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For the average high school graduate, there is usually one of two paths they can take after the turning of the tassel -- head off to college or to enter the workforce. For Marquez Williams when she arrived at the fork in the road, she really did not know which path she wanted to take.
Amidst the bad rap that young men today receive, Queen's College (QC) senior Shannon Butler, stands out as an example of a young man to be heralded. The high school senior snagged the coveted Best Overall Performance in the 2012 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education in The Bahamas.
A smile -- a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth. It is an expression that denotes pleasure, joy or happiness. A smile is understood by everyone despite culture, race or religion. It is internationally known. But for some people, that expression that for many is so simple, can be a source of great embarrassment because of a facial deformity known as a cleft lip or cleft palate.
The gift of a smile may not be something that can be put in a box, wrapped with pretty paper and tied with a bow, but it is something that Operation Smile, an international medical charity has provided to more than 200,000 children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities around the world. And it's this organization that 16-year-old Natalie Hernandez is a member of.
The Year 12 student of St. Andrew's School, a volunteer student educator for Operation Smile, recently traveled with the medical mission organization to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as part of a 48-member volunteer team that performed 81 life-changing smile surgeries, free-of-charge on underprivileged children with cleft lips and palates.
Natalie did not actually perform surgery, but she went into schools where she taught local children about basic health and hygiene such as handwashing, dental hygiene and burn care and prevention. Prior to leaving for Cambodia, she also spent months collecting donations to take to Cambodia. She took over 200 stuffed animals and toothbrushes as well as more than $600 that she raised with her school peers.
"The trip was absolutely amazing," said Hernandez. "It was a life-changing experience. It was so great to see the kids learning and it made me happy to know I was making a difference in their lives in this small way. It also taught me that a mother's love is universal and that a baby born with cleft impacts the whole family. A mom, regardless of where she lives in the world, or her social class, will do whatever she can for her child. "They scrapped together whatever money they could, to ensure that their child could have a chance at a better future."
Natalie witnessed people arriving on mules and buses, who traveled from hours away to take advantage of the free surgeries.
"The trip also helped me to put everything in perspective and see the bigger picture. Life isn't about a particular bag, or going out on Saturday night, as many high school students think. It's about helping others. We have been blessed with so many things -- an education, a house, and food. It's our responsibility to give back and help those who aren't as fortunate," she said.
Persons as young as six months up to age 65 showed up to have surgeries on their cleft lip and palate. Over 20,000 Cambodians suffer from the deformity in a population of 14.8 million. Every year about 600 more babies are born with a facial deformity.
Being a part of this legendary organization may not seem like all that big of a deal to many people but Natalie said it was important to her. She thinks of the many children who go through life with low self-esteem, health issues or those who even die because of complications with their cleft palate or lip and said she couldn't help but want to be a part of improving the quality of their lives.
Now in her third year volunteering with Operation Smile, Natalie was finally able to go into the operating rooms as an observer. It made her appreciate the before and after even more
"It's fulfilling to know I helped out in a bigger way this time around," she said.
In preparation for the mission, Natalie underwent two weeks of training in Beijing, China, last summer to be a student educator on health and hygiene.
While the high school senior is proud of the work she did in Cambodia, she believes it is just as important to encourage her peers to be civic-minded.
"People who can eat three meals daily, have a roof over their heads and access to an education should be grateful for all they have and be able to be compassionate enough to share their wealth -- be it time or money to help the less fortunate," she said.
If more young people learned to care about other people, and get involved in charitable organizations, she said, they could learn to be less selfish and see life in the perspective it should be viewed in.
"Being a part of organizations like [Operation Smile] or going on a trip where you physically assist in changing lives makes things like not getting the perfect present, or grades, or being the perfect size or being allowed to go to a party seem insignificant. Things young people consider to be the end of the world no longer compare when you see the big picture. I am glad I am a part of Operation Smile because it has done me good and I hope for other young people to find something they can relate to in charitable services and get on board. It's our duty to give back because most of us are so fortunate," she said.
In hopes of inspiring other students to do more, Natalie founded a Project Smile club at her school. It currently has 10 members. They have done a number of bake sales from which the proceeds benefit the needy. They have also visited children's homes to lend a hand.
It is also important for the young charity worker to be well-rounded which is why she is also president of her school's chess club and vice president of Model United Nations (MUN) club. She also keeps on top of her studies and has a 3.90 grade point average which is just a slight drop from the 4.00 GPA she maintained for most of her high school years prior to transferring to The Bahamas.
Natalie lived in Honduras for two years before moving to The Bahamas. It was while there that she became involved with Operation Smile. She translated for English-speaking doctors. She was able to help doctors and families communicate about procedures and follow-up care.
"After seeing the amazing results they had, I wanted to become more involved. I am so lucky to have gone on this trip, and thank everyone who made it possible," she said.
Natalie believes her involvement as a local translator on four previous Operation Smile mission trips in the South American country played a role in her getting accepted to participate in the latest mission. But no matter the reason, she said the experience was truly life-changing.
