Teenagers on path to success after graduation
Three young men were honoured for rediscovering their passion for learning after graduating yesterday from a school named for success.
Shaz Gibson, 17, Jahquandae Armstrong, 17, and Zafiyah Walters, 18, accepted their high-school diplomas from Success Academy after months of hard work – and are now ready to start the next chapters of their lives.
Shaz said: “As one journey ends another one begins. I want to thank everyone who pushed me throughout high school.”
Success Academy offers therapeutic programmes for middle-school and high-school-aged boys to complete their education.
The school held its graduation ceremony at the Devonshire Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which was filled with teachers and loved ones who supported the graduates.
Shaz, from St George’s, admitted that he was “very much a terror” in his first year of high school at Berkeley and eventually transferred to Success Academy.
But he added that there were “less distractions” at Success Academy, which allowed him to focus on his studies.
“It was much easier, at least for me, to get my education at Success Academy. It was very worthwhile.”
Shaz hopes to get his firefighting certification.
Keishen Bean, who worked alongside Jahquandae at Success Academy, said that he was astounded by his drive to be the best he could be.
Mr Bean said: “Every sports day I’d remind these guys to make sure they knew all their techniques, but Jahquandae? You didn’t have to say that to him because it mattered to him.
“Jahquandae wanted to learn each and every technique, from shot put to discus to high jump and long jump – it mattered to Jahquandae.
“Eventually I asked him why he wanted to do so much – Jahquandae said ‘if I get the champion medal then this can go on my resume’.”
He added: “Jahquandae had that type of vision and that type of sight. Winning matters, not just in sports but in life.”
Zafiyah, from Pembroke, said that his time with Success Academy “opened my eyes”, not only to his own capabilities but also how to stay committed to success.
“When I first got there I was doing my best – I was knocking out tests one by one, but then I stumbled.
“When you get too comfortable you tend to slack off, so I had to pick myself up and I finished my courses in months.”
During the graduation ceremony, Zafiyah thanked his loved ones and teachers for their support.
He said: “This journey has shaped me and you being here lets me know how much you care.”
He added that he hoped to get a business degree from Bermuda College and start his own power-washing business.