Bermudian pair graduate from NEIT
Two freshly minted engineers held a silent celebration after they both graduated with associate degrees — but could not have a graduation ceremony because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jaquari Paynter, 20, and Sekai Wainwright-Basden, 19, said that their graduation ceremony from the New England Institute of Technology on Sunday was postponed.
However, Mr Wainwright-Basden said that a proper celebration later in the year could not be ruled out.
He explained: “I think once the pandemic kind of slows down a bit or breaks up to the point where there's more of a safer way to engage with my family, I'm pretty sure I would have a little get-together.”
The former CedarBridge Academy pupil was speaking after he and Mr Paynter finished their year as members of the Dean's List for academic achievement.
Mr Wainwright-Basden, who graduated with a 3.66 grade point average, completed his Associate of Science in advanced automotive technology with a specialisation in diesel mechanics.
He added that his drive for excellence helped to keep him on the dean's list, which required a 3.6 grade point average, for the entire course.
Mr Wainwright-Basden, from Warwick, said: “I knew I had made an accomplishment, so I wanted to see how far I could take it.
“That determination to do better was a key factor in me just wanting to push myself towards a higher standard.”
Mr Wainwright-Basden added that he and Mr Paynter, who did not know each other before they met at college, had become close friends.
He said: “I knew of him from high school and whatnot — we were in the same circles — but we weren't friends ourselves.
“But when I went out there to school, we hit it off immediately and now he's my best bud.”
Mr Wainwright-Basden said he wanted to start a degree in power engineering at Cambrian University in Ontario, Canada, through a programme organised by the Government's Tynes Bay waste to energy incinerator.
He added that the course had been scheduled to start in September, but had been postponed because of Covid-19.
Mr Paynter, from Pembroke, said that he was happy to have graduated with a 3.7 grade point average, but admitted that he at first did not think he would make the dean's list.
Mr Paynter explained: “Coming out of high school, I don't know if I was really prepared for it, but I guess once I actually got into the situation of being in college, my mindset changed and I pushed harder to get better grades.”
Mr Paynter, a former Berkeley Institute pupil, said that he studied marine technology in New England.
He added that he was motivated by his love of the sea, but admitted he was intimidated in some of his classes.
Mr Paynter said: “I was the only one from the island and all of these kids had already been enrolled in previous technology schools, so me just coming out of Berkeley made me feel kind of different.
“But I just studied and then, by my second semester, I found myself kind of ahead of the class.”
Mr Paynter said that he would complete an advanced mechanics course online before he started a Bachelor of Business degree at NEIT in January next year.
He added that he would use his next graduation ceremony to celebrate the one he could not have this year.
Mr Paynter explained: “I'm not too worried about not walking for my graduation due to the situation that everybody's been put in.
“I'm not worried at all because I'm also going for my bachelor's, so hopefully I'll be able to walk for that.”