"I was so excited, really happy and proud to get accepted to go on a mission trip with Operation Smile. I always wanted to make a difference in the world and this was a great first step. I think I was chosen because I was president for two years of a group called Jovennes En Accion (Youth in Action) in Honduras, which was a social service group that brought kids from different social classes to volunteer at orphanages and retirement homes."
Out of the hundreds that apply for Operation Smile medical missions, only 30 high school students are accepted.
The St. Andrew's School senior has numerous ambitions which include following in her mother, Sally Sternal's footsteps and working with U.S. embassy especially since she enjoys seeing different parts of the world. Her other option has her becoming a plastic surgeon. She was inspired in the second career choice through her exposure to Operation Smile.
No matter where life's road takes this community-minded young lady she said she would always have a passion for community work and will make creating a better world a priority in her life.
Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that goes around the world to give free cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries to unpriveleged children around. It was founded in 1982 by Kathy and Bill Magee who went to the Phillipines on a medical mission and saw so many underprivileged children and adults afflicted with cleft lip an/or palate. They were moved to organize something significant that would benefit these individuals. The couple knew they had to do something more than just one non-profit mission trip and as a result Project Smile was created. It has brought together thousands of medical professionals and volunteers for hundreds of trips to many areas around the world to perform life-changing surgeries. Since its establishment more than 140,000 children worldwide have been treated.
A cleft occurs when the body's natural structures fail to fuse. This forms before birth. According to statistics, one in 700 children worldwide are born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. An older term is harelip, based on the similarity to the cleft in the lip of a hare. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery, especially if conducted soon after birth or in early childhood.
If the cleft does not affect the palate structure of the mouth, it is referred to as cleft lip. It is formed in the top of the lip as either a small gap or an indentation in the lip (partial or incomplete cleft) or if it continues into the nose (complete cleft). Lip cleft can occur as a one-sided (unilateral) or two-sided (bilateral). It is due to the failure of fusion of the maxillary and medial nasal process.
Cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined. The soft palate in these cases cleft as well. In most cases, cleft lip is also present.
Public Weather Forecast for The Bahamas for today and tonight, Wednesday 09th January 2013 General Situation: A high pressure ridge continues to create fresh breezes over The Bahamas. Weather: Mostly sunny, warm and breezy today, turning fair and windy tonight Advisory: Small craft should continue to exercise caution
"The Street Beats Group" out of New York will star in the Grand Bahama Performing Arts Society (GPBAS) last performance of the season, which promises to be an energetic and colorful finale to the GBPAS' third season.
The team of young performers based in New York City bring their high energy, urban movement of hip hop and break-dancing while drumming on everyday objects such as five-gallon plastic buckets, household brooms, trash cans and computer keyboards in a performance that is similar to the off-Broadway show "Stomp", to the stage at the Regency Theatre on Saturday, October 1 at 8 p.m. The interactive shows also has segments of audience participation.
Grand Bahamians will enjoy a class act of performers who have performed at the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sears, AT&T, Pepsi, Nike, and at the U.S Tennis Open. Tickets are priced at $25 for adults and $15 for students/children, and are available at the Seventeen Shop, the Art of Giving (International Bazaar), and Antoni's Pizzeria in the Seahorse Plaza.
Hip hop, break-dance, tap and drumming enthusiasts will also be excited to know that the group will conduct two workshops, one for dance and one for drumming on the morning prior to the performance, at 10 o'clock at the theater.
"The Street Beats Group's interactive workshops are great for beginners and advanced students," saus Zoilo Ruiz, president of the group. "The fundamentals we teach will inspire and give a great new perspective on how you can make music by being creative with everyday objects."
Individuals wishing to participate in either of the workshops can contact Gloria McGlone, a (GBPAS) committee member, at 373-2887 for workshop details. Special discounts are available for workshop and concert combos.
The GBPAS is a charitable organization that was launched in January of 2009 by volunteers who are passionate about the performing arts. The objective of this society is to provide its members and the community of Grand Bahama with a variety of international musical, theatrical and dance performances throughout the year. They also seek to encourage and expose the Grand Bahamian youth to the endless possibilities of a career in the performing arts field through the provision of scholarships to local music and dance schools, as well as summer camps and colleges abroad.
Charles Rose Jr.'s journey from his home on Grand Bahama to graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering started out with $3,000 in his pocket and lots of faith that he would get into and graduate from the university charging $30,000 in annual tuition fees.
"I went through a lot to go after my dreams," said the recent graduate. "But my story is about never giving up on your dreams, no matter what you're facing in life." It was a message 21-year-old Rose, a graduate speaker, shared with his peers as he graduated from The William States Lee College of Engineering.
In his commencement address, Rose, who graduated cum laude, spoke about how people thought he was crazy for leaving home to go to the United States without even the minimum tuition fees. He started classes not knowing if he would ever get the chance to finish. Rose said he pretty much stepped out on faith, as he was determined to not give up on his dreams.
