Minister Rabain: Bermuda College Class Of 2020

June 5, 2020

[Ministerial statement from Minister of Education Diallo Rabain]

Mr. Speaker, This morning I rise before this Honourable House to share information about the recent graduation event at the Bermuda College, and to provide details of this inimitable Class of 2020, and the unique ways in which their success was celebrated by the College.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda College made the difficult decision to cancel its traditional Commencement ceremony in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing concerns about the spread of the disease, locally. Commencement represents the culmination and highlight of the academic year for most colleges and universities – and certainly Bermuda College was no different. Correspondence of the cancellation was sent to the campus community by College President, Dr. Duranda Greene, with the promise that graduates would receive their graduation diplomas on May 28th; and they would be celebrated in some form at a future event.

The 2 hour live video replay of the Bermuda College drive-up graduation ceremony

Mr. Speaker, An ad hoc committee was assembled to organize a series of celebratory events for the Class of 2020. These included recorded congratulatory messages from the Hon. Premier; myself, as Minister; the Board Chair, Mr. Peter Sousa; Dr. Greene, and the VP of Academic & Student Affairs Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed. Congratulatory messages from both faculty and support staff were compiled into a celebratory video clip, and Mr. Shane Rogers, a graduate from the Associate of Applied Science Hospitality Management programme, delivered the virtual Graduate Student address. All of these were made available for view on the College’s website and Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, graduates were provided the opportunity to share highlights of their College experience, thank family, friends and College supporters, and provide parting advice in short video interviews which were then uploaded to the website and social media. Outstanding graduates have been featured on the online radio programme, “The Daily Hour”; and graduates also enjoyed a virtual Commencement party with DJ IBreeze. Tomorrow, Saturday, June 6th, graduates will return to the campus to have graduation photos taken, as part of the commemorative events.

Mr. Speaker, By far, the absolute highlight to this adaptive event was the drive-through, curb-side collection of associate degrees, diplomas and certificates by the proud graduates of the College. A total of 107 graduates received graduation packets from Dr. Greene containing a congratulatory personalized letter, their cap and gown, and an academic parchment to the cheers and car toots of family members and friends.

Slideshow of photos from the Bermuda College graduation


And notwithstanding the challenges they faced, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to note that 53% of the Class of 2020 graduated with honours, earning either merit [GPA 3.0 – 3.49] or distinction [GPA 3.5 – 4.0] status, with the Associate of Arts [Business Administration] programme producing the largest graduating group with 32 graduates. Mr. Speaker, please indulge me at this time to share the number of graduates for other programmes, represented on the graduation list, which included: -

Division of Arts & Science

  • The Associate of Arts [Art & Design] – 5 graduates;
  • Associate of Arts – 13;
  • Associate of Arts [Early Childhood Education] – 3;
  • Associate of Arts [Human Services] – 1;
  • Associate of Arts & Science – 7;
  • Associate of Science – 3;
  • Associate of Science [Actuarial Science] – 4;
  • Associate of Science [Education] – 3

Division of Business, Hospitality & Technical Education

  • Certificate for Accounting Technician – 5 graduates;
  • Certificate in Applied Science Technology – 9;
  • Certificate in Electrical Wiring Technology – 3;
  • Certificate in Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Technology – 1;
  • Certificate in Plumbing Technology – 1;
  • Diploma in Culinary Arts – 2;
  • Diploma in Hospitality Management – 1;
  • Associate of Applied Science [Culinary Arts] – 1;
  • Associate of Applied Science [Heating, Ventilation/Air Conditioning] – 1;
  • Associate of Applied Science [Hospitality Management] – 3;
  • Associate of Arts [Business Administration] – 32;
  • Associate of Science [Computer Information Systems] – 9.

Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased to share that 17 graduates are dual enrolment students who will be awarded associate degrees, diplomas or certificates prior to receiving their high school certificates later this month. I want Bermuda to know the names of our public school students who have done extremely well in this programme.

From The Berkeley Institute

  • Christopher Jackson [Associate of Arts/with merit]
  • Zené Wade [Associate of Arts & Science/ with distinction/ Most Outstanding Arts & Science Graduate]
  • Jaiden Furbert-Jacobs [Associate of Arts/Business Administration/ with distinction]
  • Samaria Paynter [Associate of Arts/Business Administration/with distinction/ Most Outstanding Accounting/ Finance Graduate/Phi Theta Kappa]
  • A’Naiije Keesee-Ming [Diploma in Hospitality Management/with merit]
  • Lee-Kaysia Burch [Diploma in Culinary Arts/with merit]
  • Jacari Renfroe [Certificate in Applied Science/Most Outstanding in Motor Vehicle Technology Award]
  • Leano Ming [Certificate in Applied Science Technology/with merit/Most Outstanding in Computers & Programming Award]
  • Ryan Outerbridge [Certificate in Applied Science Technology/with merit/ Most Outstanding in Materials and Mechanics]
  • Asheia Wellman [Certificate in Applied Science Technology]
  • Kevin Sunga [Certificate in Applied Science Technology]

From the CedarBridge Academy

  • Atia Furqan [Associate of Science /Actuarial Science/with merit/Phi Theta Kappa]
  • Miguel Postlewaite [Certificate in Applied Science Technology]
  • Ka’Ri Richards [Associate of Arts/Business Administration]
  • Julian Roser [Certificate in Applied Science Technology/ with distinction/Most Outstanding in Electricity Electronics/Most Outstanding Applied Science Technology Graduate]
  • Kelley Trott [Associate of Arts/Business Administration/with merit]
  • Taever Zuill-Dyer [Certificate in Applied Science Technology]

Mr. Speaker, Other Outstanding Award recipients include: -

  • Most Outstanding in Electrical Wiring – Paul Melo
  • Most Outstanding in Wood Technology – Marcus Fuhrtz
  • Most Outstanding Arts Graduate – Kaitlyn Jeffrey
  • Most Outstanding Education Graduate – Justine Acevedo-Ramirez
  • Most Outstanding Science Graduate – Gloria Simmons
  • Most Outstanding Actuarial Science Graduate – Nisha Smith
  • Most Outstanding Art & Design Graduate – Xela Swan
  • The Distinguished Dean’s Award Division of Arts and Science – Latifa Smith
  • Overall Most Outstanding Division of Arts and Science Award Graduate – Naphisa Smith
  • Administration Shield/Most Outstanding General Business Graduate – Ania Gilbert
  • Administration Cup/Most Outstanding Hospitality Management Graduate – Shane Rogers
  • Butterfield Cup /Best Culinary Graduate – Tremayne Bailey
  • Award for Excellence in Information Technology/Most Outstanding Information Technology Graduate – Tyler Trott

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 20 students who graduated with their Bachelors and Masters degrees through the partnerships Bermuda College has with Mount Saint Vincent and Miami University, respectively. There were 16 Mount St. Vincent students who completed their Bachelor of Business Administration in Association with Bermuda College and 4 students completed their Masters in Special Education with Miami University.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the only casualties of this remarkable Class of 2020 were the 11 nursing students who were unable to finish their studies because the clinical component of their graduation requirements could not be completed as a result of the pandemic. It is hoped that this final portion will be completed in the Fall.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and this Honourable House join me in congratulating the unique and resilient Bermuda College graduates of the Class of 2020, who discovered and followed their path at the Bermuda College!

Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

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