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Berkeley students kept their eyes on the prize

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It was standing room only in the Berkeley Institute's auditorium last night as the school community cheered on 130 students for their achievements over the past academic year.

They also heard some of the initiatives aimed at boosting performance in the year ahead.

“Life will give you back everything you give to it,” acting principal Keisha Douglas told them before listing the honour roll. “Young people, your life is not a twist of fate — it is a reflection of you.”

This year's motto was “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” and principal's honours student Jasmyn Renfroe said perseverance — and balance — were the keys to reaching it.

“Some may wonder how we got here, and for others it just comes naturally,” she said. “However, we have one thing in common: we all worked hard to be here today.”

Teachers and administration will work until every child achieves their personal potential, board of governors chairman Craig Bridgewater added.

He said extra professional development programmes had been introduced for teachers in the year ahead, aimed at improving results — especially in the IGCSE exams.

“This will be continuously reviewed, but it's something we have all dedicated ourselves to,” Mr Bridgewater said.

Senior staff will also reach out to their middle school colleagues to make the transition easier for incoming students.

The gathering observed a moment of silence for the late former principal Clifford Maxwell — and then high honours students Lucien Anderson introduced the evening's guest speaker, Sergeant Kenten Trott.

A 2003 Berkeley graduate, former head boy and valedictorian, Sgt Trott was the Bermuda Police Force's youngest sergeant when he got promoted — and, at 28, he still is.

“It took hard work to get here,” Sgt Trott told them, “so enjoy this moment.”

He wasn't afraid to share his feelings of dissatisfaction when, not long out of school, he found himself with a top job for a leading local insurer.

“I hated every minute of it,” he said, adding: “However, I decided I needed to experience life for myself. Don't be afraid of what anybody else is going to think of the decisions you're going to make as long as content.”

Not even Sgt Trott's family knew when he made the decision to switch tracks and pursue his dream job as a police officer, he recalled — and once there, he felt driven to climb the ranks.

“Just because you're young doesn't mean that you can't do what you want to do,” Sgt Trott urged. “The sky is the limit.

“It doesn't matter what your age is if you have drive and determination. If you want something really, really badly, you can get it. Also remember that learning never stops. I'm 28, and supervising people who have been police officers for 28 years.”

It came through hard work, he said, telling students he once spent Cup Match alone on his boat — reading books for his examination to become a sergeant.

Recounting how phone text slang had begun creeping into police officer applications, the speaker also advised today's students to focus on their communication skills.

“Keep your focus on your end goals. Because at the end of the day, it's very important to keep your eyes on the prize.”

Principal's honours for the 2012/13 academic year went to Dejanée Hill-Edwards, Imani Smith and Krysten Burrows (S1); Jordan Bascome and Clevon Cunningham Jr (S2) and Danielle Clark, Jasmyn Renfroe and Ranisha Simmons (S3).

High honours recipients were Kimika Jackson, Jada Carlington, Stephanie Ventura, Zahra Gibbons, Brianna Smith and Tori Cariah (S1); Kayla Smith, Lucien Anderson and Jyhair Tucker-Bell (S2) and Seta Douglas, Tiffany Sunga, Waverley Moran, Precious Smith, Zariah Desilva, Cassandra Roberts, Dymond DeSilva and Marquedelle Philip Rodriquez (S3).

Photo by Glenn Tucker Berkeley Institute pupils listen to Bermuda Police Service Sergeant Kenten Trott during the school's annual prize giving Thursday evening.
Photo by Glenn Tucker Bermuda Police Service Sergeant Kenten Trott speaks to the Berkeley Institute school body at the school's annual prize giving.
Photo by Glenn Tucker Acting Berkeley Institute prinicpal Keisha Douglas speaks during the school's prize giving yesterday.

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Published November 29, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 29, 2013 at 8:30 am)

Berkeley students kept their eyes on the prize

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