"Everyone told me that the most logical thing was to start off at The College of The Bahamas or the University of the West Indies and then go on," he said. But his dreams were of attending UNCC.
"If people call us crazy, and if being crazy leads to being successful, then yes we are crazy," he told his fellow graduates.
On the final day that his tuition was due in his first semester, he came across a note under his dormitory door that said he had to pay that day or be out of the dorm room by midnight. He did not know how he would explain to his family that he had lost his dream. He still went to class that day; when he got out he checked his voicemail, revealing a message from his mother, Chassarie Bullard, telling him that he had received a $7,500 grant from the government. He didn't have the money yet, but his mother sent him a copy of the grant letter. He printed it out and took it to the student accounts department. He was allowed to remain in school. Rose said he laminated the disheartening note that he found under his door telling him to leave; he carries it in his wallet to this day as a reminder of the power of his faith.
"A lot of times people on the island cry 'We don't have any money', and a lot of the times we don't, but when God is on your side...God is bigger than anything," said Rose.
Rose applied for numerous scholarships and grants throughout his four years at UNCC. He received a total of $15,000 in scholarships and grants annually, including a scholarship from the Lyford Cay Foundation in his final year, but the generosity of approximately 30 individuals helped to pay the balance of his annual tuition.
At home, on Christmas break after his first semester, he did a television interview which aired on New Year's Eve during which he talked about his dreams and struggles and encouraged others to not give up on their dreams. People saw the interview and called in to support. Their contributions paid Rose's fees for the next semester. They continued to help him with the balance not covered by his scholarships and grants through to his graduation.
"Every semester I didn't know how I was going to come up with the funds to go back to school, but I kept having faith every semester. And whatever scholarships I received, whatever balance was left, these individuals would pretty much pay the balance."
Rose, who graduated with a 3.68 cumulative grade point average (GPA), said he believes his benefactors had faith in him because he had faith in himself and believed he would accomplish what he set out to do.
"I did my part...I kept up my grades. I think they saw that I was focused and determined to achieve my goals and wasn't looking at letting anything get in the way, and they wanted to help me do that."
Rose said had a burning desire to attend college since he was a young boy. He said he was about 7 years old when his mother laid a map out in front of him and his sister, Chardonae Rose, and told them to find The Bahamas on the map. He said they realized that it was just a little dot against the rest of the world.
"She told us that there was a whole world out there for us to explore and to never limit ourselves to only The Bahamas." The graduate said that lesson also served as an inspiration to him and his sister. She went on to study in Ecuador and speaks fluent Spanish. For the past six years, she has hosted Camp Espana, a Spanish summer camp on Grand Bahama.
Striving for excellence is nothing new to Rose, who graduated high school with a 3.82 cumulative GPA. The 2010 Jack Hayward High School graduate was valedictorian of his Wildcats class and gave the commencement address then, as well. His message to his peers then was to think of themselves as a rocket ship launching into space and to think of what's next. He encouraged them then to be ambitious and go after their dreams. He certainly went after his dreams.
His advice to school students is to take every assignment seriously, something he said he always did as it pays off in the long run.
"It's just like building a house or any type of infrastructure -- you always have to start from the foundation. And if your foundation is weak, then in the future, your potential for collapsing is great. The work that they may be doing now may not seem serious, but it really pays off in the long run, so I advise them to take everything seriously, and most of all keep the faith and never give up on their dreams."
As a youngster, Rose said he took all of his school assignments seriously.
"I loved math and science. I also liked creating things and was always designing and making models of buildings and even an entire shopping mall. At first I thought I would like to be an architect. A friend encouraged me to look into civil engineering. I was able to do some job shadowing with a professional engineer and I really liked it, so I decided that would be my major."
The UNCC graduate, who wants to become a licensed engineer, is presently engaged in a one-year engineering program at Blythe Construction in Charlotte to gain experience before returning home. He also has another goal in his sights -- he and his sister hope to open a scholarship and mentoring program in The Bahamas.
"We want to give Bahamian students an opportunity," he said. "Thank God for our mom and mentors who have been there for us, but we want to create a program from which a lot more students can benefit. We don't just want to give them money, we want to give them lifelong skills from which they can benefit to be successful and stay successful."
Rose plans to enroll in a master's program in the future, but is still undecided as to which area to specialize in.
There's an adage that goes "like mother, like daughter", and in the case of Stacey Williams and her daughter Kayashia Williams, that saying is apt. Kayashia's mom has had a strong influence on her daughter's educational pursuits and long-term goals.
Kayashia, a 3.88 grade point average (GPA) student, who will commence her junior year at Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) in the fall, has found that both her love for numbers and growing up with her mother, a private banking loan administrator who has worked in the financial sector all of her professional life, have played a role in her decision to tackle a double major in accounting and finance.
"I have a love for dealing with numbers -- not necessarily mathematics, but numbers in general - and because my mom works in the financial field, I was attracted to it," said the 19-year-old.
Kayashia plans to obtain her doctorate degree and said her long-term plans include landing a position in the financial sector, working specifically in financial auditing or analysis with an accounting firm. She ultimately wants to open her own business.
