Professor Veronica Ferguson told recent high school scholarship recipients to live their best lives, during her keynote address at the Grand Bahama American Women’s Club (GBAWC) Awards Ceremony on Monday (May 6) at Ruby Swiss Restaurant.
Ferguson first commended GBAWC members for continuing to give back to the Grand Bahama community. “Giving back is a powerful conduit for change.”
Encouraging the attending students to live up to their full potential, Ferguson said, “You have the potential to unlock the code to those cancer genes and find the cure, maybe even in our backyard.”
She suggested that their generation could transform The Bahamas into a more sustainable and productive nation, instead of a consumer-based one.
Ferguson noted that this can only truly be accomplished with hard work and dedication.
She added that they should also acquire useful life-skills.
“You must get skills,” she said. “Skills like baking, building and sewing can only serve a person well along with academic achievements.”
Ferguson also spoke to parents and guardians. “Make them accountable for their actions, encourage them and build their self-esteem.”
She stated that life is not fair and hard work brings reward. “This lesson encompassed many other lessons like to be a leader and not a follower. Also, that failure is the single most important aspect of success.
“Failure is like fertilizer, it stinks for sure but it makes things grow faster,” she said. “The second lesson is that manners and respect will take you around the world.”
She expressed that this lesson is the backbone of moral development and excellence in teaching persons to be patient, be honest with themselves as well as others, to have integrity, discipline and to choose their friends wisely.
Ferguson stated that the world needs more people of good character, which is not defined by material things. “Prioritizing and recognizing what is valuable is key at this point.”
She added that character is a part of who people are at their core. “True character is found deep within your being,” Ferguson added.
Ferguson’s final lesson for the students was, “find your passion. Find what you love to do and that something you must be good at.”
Ferguson, finally, reminded the attendees that they are unique and able to accomplish whatever they are determined to do, no matter what challenges they may face in life.
“When God gives you a vision there is always provision,” she said.
GBAWC President Peggy Groves thanked Ferguson for imparting words of wisdom during the meeting.
Eighteen students from five schools – Bishop Michael Eldon School (BMES), Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy (MSSCA), Sunland Baptist Academy, and St. Paul’s Methodist College – were awarded scholarships to assist with their high school tuitions.
There were five recipients from BMES – Heather Brockbank, Raquel Jade Burrows, Wilton Cartwright, Dionne Star Jones and Reanna Knowles. MSSCA had three recipients – Jasmine Antonique Clarke, Cortez Rolle and Khiavan Zephy.
This is Rolle’s second year as a recipient due to his maintenance of a 3.0 and above grade point average (GPA).
He told this daily that the scholarship was a great help for his mother. “It feels amazing.”
There were five recipients from Sunland – Cordea Elvies, Makaila Johnson, Jasmine Major, Deborah Russell and Lashae Smith. Tabernacle had two recipients – John Shaquille Poitier Jr., and Jasmine Thompson and St. Paul’s had three recipients – Aaron Farrington, Natalya Rolle and Tranae Rolle.
Community programmes from various organizations were also awarded. Community Children’s Programmes that were awarded included – the Rand Nature Centre, Salvation Army, Humane Society, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Summer Programme, Children’s Library Programme, Girl Guides, Sailing Club, And Regency Summer Camp.
Community programmes recognized included the Us Too organization and the Reef Ball Project.
The GBAWC overall objectives are to develop friendly spirit among its members who come from many countries, to cooperate with other organizations and to undertake, organize and promote activities in educational, literacy and the artistic pursuits.
The GBAWC celebrates its 53d Anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1966, the club has met its philanthropic mission of giving back to the Grand Bahama community by underwriting scholarships and funding community projects and summer camps for island youth. To date, over 200 student scholarships have been awarded.
The GBAWC also continues the work of the Women’s Auxiliary Nursing Division Services (W.A.N.D.S) by screening second and ninth graders for vision and hearing deficiencies. W.A.N.D.S was originally organized in conjunction with the founding of Freeport to provide emergency services and blood donations.