Huge increase in Bermuda College graduations
More than 140 Bermuda College students have graduated in the 2017 Spring Commencement Ceremony — an increase of 27 per cent.
Proud family, friends, faculty members and dignitaries cheered on as they took to the stage to receive their diplomas, certificates and degrees.
College president Duranda Greene said: “Today we are here to celebrate 137 graduates from Bermuda College’s associate degree, diploma and certificate programmes, six graduates from the Mount Saint Vincent University bachelor’s degree programmes in association with Bermuda College and the first seven master’s degree graduates from Miami University special education programme in collaboration with Bermuda College.
“Some of you have overcome many challenges, obstacles and struggles to reach this milestone. But through every challenge, obstacle and struggle, we have witnessed your growth.”
Dr Greene said that although all their journeys were unique, the one thing they had in common was that they “never gave up and today we celebrate you for all you have accomplished”.
“Our hope is that you will continue to build on the lessons you have learnt along your journey with us. When setting your goals, always challenge yourself and dream big — don’t settle for mediocrity.”
She also pointed out that in a first for the dual enrolment programme, which saw a 150 per cent increase in students this year, Zoe Lopes achieved distinction in the Associate of Art and Design degree programme and Kaisha Simons achieved a merit in the Associate of Applied Science (Culinary Arts).
Shiona Turini, a Bermudian freelance fashion editor and stylist based in New York City, gave the commencement address and shared a rejection letter she received in 2001 after applying for a summer internship with the Department of Tourism. Although she eventually did get to go to New York through the programme, she said it made her reflect on her “tunnel vision”.
“Life is a serious of calculated steps” in Bermuda, she said. “But my steps and I hope some of you steps include a breakaway from that mould.
“I wanted to move to New York and work in fashion and I thought in that moment of all of the plan Bs I had been pushed to make and didn’t. I was not prepared for that rejection letter.
“But as I learnt, it was just proof that obstacles don’t stop jumping in your way just because you’ve identified which pair of Louboutins you can wear to make the jump look better.”
Ms Turini, a Bermuda College graduate herself, also emphasised the importance of a Bermuda College degree.
“This is the stepping stone to your dreams. Your degree and all that you have accomplished these years at Bermuda College will catch you when your friends can’t, when your family won’t and your best laid out plan crumbles simply because that’s what life does.
“No one gets to take this degree away from you — it started seeping into your being the second you stepped into this campus and it will become an internal compass that will always point you in the right direction and be a shining accomplishment.”
Representatives from Miami University and Mount Saint Vincent University were on hand to present degrees completed in association with Bermuda College.
And Student Government president Chelsea Ray gave the graduate address, followed by a musical tribute by Bermuda Idol winner Ariana Smith.
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