Kayashia, the daughter of Stacey and Gerald Williams, is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society chapter at BCU. She was accepted into the honor program after her freshman year by virtue of finishing in the top 15 finish of her class, together with her known leadership ability and service.
As a part of the honors college, it was expected that she would set the standard for other BCU students, exemplifying excellence, integrity and high standards. As an added perk, Williams was able to move into the honors dormitory with like-minded academics.
To be accepted into the honors society, Kayashia had to maintain a GPA of 3.00. It was a goal she considered easy, so she set a personal objective of obtaining and maintaining a GPA of 3.4 or higher, in her quest to be accepted into the society.
She also wrapped up her second year with a perfect record - "A" grades in all subjects, including principles of accounting I; principles of accounting I lab; statistics I; leadership and professional development; ancient to late medieval humanities; applied business calculus and physical science.
The St. John's College graduate has made the honor roll since her primary school days; her academics have always been a priority and now that she's in college, she says they have become that much more important.
"In high school I did not take education as seriously as I do now. I took it seriously, but now that I'm in college, I know that I now have to study, whereas in the past it was like, 'let me cram the night before'. In high school I always just made the honor roll, hovering around 3.00, but I now strive to do better than that, aiming for the 3.4...3.8 mark," said Williams.
The honors student makes studying a priority. If she has an evening class, she uses her free time during the day to revise or studies during the night after her dance practice. Not your average college student who is always looking for a party, Williams knows when to give herself a break to "ease her mind".
Her mother's only child, Williams said it makes her happy to know that she is able to make her mother proud. She attributes it all to her mom.
"[My mother's] hard work has pushed me to not let obstacles keep me from pursuing my educational goals and striving to be my best," she said. "Getting an education means striving to do my best at all times and not depending on anyone to push me, but wanting to do my best to make others proud of my accomplishment."
A well-rounded teenager, Williams is no stranger to extracurricular activities.
She was in a number of clubs in high school, and the trend hasn't stopped since she got to college.
At home for the summer, the college student is hoping to secure a summer job in the financial sector, but she isn't putting all her eggs in one basket. Refusing to remain idle, Williams has signed up for a summer class at The College of The Bahamas, where she will study business law.
"Seeing as I'm doing a double major, and I don't want to graduate a semester behind, I decided to take the summer course at COB because I want to be right on time with my May 2016 undergrad degrees," she said.
As she strives to continue to excel, Williams encourages her peers to do the same, despite the obstacles they may face. She believes excelling means prioritizing.
At first glance, he seems to be like just any other young man his age with the usual air of confidence and a seeming nonchalant attitude, but if you take a closer look and get to know him better, you realize that 15-year-old Brennan Williams is much more than meets the eye. He's smart and he has a passion for saving animals -- particularly cats.
Williams, a ninth-grade student at North Eleuthera High School, was recently recognized at the Ministry of Education's 19th annual national award presentation as co-winner of the best results for the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) examinations in the government schools, and the male with the best overall BJC results in government schools.
He believes that if young men live in the shadow that society casts upon them, they will never live up to their potential. And he worked hard to prove that he is capable, earning seven A grades in General Science, Health Science, Mathematics, Technical Drawing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Social Studies and Religious Knowledge and a B grade in English Language.
"When I started grade nine I said to myself that I really wanted to do the best in my school when I took the BJCs," he said. "I even thought it would be great to do the best on my island but I didn't imagine that I would get the overall best results in the country for a government school or even a male. It was amazing when I did all of that. To me this proves that nothing is impossible once you are willing to work hard for it."
The honor roll student, who has a grade point average (GPA) of 3.44, has always set the bar high for himself and is glad when he achieves far beyond his expectatons. Due to his determination to outdo himself he does not let the views of society hinder his dreams or dicatate what he can or cannot do. He truly believes nothing is impossible.
Although he has a lot of ambition, he gives credit for his success to his family who he says has always supported him in excelling in everything that he sets his mind to.
His mother, Thakurdaye Williams, a primary school teacher, constantly encourages him to work harder in his weakest subject, English. His father, Brian Williams, an agriculture teacher at his school, helps him with his math and sciences. But he says his greatest motivator was his elder sister Brianne, who never let him take no for an answer and was always interested in her education and discovering new things. He says it was her who pushed him to be the same way too.
"I guess since my parents are teachers and my sister was really smart, great things are expected of me as well. For some this may seem like a lot of pressure but it's a good motivation for me to keep doing better and better," he said. "My sister really pushed me the hardest sometimes. She was a really good student and could explain anything to me. She was valedictorian of our school last school year, and seeing how well she did always encourages me."
Williams adheres to a strict study schedule. He hits the books for at least two hours after school on subjects that are easiest for him. He spends an additional hour on the subject he has the most difficulty with -- English. And the study method that he has found that works best for him is to rewrite all of his notes and repeat what he understands to himself. It's a method he doesn't always stick to as he switches things up so that his study habits don't become monotonous. He sometimes makes up questions to himself so that he can think of all the answers, which he said he's found to be a good way to prepare for exams.
