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‘The teachers have gone above and beyond’

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Two teenage graduates of an alternative education programme yesterday told how the institution had transformed their lives.

Scott Bean and Kenyade McQueen have completed their general equivalency diploma at Success Academy and are looking forward to pursuing new careers.

Mr Bean, 18, from St David's, said: “I feel great. I feel really happy to know that I actually made it.

“I didn't think I was going to make it, but I actually did, so I'm really happy.

“Success Academy has made a difference in the way I look at everything, my attitude, the way I think; when I first started at Success Academy, things were hard and now I just feel like I'm on a straight path to success.”

Mr Bean, the school's first graduate under the Ministry of Education's Pen Foster programme, has set his sights on studying culinary arts at Bermuda College.

Melody Bean was elated for her son's success.

Ms Bean said: “Words cannot express this day. It's been a journey.

“I've moved him around a bit and finally came upon Success Academy and, I must say, this school has really turned him around.”

She said her son now has a different perspective of life.

Ms Bean added: “They don't just work on the academics. They also work on social skills, so he has matured and they have been with us every step of the way.”

She explained that Success Academy held parents accountable, making it a team effort in students' lives.

An emotional Ms Bean added: “The teachers have gone above and beyond. When they say it takes a village, Success Academy is that village.”

Mr McQueen, 17, said graduating with his GED made him feel accomplished.

The Hamilton resident, who has plans to become an electrician, said Success Academy has helped to turn his life around.

“It has made me humble; I came a hothead,” Mr McQueen said.

Daneca Zuill, Mr McQueen's mentor, expressed pride in his progress after “so many people doubted him, so many people wrote him off”.

The student passed all the tests to get his GED in three months.

Ms Zuill added: “This is just the beginning for him and I am looking forward to many more successes”

Tracey Doeman, a family member, said: “I know his journey and I am proud of him.”

Anthony Bascome, educational therapist, praised both graduates for working hard.

Mr Bascome said: “I look at these boys like my sons. I tell them I love them everyday — I am so proud of them.”

Two students on their way to high school were also recognised.

Xavier Clarke and Daeshun Smith are headed to CedarBridge Academy, and the Berkeley Institute respectively.

John Duncan, programme director, said the school's therapeutic programme catered to diverse learning styles.

Dr Duncan added: “Despite adverse circumstances, they have made it to this point in their education and we are very proud.”

He said Success Academy would forge ahead in changing the lives of young men.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, told the ceremony he looked forward to alternative learning programmes growing to adapt to diversity.

Mr Rabain said the goal “was to value each and every student, and to meet them where they are”.

Straight path to success: proud student Kenyade McQueen is congratulated as he walks to get his diploma at the Success Academy graduation ceremony at the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Job well done: Diallo Rabain, the education minister, congratulated four of five young men who graduated from Success Academy yesterday. Here, from left, are middle schoolers Daeshun Smith and Xavier Clarke, Mr Rabain, high school graduates Scott Bean and Kenyade McQueen, with guest speaker Pastor Damon Hendrickson (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Off to culinary school: elated Success Academy graduate Scott Bean (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published June 21, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated June 21, 2019 at 8:21 am)

‘The teachers have gone above and beyond’

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