes for sampling purposes to make sure that there is no spread involvement of the lymph nodes.
Stage 2 involves spread beyond the muscle layer, but there is no involvement of lymph nodes, but it can involve spread of cancer to other nearby organs as well.
Stage 3 does not necessarily have to involve spread beyond the muscle layers, but it does involve the lymph nodes. And that's further broken down into the amount of lymph nodes that are involved whether it's one to three, four to six, seven or more, and that determines the different stags of stage three, you have A, B and C.
Stage 4 is when you have metastatic spread. The cancer involves the blood, the lymph nodes as well as other organs, so the ovary can be involved, the abdominal wall, the liver or the lung.
Treatment involves surgery. It can involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy as well as immunotherapy.
Dr. Moxey said there are several methods that are used, and every case is different, and that every individual case is taken into consideration when medical professionals determine the surgical approach.
"Essentially the goal of surgery is really to remove all of the cancer and to ensure you have clear margins. At this point the gastroenterologists role is complete and we have handed [the patient] over to a surgical oncologist, or a colorectal surgeon," said Dr. Moxey. Their goal at that point is to remove all of the cancerous tissue. That's accomplished by ensuring that you have clear goals on all sides that are free of cancer. Then the remaining sections of the colon are joined together."
With cancers of the rectum, the doctor said there are two approaches to treatment, depending on how high up the cancer is. In a low anterior approach where the upper part of the rectum is removed and the colon is reattached to the lower part, he said the patient can continue to eliminate waste as usual. Or they can have an abominoperineal resection where the cancer is located in the lower part, and in this instance the patient would need to have a bag, or a colostomy to eliminate waste. He said in most instances, it ends up being a permanent colostomy.
Other therapies include radiation therapy and chemotherapy and varies based on the patient's stage and whether they require radiation, chemotherapy or both. Radiation therapy is given with high energy x-rays to kill or shrink the cancer cells. Dr. Moxey said it could be given externally or internally. Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs that are used to kill the cancer cells. There are different treatment protocols, and the drugs that are used are individualized. It depends on the patient, which therapy the oncologist decides.
Treatments can be done before or after surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after surgery to maximize a patient's chance for cure. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery. In unfortunate cases where the cancer has spread and cannot be removed, there's palliative chemotherapy in which medication can be given to delay or reverse some of the symptoms and provide some improvement in the patient's quality and length of life, but it's not curative.
According to Dr. Moxey, new therapies available on the market include Antiangiogenesis therapy, a treatment whereby the tumor cells are starved and done through disrupting the blood supply. He said this is usually given along with chemotherapy. He said the drug Avastin has been approved since 2004 (by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for treatment in Stage IV colorectal cancer. Additionally he said there is targeted therapy, which are treatment drugs designed to target the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.
The 17th Annual Bahamas National Spelling Bee produced fierce competition among the 20 participants, but it was Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools student Prachi Kondapuram who took first place.
The event was held at the Crown Ballroom in Atlantis yesterday.
Prachi, 11, of Queen's College, said she did her best to remain calm and focused, chalking up her victory to fastidious preparation.
Prachi, who was still processing her win last night, said, "I can't feel anything right now".
"I am very excited to be going to Washington. I hope I get at least past the written rounds and go into the speaking rounds that will be televised. The Bahamas will place this year."
Asked about her work ethic up to last night, Prachi said, "It has been tons of work, especially for Ms. [Joyelle] McIntosh (coach) who had to tackle tutoring and made us stay two hours every day after school."
Prachi went 23 rounds, winning with the word 'photographer'.
She went one round with sixth grade student Donovan Butler, 11, of Xavier's Lower School, but in the end it was the word 'impertinent' that defeated him.
Prachi will represent The Bahamas at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C.
She will be accompanied by second place contestant, Donovan, and third place contestant Franqel Hagan, 10, of Hugh Campbell Primary School in Grand Bahama.
Prachi was showered with prizes, including a laptop computer, and a $750 cash prize, among many other gifts.
Donovan, who placed second in the previous 16th Annual Bahamas National Spelling Bee, said he was disappointed to be a runner up two years in a row, but he is already focusing on next year's competition.
"I still have next year and hopefully I will do better," he said.
"I have been studying long hours and I have put in a lot of work, and I will continue that."
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald wished the winner and participants great success.
"To the winner, our high praise and immeasurable support as you become a spelling ambassador for our country," he said in his message.
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Prime Minister Perry Christie shared similar sentiments in their messages.
The Bahamas National Spelling Bee held an additional three rounds as part of the preliminary competition on Friday, in which Donovan placed first; Adon Beckford, 11, of St. John's College placed second and Prachi placed third.