Tutoring students who don't understand something the way he does also helps. He said he's found that it's a good way to ensure that he understands the subject too. But he always prefers a quiet area when he's studying.
Now a tenth-grade student, Williams says it was nice to be recognized for his work during the national awards presentation, but he says that is behind him and his focus in on the future. He aspires to become an aeronautical engineer. Passionate about the field, he has chosen a course of study towards that end, taking optional courses in physics, chemistry and graphical communication.
Williams has not started looking at colleges as yet, but he is doing everything he can to ensure that he's a good candidate for any school he applies to.
But brains aren't everything to the teenager, he also has a passion for animals. When he isn't studying or trying to escape to the beach for a quick swim, his hands are full taking care of the cats in his settlement. He was appalled that people did not take care of their animals, and remembers sneaking strays home to feed and take care of them. He never thought about keeping the animals and always set them free once they were better.
"It really hurts me to see animals not being taken care of properly. I think everyone has a role in helping the animals that live around them," he says."Some of them [animals] just need homes and can be really loyal if you take care of them. I don't like to see them being kicked or abused and I think we all can do something about it."
The tenth-grade student believes it's important for young people to find things they like to do, so that they can develop their personality and discover their strengths. While he does not participate in a lot of extracurricular activities at his school, he makes an effort to participate on the track team.
And he does not feel disadvantaged attending a Family Island school. He says he may not have as many options in classes or after-school activities as students at schools in the capital, but he says he has peace and quiet and that he appreciates every class he does have.
"Students should appreciate every small blessing they have when it comes to their education. Make the best of whatever you have and remember that studying is important, but doing other things in your community or around your school is just as good. Caring about what's going on around you or doing things to develop yourself outside of your school work helps to make you a better person I believe."
Williams encourages students - particularly young men - to find their niche when it comes to their school work and communities. He said not everyone will be strong in the same areas, nor will they be able to study or enjoy things in the same way. He hopes that in the future he can hear more good news about young men excelling in society instead of hearing about fighting and violence.
To contribute to his dream for young men, Williams is aspiring to continue to excel in his school work by first conquering English and finally earning an A grade. He hopes to achieve a 4.0 GPA before his high school years end and he also dreams of returning as an awardee in the national awards ceremony for his Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education exam results. He says there is nothing a person can't do if they put their mind to it. And while he dreams big he hopes other young men join him and dream even bigger.
A little over 300 of the 1,007-strong student body population at Sadie Curtis Primary School were recognized for their academic achievements as well as their positive behavior, at the school's recent annual awards ceremony.
Leading the way among the list of honorees were second grade students Steven Bain and Kamran Rolle, and third grade student Perrell Cooper, who were named to the Principal's List with 3.8 grade point averages (GPA). To make the Principal's List, students must have GPAs between 3.8 and 4.0. They also have to be reading two or more grades above their current grade level.
Another 23 students were named to the honor roll, for which students had to earn a GPA of at least a 3.5 to 3.79 and had to be reading at least one grade above their current level. A slew of other students, 145 in total, were named to the Merit List. Those students must have grades between 3.00 and 3.49, and must be reading at least one grade above their current level. In a twist, 70 students were also recognized for their exemplary behavior or leadership skills even if they did not make honors status.
Whether they were being recognized for their academic ability or positive conduct, the awardees at Sadie Curtis' annual award ceremony were shining examples of greatness in action.
For Perrell, seven, it was a proud moment to walk across the stage as one of the three students who made the lofty Principal's List.
"It makes me feel very jubilant and happy to get an award," said the third grader. "I felt excited that I did better than many of my friends because we all work hard to do well. I work hard all year long and I am happy to get a prize. I hope to do even better next time and get a 4.00 GPA."
Kamran was also excited to be recognized for his hard work and believes listening to his teachers and doing his work on time really paid off. He said he's now more encouraged to always do well so he can be awarded every year from now on.
The ceremony, which inspires achievers to continue their good work, is also meant to encourage those students who didn't make the mark to keep on trying so they too can have a moment of glory.
In-school ceremonies are a small way to encourage students to continue to strive for excellence," said organizer and fifth grade teacher, Shantell Paul. She says it is more important to point out the good in students rather than negative.
"We have the award ceremonies to recognize students who do exceptionally well academically and we also highlight those students who do well in other areas. We want the kids to see that good work and behavior pays off," she said. "We don't want to only tell students when they do poorly, but we want to pay more attention to when they do good things. We always like to focus on the good so the students can gravitate toward these things, rather than making a bigger deal about the bad. We hope these ceremonies really encourage them and push them to do better every year."
At Sadie Curtis Primary they not only acknowledge academic excellence, but promote good behavior and positive attitudes, which is why over 50 students were recognized for exemplary behavior.
Ten-year-old Arshantae Knowles, a sixth grade student, was happy to receive an award for good behavior even though she didn't make the honor roll.
