Students discovering rewards of sacrifice
A lot of hard work and dedication has paid off for ten high school students who graduated from Bermuda College last week.
The dual enrolment students — eight from the Berkeley Institute and two from CedarBridge Academy — celebrated their success surrounded by family and friends at the 2017 Spring Commencement Ceremony.
“The commencement ceremony definitely holds a special place in my heart because it signifies the end of one chapter along my educational journey but also marks the beginning of a new one,” said Etteleon Burchall, who began her dual enrolment programme a semester later than the other students and worked hard to complete the programme within 1½ years.
“By sacrificing my summer holiday for two years in a row and taking on evening classes coupled with multiple sciences with labs in one semester I was able to achieve my goal.
“I am proud to say that I am the first dual enrolment student to successfully complete the Associate of Arts and Science programme in only a year and a half.”
The Berkeley student described the experience as a defining moment in her life and said it has taught her never to accept “no” as an answer.
The aspiring pathologist now plans on majoring in biology at Spelman College in Atlanta, where she will start in the autumn.
At 16-years-old, fellow Berkeley student Chiyaro Wedderburn was the youngest dual enrolment graduate and one of the youngest College graduates to date.
He said it took a lot of “hard work and determination” to get him through, but he said the “freedom” of not sticking to a strict school class schedule was a highlight.
Mr Wedderburn, who was also the recipient of the Chubb Bermuda College Education Award, now plans on studying psychology at St John's University in New York.
Lauren Genevieve, who has the highest GPA at Berkeley at 4.43, will have graduated from three schools this year, having also graduated from the Manhattan School of Music precollege programme.
“It's exciting,” the 17-year-old said, attributing her success in balancing her workload to staying focused, organised and managing her time well.
She now plans on studying musical theatre at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
For Jashae Allen-Lamontagne, who will be taking prerequisite courses in Bermuda before studying nursing in Canada, graduating was an “an overwhelming feeling.”
“I'm just so proud to have achieved this,” the 17-year-old Berkeley student said, adding that it took a lot of persistence in addition to hard work and dedication.
She also learnt not to be afraid to take hold of opportunities “that will better your future as soon as you can”.
For Shannon Williams, graduating from the College was also an “exciting experience”, with a lot of hard work having gone into the past two years. The 18-year-old CedarBridge Academy student now plans on taking a gap year in Spain with a host family.
Meanwhile, fellow CedarBridge student Kaisha Simons — the first dual enrolment student to achieve a merit in the associate of applied science in culinary arts, plans on studying baking and pastry arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.
“I'm very excited,” said the 18-year-old. “I've accomplished a lot these two years.”
In another first for the dual enrolment programme, Berkeley student Zoe Lopes achieved distinction in the associate of art and design degree programme.
“I've learnt more than I ever thought I would from my art teachers,” the 17-year-old said.
“The art and design programme has allowed me tremendous growth in myself along with allowing me to branch out and experiment more with my art.”
Although some of the harder classes such as math and English proved difficult, she pushed herself to get through them with an end goal in sight.
She now plans on pursuing a bachelor in graphic design in the UK.
Solomon Pearman was working towards two degrees during his time as a dual enrolment student.
“It has taken a lot of hard work in my school work and consistency, as far as getting to my classes every day because going class isn't mandatory,” he said.
“As the student you need to have the discipline to get to class and complete assignments, said Mr Pearman, who plans on finishing his second degree in computer information systems before heading abroad to study software engineering.
He added that the main thing he has taken away from the experience is “how to operate around new people because every semester there was a new set of faces in my classes and they weren't always familiar faces”.
Beatriz Aguiar said the experience has made her explore who she really is, what she wants to do with her life and if it is all even worth it.
“I've learnt to do things for an end goal that may be a year or two in the future,” the 18-year-old Berkeley student said.
“I've also learnt that I love psychology and even though a path in business would be a good choice, it is not necessarily the right choice for me and that's absolutely okay.”
She now plans on heading to York University to study psychology before heading to the University of Toronto to pursue a masters in clinical psychology.
Meanwhile, Cyana Burgess plans on attending Georgia State University to study actuarial science.
“Hard work and a dedication to success have brought me to this point,” the 17-year-old said, adding that the constant push from her mother and friends was a big help.