BREGADO FLAX GRADUATES 21 STUDENTS
Under the theme “Brightening Our Future”, the Bregado Flax Educational
Centre (BFEC) Secondary Division held its 2002 graduation exercises at the
Catholic Community Centre in The Valley on Thursday July 4th.
Twenty-one students graduated. Tamara Charles was named valedictorian,
while the salutatorian was Kishell Blaize.
In her Principal’s remarks, Ms. Caryl O’Neal congratulated the students and
expressed thanks and appreciation to the parents and teachers and other
staff who worked with the students. “The past year has been one of
difficult circumstances for us, yet the school staff has forged ahead and
made limeade from lime,” she declared.
Ms. O’Neal commended the Class of 2002 for working seriously towards their
goal. “You kept level-headed and you conducted yourself well; as a group,
you were less distracting and less stress producing than we usually
experience.”Salutatorian Kishell Blaize recalls having to make many sacrifices in order
to achieve her success, being constantly reminded by her mother that a
person gets out of life only what they put in.
While thanking everyone for the role they played in their educational
development, Ms. Blaize suggested that parents need to become more actively
involved in the life of the school. She said one of the ways this can be
done is through attending PTA meetings as this provides an opportunity to
get to know the teachers and to know what is happening in the school.
She went on to specifically thank the government. “I was very pleased when
the Honourable Reeial (At Large Representative and Minister of Natural
Resources and Labour) mentioned the possibility of a technical school on
Virgin Gorda at Sunday’s valedictory service. I urge the government to move
forward with this so as to enable other young people who are not so
academically inclined to have opportunities to learn a trade.”
During the ceremony, a special presentation was made to Mrs. Joyce Ephraim,
who was completing her final year as a teacher at the Bregado Flax Educational
Centre. She was tributed as one who stands tall in the
community and influenced the lives of many children through her teachings
and her plays and poems.
Acting Chief Education Officer Dr. Quincy Lettsome brought congratulations
from the Ministry to the BFEC Class of 2002. He acknowledged the support of
the teachers, parents and the general community. “The Department of
Education and Culture supports you in every way possible,” he stated.
He pointed out that the 2002 graduation had added significance. “This type
of comprehensive education was formally introduced to the Virgin Gorda
community with the opening of the Bregado Flax Educational Centre in 1982.
So as the BFEC Secondary Division observes its 20th anniversary, you have
become an integral part of its tradition and legacy.”
The acting Chief Education Officer noted that their standard of work has
been commendable, with no outright failures, only deferrals. He encouraged
those who will be doing supplementary subjects will pursue them with zeal.
The guest speaker was Ms. Laverne Stevens. Addressing the theme, she told
the graduates that they are the key elements into guiding themselves into a
bright and prosperous future. She shared a strategy for success with them,
which included knowing God first and developing a relationship with Him.“Secondly, know who you are and love you,” Ms. Stevens said. She said this
means they should have a strong sense of self and not allow themselves to
be easily persuaded by others; be steadfast, but keep an open mind and be
flexible to changes.
The guest speaker also encouraged the students to know where they are
going, set short and long term goals in pursuit of their careers, write
them down, display them, devise a plan and strive to achieve these goals
anyway they legally can.“Next, I urge you to be persistent, success is rarely achieved
instantaneously,” she declared. “Never quit because sometimes we give up on
the eve of our success.”
She said falling is a part of life and although onlookers can be
judgemental, falling is not failure. She said where their failure comes in
is where we don’t recuperate after the fall.Ms. Stevens also encouraged the graduates to remember those who helped them
along the way. “Remain humble and share your success by firstly giving back
firstly to your family and then to your community.”
Minister of Education the Honourable Andrew Fahie told the graduates this
is a good time to look back at what they have gained from their experiences
at the BFEC and more importantly to look to the future. He said with all of
the options available today, theirs could be a very promising future or a
“We are aware that the call to overcome peer pressure in this day and age
is easier said than done…however I want to encourage you today to think
carefully and choose wisely the path that you take and not let your
teachers’ hard work and the values which your parents passed on and their
expectations of you be wasted,” he advised.
The Minister said government continues to recognize its role to provide
students with a well-rounded education and continues to provide scholarship
opportunities. He spoke of opportunities locally to further their education
at the Community College and the UWI School of Continuing Studies.
In addition, he reminded the students that 14 additional scholarships are
available for all graduates throughout the BVI in the following areas:
technical/vocational studies, education, engineering, medicine or a health
related field, sports, tourism and hospitality studies, financial studies,
marine studies and agriculture.Hon. Fahie named the 2002 national scholarship awardees for the BFEC as
Kishell Blaize and Kahlia Hodge.
In her address, valedictorian Tamara Charles spoke to the importance of
setting goals. “Without them, you’re like a ship without a sail.”
She encouraged the students to believe in themselves, stay focussed,
embrace life’s challenges and be confident.Chief Minister and 9th District Representative Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal
congratulated the principal and staff on what the school has achieved in
the past year despite the many difficulties. He also commended the Parent
Teachers Association for the interest they continue to take in the school.
“I do pray that this interest will continue, for it is a well
known…fact…that the school cannot do everything for the pupil; people
should accept that and be prepared to do their part.”He said while technology brings changes, it should not prevent them from
being focused on what they want to achieve in life. He also exhorted them
never to forget the school that gave them their start.
© 2001 by SUN ENTERPRISES (B.V.I.) LTD.
OF THE ISLAND SUN Newspaper. All rights reserved.