"I was really happy I got an award. I know I didn't do as well as I should to get on the honor roll, but my teachers saw that I behaved well and still worked hard in class, so I guess that's why I got an award," she said. "I like that if you do well and listen to the teacher and really try, you can still get a prize. I will try harder next time to get an award for my grades too."
Paul says it is important to also encourage students in other ways as well, as not all students will be academically inclined, but they can still aim to be good students when it comes to morals and behavior.
"You want to highlight the students in all aspects of what they do. We don't just want to say good grades are everything," said the teacher. "It's about the whole child too. We promote good behavior at the school and having a special award for this reason encourages students to not only be competitive academically, but also be on their best behavior at all times. I think it's a great way to encourage students to be better citizens."
A man accused of the rape and armed robbery of a policewoman told a judge yesterday that he has been unable to comply with the conditions of his bail.
Audley Ward, of Price Street, Nassau Village, was released on $20,000 bail on April 25 on the condition that he reports to the South Beach Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and wears a GPS ankle bracelet.
However, Ward told Senior Justice Jon Isaacs that he could not meet the reporting conditions because he did not have any government-issued identification.
Ward said police officers would not allow him to sign in without presenting identification. According to Ward, police seized his passport when they arrested him in July 2011.
Isaacs advised Ward to continue reporting to the station in compliance with the court order.
The judge directed prosecutor Jillian Williams to get Ward's passport from police or alternatively his mug shot.
Prosecutors allege that Ward and Dominic Thompson raped the officer after they broke into her home in southwestern New Providence on July 3, 2011.
The men are also accused of robbing the woman of a 2008 Honda Accord, jewelry and a digital camera, with a combined value of $19,800. They also face a charge of receiving the stolen car between July 3 and July 14.
ACKLINS - Bonefish lodge operators in Acklins are calling on the central government to investigate "rogue" bonefish lodge operators who have entered the sector.
Bonefish lodge operators in Acklins were among those who attended a special meeting organized by the Combined Churches Committee held recently at Acklins Community Centre at Spring Point to address residents' concerns.
Some lodge operators at the meeting complained that a few lodge owners are not following the law. Newton Williamson, owner of Grays Point Bonefish Lodge, said: "I have been in this business for many years and have adhered to the rules and regulations governing the sports fishing and I don't like what I see going on nowadays. I think it is wrong for guests to be allowed to go out on the flats by themselves. First of all that practice is dangerous for the guests, and secondly, it deprives the local guides from earning a living and taking care of their families."
Concerns with guests going on the flats alone escalated a year ago after new entrants joined the sector. These guests pay a discounted rate to some lodges, are provided with vehicles and are allowed to roam the island and its fishing grounds at will. These guests, who have visited before, have logged the coordinates of the major fishing grounds in their global positioning system (GPS) devices and they know exactly where to go to fish without the service of fishing guides.
"Guests simply cannot be allowed to go out on their own," said Francita Neilly, island administrator, to the gathering.
"Acklins must be the only place that allows them to do that foolishness. I know that they cannot do that in Andros. I will inform the ministry about the situation so that they can deal with those lodges who are breaking the law."
Lodge operators also complained about a shortage of sports fishing guides. Neilly said a training session will be initiated early this year for new fishing guides and for those who wish to sharpen their skills.
May 1, 2012 --- Bahamas Habitat (www.bahamashabitat.org) announced today the donation of the Beechcarft Baron E55 N63JL aircraft to the organization by Thierry Pouille, President of Air Journey in Jupiter FL, for use by the organization in its Bahamas mission work.
Shannon Butler, who was arguably one of the brightest minds to graduate high school in 2013, has completed his one-year university foundation program in the British pre-med system and is now eager to commence his medical school studies in September.
"I'm really excited to start medical school so that I can finally begin what I love," said Shannon, the 2013 All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, who aspires to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Shannon, who is at home for summer break, finished his first year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland with grades that he said were satisfactory. Shannon took organic and biological chemistry, human biology, introduction to medicine, statistics, academic English and medical ethics in his second semester and finished the year with a lot of distinctions in individual classes, and the program in its entirety with honors. In the British system, everything is graded on a 20-point scale -- grades of 17 and above are classified as distinction, grades from 14-16.9 are upper second-class honors, 11 to 13 lower second and anything below an 11 a failure.
In September he will enter the six-year medical program that he says is perfect for people who know that they only want to study medicine.
"It avoids all of the extraneous requirements of other systems where you have to get a bachelor's degree and do lots of hours of research and community service, and you always try to have the top grade point average (GPA) and all of that stuff," said Shannon.
Even though the study habits he had adopted held up through his first year at university, he's anticipating that things will now have to change for him as he enters the rigorous program.
"With medical school you don't really have much coursework and many assessments -- it's really all about studying. I was actually reading the student handbook a few days ago and for my first year, in both semesters, I only have two assessments -- a mid-term that is 25 percent and my final exams which are 75 percent -- so basically this upcoming year it's going to be studying every single day."
