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Achievements and future potential celebrated at Commencement Ceremony

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We felt duty bound for two reasons to accept the invitation to the 2013 Spring Commencement Ceremony at the Bermuda College Campus. Firstly, it was in my capacity as an Honorary Fellow of the college, and secondly because I knew my granddaughter Cara Philip would be one of the 99 students graduating.

Hardly had my seat been warmed when 'fellow' Fellow Roderick Pearman, former principal of Warwick Secondary School, stretched across suggesting that was a momentous week for this writer. He had discovered upon the colourful commencement programme, next to the greeting by college president, Dr Duranda Greene, that the guest speaker was Dr Ty-Ron Douglas of the Class of 1998; and the valedictorian was none other than Cara Philip.

Truthfully, I was flabbergasted. Cara with commendable, self-effacing confidence had told no one in the family of her distinction. Not even her mother, Chrislyn, a staffer at Sandys Secondary Middle School and her grandmother, retired school principal Sylvia Richardson Caines. Cara's mother incidentally, was valedictorian for Bermuda College Class of 1982, before going on to Dalhousie University.

According to the programme Cara was graduating with the Associate Arts Degree with Distinction and had distinguished her academic journey at BC by leading an active campus life. She had been named the Overall Outstanding Liberal Arts Student.

Back to Roderick Pearman, what he was alluding to both Cara and my son Anthony Philip and his recent appointment by American International Group as its new president and CEO of its Bermuda subsidiary. But what Mr Pearman did not know was that Cara's brother, Carlsen Philip, Jr., who had transferred from Bermuda College and is now a Howard University student, had just returned to Bermuda after spending the 2012-2913 academic year in Barcelona, Spain, studying Economics and Spanish Language at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. During his course there he travelled to no less than eleven different European countries.

Dr Ty-Ron Douglas was introduced by president Duranda Greene as a graduate of the Bermuda College Class of 1998, who is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri. As an AS from Bermuda College he earned a PhD in Educational Studies/Curriculum and Teaching, having a BA from Oakwood University and a MA from University of North Carolina of North Carolina in Greensboro.

It was noted that specifically, Dr Douglas' research included black masculinity, black family/African diaspora studies, critical spirituality and community-based pedagogical spaces. He has a forthcoming book on black Bermudian masculinity with chapters and journal articles related to his studies.

Dr Douglas is married and is the father of two sons. In his address he gained the immediate attention of this writer and college Fellow with his wit and humour, especially with his references as to how he had impacted the educational progression of his own mother, and vice versa.

However, he ratcheted up my attention when in a few words without any elaboration, he exhorted the graduating class to focus on 'a post colonial Bermuda.' Immediately, my mind flashed back to Page 256, and the very last words in my book “Freedom Fighters, Monk to Mazumbo” (Dr Gordon). I wrote: ‘Bermuda's greatest need in the 20th Century was for men and women with the true spirit of Monk and Gordon, with real power and a sense of urgency, genuinely committed to bringing about a non-racist, Independent Bermuda where justice and equality are not just bywords. Otherwise, the indigenous black and white Bermudians will find themselves dispossessed stranger in their own homeland.'

Dr Ty-Ron's mother, Lucy Douglas, was unable to avail her invitation to the College Commencement Ceremony, because of commitments at her home in Alabama. His proud father was in attendance. He is well-known track and field sports personality, Stanley Douglas, who was Chef-d-Mission of the Bermuda Team at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Royal Gazette of May 25, carried a more comprehensive account and photos of the Commencement Ceremony.

The 2013 Bermuda College graduates, family and friends on the college campus.
Cara Philip, the Class Valedictorian and Overall Outstanding Liberal Arts Student, with her brother Carlsen, Jr., a BC transferee to Howard University student, and their mother and grandmother Sylvia Caines. Cara was valedictorian for the Class of 2013. Her mother was similarly valedictorian for the BC Class of 1982. Also pictured, far left, is Bermuda College president Duranda Greene.

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Published June 01, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm)

Achievements and future potential celebrated at Commencement Ceremony

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