College graduation: ‘it shows they care’
Bermuda College graduates marked their big day yesterday with a drive-through ceremony.
A total of 107 graduates collected their associate's degrees, diplomas or certificates at the Paget campus after the traditional graduation event was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They also received caps, gowns and a letter from college president Duranda Greene.
Zaire Flood-Joell, 20, said that her graduation was “relieving and exciting at the same time.”
She added: “This isn't how I thought it would happen, but I like that they did the drive-through for us because it shows that they care.”
Ms Flood-Joell, from Somerset, graduated with an associate's degree in business administration.
She was one of many students who completed the final stretch of their studies at home because of the Covid-19 shutdown.
Ms Flood-Joell said that her biggest problem was the lack of face-to-face contact in the classroom.
She added: “I wasn't able to ask questions as frequently as I'd like.
“We did our classes over Zoom but it was not as personal, so I had to go out of my way even more if I wanted to ask questions.
“If I was at the school, I could just go after class and ask.”
Ms Flood-Joell said that she studied even more than before to make sure she stayed on top of her coursework.
She added that she hoped to complete a BA degree at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada, and one day own her own business.
A total of 53 per cent of the Class of 2020 graduated with honours, which gave them either merits or distinctions.
The new graduates also attended a virtual commencement party last night to celebrate the milestone.
Ken-nie Trott, 25, said that he finished with two associate's degrees and planned to complete a third next year.
He added he at first took business administration, then switched to actuarial science and again to mathematics.
Mr Trott said: “After a while I figured I might as well study them all.”
Mr Trott, from Pembroke, said that it took him “several years” to complete his courses in mathematics and actuarial science.
He added that he planned to become an actuary, but wanted to complete a business administration degree next year.
Mr Trott said that he preferred the unorthodox graduation to a larger ceremony.
He added: “I don't like celebrations, gifts or anything like that, so this is much better for me.”
Tremayne Bailey, 28, said that he was delighted to finish his course in spite of the problems he faced as he studied from home.
He added: “I wasn't sure I was going to get to this point, but I'm here and I'm very thankful for all the help I got from my teachers.”
Mr Bailey, from Smith's, said that he got his associate's degree in culinary arts, which he admitted was difficult to complete while on lockdown.
He explained: “There were a lot of labs and technical aspects to the subject that we weren't able to practise, so we had to practise at home without any input from our teachers.
“They gave technical advice via Zoom calls and e-mails, which was very valuable, and we were able to learn quite a bit even though we weren't able to physically have someone step in and help us.”
Mr Bailey said that he got other people to taste his food and described the flavours of his dishes when he submitted pictures of his work online to be graded.
He added that the dishes his class made from home were graded based on presentation, which forced him to focus on the look of the food on a plate.
Mr Bailey said: “I made sure that if it didn't taste as good as you thought it could, it at least looked good.”
He added his new goal was to become accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
A spokeswoman for the college praised the graduates for their ability to switch from face-to-face learning to online classes “almost overnight”.
She added: “Kudos have to be given to the faculty and support staff — the champions of their success — who had to suddenly shift and put all their classes online in order for these guys to finish their exams.”