After his first semester at university he had described the experience and adjustment as tough. He was homesick. His second semester was a different experience. He returned to the campus adjusted and with a solid group of friends. He experienced less homesickness and felt more at home in Scotland that he said resulted in an experience that was more enjoyable for him.
"I knew the ropes so things got a bit easier for me. I started out not liking the place that much, but now I'm actually excited to return to Scotland," said Shannon.
He's not only eager to return to his studies, but to the town he's grown to love which he said has a "charm" that he did not realize it had when he first went there.
"I always wanted to be in a big city, but now I basically realize that I like the small town. I get to see a lot of people -- almost everyone that I know...professors, students, all around the town and it [town] has a lot of history and a lot of beauty to it with the pier and the beach, and even the wilderness and farms outside of it."
During his first year he extended his education beyond the classroom. He made the first of what he expects to be many sojourns over the next six years into Europe by visiting The Netherlands. In the period between the end of his exams and his first-year graduation, he and his friends visited Amsterdam. They took the train to the countryside to look at small towns and to view the famous Dutch windmills.
At home, Shannon is relaxing in preparation for his return to Scotland. After his first week at home, he lent his services to his former high school teacher for two weeks for a chemistry course work preparation class. Shannon helped the tenth grade students with course work, writing lab reports and conducting experiments.
For the remainder of the summer break he plans to relax to prepare himself for the upcoming medical program.
"I just want to hopefully relax and leave the work experience, the research and the internships all for next summer and all the summers after that," he said.
"Actually, the school does not encourage trying to prepare yourself for medical school, because it says all that studying will come in time, and actually as soon as you arrive. I spoke with a teacher of mine who actively encourages taking breaks when breaks are given."
Shannon said his reading this summer will be for his enjoyment. He is currently engrossed in a fantasy book.
Shannon amassed a total of $146,000 in scholarships to help fund his education -- the All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, a four-year $140,000 scholarship. He was also named the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's 2013 valedictorian and awarded a $6,000 scholarship.
He's also known for his focus. The former Queen's College student in high school distinguished himself with an impressive academic record, having achieved 10 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) awards with nine A grades and one B grade. The results earned him the award for the best BGCSE results in the country; the best results from an independent school student and the highest award in mathematics.
Shannon's advice to graduates who are preparing to transition into university life is to ensure that they attend a school that they really like, and to ensure that they pick a course of study that they like.
"Just make sure that you're in a healthy environment and be prepared to buckle down and do your work, pull all-nighters and study as much as necessary to get the grades that you need. But also try to genuinely enjoy yourself and have a great time," said the former Q.C. head boy and valedictorian.
He leadeth me beside the still waters. - Psalms 23:2.
Indeed it is that time of the year when we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ! But to me, we treat it like the dawning of a new year when we are offering congratulations and salutations, and, within days, no one is offering peace, love and prosperity for the coming days, weeks and months. It is like a passing fancy.
So with our text today, I am grateful for the cross, the tomb and his ascension and the difference Jesus made in my life and yours. He is now positioned at the right hand of the Father, and, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, from his position in glory, he can transform our condition from darkness to noon daylight, from the valleys of poverty, lack, degradation and marginalization to such high moral and spiritual heights that our song would forever be, "He lives, because he lives in me".
How many of us are restless in spirit, troubled in mind, confused and longing for sweet peace that comes from above? We bombard others and talk shows with "pray for me" pleas because you can't control your children; your husband abuses you; you can't find a job; nobody on the job likes you and people are always picking on you; the government is not looking out for you; your representative won't give you anything.
When it gets to that point, you need to put down antiquated road maps and turn on to God's GPS for reliance to take us to our rightful destiny. There is no one other than Jesus Christ who can navigate us through the storm into peace and tranquility. I go around this island and see people in their need. I passed a huge building nearing completion -- a church to be exact -- and I thought of how it seems that it is a race to see who can have the largest church building - a building that is closed after Sunday service.
The wonderful and well-loved Psalm of David tells of his love for the caring of sheep and how God is the shepherd of our lives. Every good shepherd wants the best for his sheep. If you know today that the lord God is your shepherd, why are you so troubled? Do you doubt his tender mercy? Then why, at this Easter time, are you so nervous and edgy? Do you really believe that he is not dead, but alive?
The Lord is your shepherd and you need to know this in time of need. He promised to supply all your needs, and, if you believe, you will receive. The word "want" becomes obsolete when the Lord is your shepherd and "want" includes money.
The world is in such an uproar, and men's hearts are failing because of fear: fear that they will lose power; fear that popularity is fading; fear that other nations and peoples are rising up against them; fear that party support is slipping away; fear that dictatorial leadership is pushing for supremacy; fear that faithfulness, loyalty and credibility are foreign elements in time of reliance -- just plain fear within and without.
But, today in our text, there is hope for today and peace for tomorrow, and, in spite of all that you are going through, your helper is about to lead you beside still waters. You are about to experience a spiritual paradigm shift and soul-changing surgery. So while there is participation, there is also anticipation. You will drink in peace and safety for spiritual renewal.
Whatever your situation is today, as you too face many crosses in your life, allow the good shepherd, the resurrected Christ to be the leader. He alone knows the way through the wilderness of peril and uncertainty.
To be a wandering sheep and not love the fold, not heed the shepherd's voice and not be controlled, is detrimental to your spiritual wellness. Still waters will lead to restoration and newness of purpose and possibilities.
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings!
- Genre : Biography, Crime, Drama
- Rating :
In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East....
American para-triathlete and motivational speaker Hector Picard, the ﬁrst and only "Double Arm Amputee" 3x IRONMAN will be visiting Grand Bahama Island March 24th - March 31st...
Eight weeks at a NASA summer experience have forever changed the lives of two young men -- one now has the confidence that he can get into the university of his choice, and the other believes the experience factored in heavily into him recently obtaining employment.
For as long as she can remember, Nikita Smith has dreamed of being a doctor, so it was a dream come true for her to be invited to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine (NYLF/MED), the United States' foremost program in pre-medical education for high school students which allows them to get a valuable head start on their career path.
At the NYLF/MED program, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Emory School of Medicine at Emory University, Nikita, 16, who will commence her senior year at Kingsway Academy in September, was able to experience a hands-on, interactive curriculum that included shadowing practicing physicians, clinical site visits at top medical centers, and meet and interact with faculty from world-renowned medical institutions.
Students gain the opportunity to attend the Forum on Medicine through nomination from a teacher or educator, through NYLF alumni nominations, or based on information provided on pre-college surveys. To qualify as a Forum on Medicine scholar, a student must be in ninth through twelfth grade and have demonstrated academic achievement. Nikita's cumulative grade point average is 3.10.
While Nikita is unclear who recommended her for the forum, she is glad they did. She said the experience has cemented for her the fact that she wants to pursue a career in the medical field. She has narrowed it down to cardiology or pathology.
"I was lucky to be a part of the program. I am not sure of my school or teachers recommended me but I am glad it happened because I had an amazing and unforgettable experience," she said.
Nikita was among 358 high school students from around the United States and the Caribbean.
"[It] was more than just about discussing important topics in global medicine. It was also about helping young people like myself to discover just how suited to the medical field we are. From this experience I can really say this is my calling and I am excited to get into medical school and get even deeper in this field," said the Kingsway Academy student. "I really feel enlightened and even more determined to get into medical school now."
Some of the topics addressed with Nikita and her peers included emergency medicine, how stressful but rewarding it can be and how to deal with not being able to save every single patient. Another speaker spoke to them on HIV and AIDs, what's new in the field and how best to combat stereotypes and ignorances about the topic. And they got the opportunity to hear from a patient who had multiple heart surgeries who was able to give the students an idea of how patients feel, and how valuable good doctors are in saving lives.
The students were also split into groups to debate essential topics in medicine as well. Smith's group discussed universal health care and supported the concept by saying everyone has a right to good health care no matter their financial or socio-economic status. And that regulating health care for everyone would put less strain on the government. They also discussed sex selection and animal testing.
The high school senior also got the opportunity to see exactly how medical students learn through problem-based learning exercises and limited, but vital hands on experience with medical simulators and live patients. She also sat in on lectures given by professionals on emerging issues and past discoveries. Participation in the Forum on Medicine is also a great resume opportunity for her as it can be used as a reference on her college application and interviews.
The NYLF/MED program takes place annually at different intervals in 10 cities throughout the United States -- Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Smith chose the Atlanta program not only because it was the first of the series, but also because it would allow her to visit the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), which is one of her dream schools.
"I really was excited to visit the PCOM. It was a school among others that participants in the program could visit. I liked it so much I now want to study medicine there when I finish high school," said the young lady. "I like their program which allows me to have hands-on experience and simulate real medical work and surgeries throughout my studies."
With a 3.10 grade point average, Smith said she knows she will have to "buckle up" to raise her grades even higher so that she can be considered for acceptance into the school of her choice. She hopes to have at least a 3.5 GPA by the end of her senior year.
She has six Bahamas Junior Certificates (BJCs) with an A grade in Mathematics, B grades in General Science, Health Science and Social Studies and C grades in English and Mathematics.
She sat two of her Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) in tenth grade and has achieved an A in English Language and a C grade in Mathematics. She sat six more exams in elventh grade -- Biology, Chemistry, History, Food and Nutrition, Spanish and retook Mathematics because she wanted a better grade. She hopes she aced them all, so that she can concentrate on taking only science national exams in her final year.
Nikita is also focused on doing well on her Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) examinations.
"Besides really pushing me to do better in school, the best part of the 10-day program was the information I was able to gather. The forum was like a real college experience. I was living in a dorm room and had a roommate. I had a schedule to follow and lectures to attend. It was a lot of fun and it really opened my eyes. This was also the first time I was travelling on my own so that was new and great for me. I was nervous, but the trip really gave me a real idea of what I will find in college or university one day."