Under the theme ‘Accepting the Challenge; Striving for Success’ Jack Hayward Senior High School (JHSHS) celebrated the graduating Class of 2018 at the Calvary Temple Assemblies of God on Monday morning.
The sanctuary was filled to capacity with family, friends and well-wishers of the graduates, all present to salute the students for their accomplishments.
Guest speaker for the event was Dr. Ian Strachan, Vice President, University of The Bahamas, Northern Bahamas Campus, who challenged the graduates to be lifelong learners.
“Your theme today is ‘Accepting the Challenge; Striving for Success.’ I will be honest. Most graduating themes are similar, wherever you go, it focuses on success, but what is success?
“Before I get to that, I wish to point out that, as proud and impressed as I am with all of these wonderful young people, I want to commend the school for exceeding the National Average in terms of the graduation rate. It is commendable and I am inspired by so many of you, who are determined to move on to the next level. How you finish high school is a good predictor but won’t guarantee your success.
“You can do well in high school, and fail in life. That is very important to remember. You can underachieve in high school and succeed in life. Just because you received top honors today, does not mean that your story has ended. It does not mean that you have reached the final chapter. It is not over. You still have life ahead of you and you are in charge of the choices that you make,” said Strachan.
He pointed out that success is the quality of one’s character. He appealed to the graduates to remain mindful of 10 important aspects of their lives moving forward. He encouraged them to be lifelong learners and acquire the skills necessary to provide for themselves. He also challenged them to think for themselves, believe in justice and to never be too proud to ask for help in life.
“Class of 2018, congratulations. I am proud of you. This is an awesome moment for you. This is a rite of passage. You have made it this far and you can make it so much further. Remember that the journey is not just about putting one foot in front of the other. The journey is an internal journey as well, a journey of the heart, and of the mind. Cultivate those, become inwardly rich, inwardly wealthy and you will have success. God bless you,” concluded Strachan.
Brownen Smith, Principal, JHSHS, during her address impressed upon the graduates, and by extension the supporters in attendance, that Jack Hayward High School is collectively raising the standard.
She outlined many of the accomplishments the school has attained during this past year, one of which was exposing students to future career opportunities in the nation’s number one industry, tourism.
“Seventeen students received their certification from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute on June 6, 2018. Eighty-six percent passed through skills task and training culinary exams. Seventy-eight passed an exam that focuses on hospitality management and 93 percent passed the Guest Service Goal Exam, a customer service-based exam for hospitality workers.
“Our aim is to become the premier school of choice for Hospitality Education in The Bahamas. Yes, collectively, we are raising the standard.
“In this 21st Century, scientific and technological innovation have become increasingly important to succeed. The Science Department initiated the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Club in which students of this year’s graduating class participated in a number of competitions and continued to excel.”
She praised the graduates for applying themselves appropriately in pursuit of the Bahamas High School Diploma.
“Class of 2018, this was the final year for you to meet the criteria of The Bahamas High School Diploma. Of a population of 137, 99 of you have attained all of the criteria for the Bahamas High School Diploma. That relates to 72.26 percent. Although this percentage is lower than our targeted goal, it is nevertheless, well above the national graduation rate. Congratulations! We rejoice with you. Indeed, you have adhered to your theme, ‘Accepting the Challenge; Striving for Success.’
“We have 13 students on the provisional list, waiting for their BJC results, which is about 9.95 percent. Who knows? If they pass those BJCs maybe we will get our targeted goal after all.
“In September 2015, less than 50 percent of you had completed your community service hours. This increased to 97 percent to date. That means, this class has a combined total of 5, 258 community service hours,” disclosed Principal Smith.
In conclusion she said to the 2018 graduates, the following:
“Be assured, you are ready to face the circumstances of tomorrow. Remember that challenges are merely doors of opportunity. Do not be confined to a box. Think outside of the box. Continue to raise the standard wherever life takes you and wherever God calls you. Congratulations once again... much love and peace to you. Continue to accept your future challenges and continue to strive and succeed,” said Smith.
Yvonne Ward, District Superintendent, East Grand Bahama and The Cays, and former Principal, JHSHS also brought brief remarks during the graduation noting, “Listening to Jack Hayward’s accomplishments for the past academic year, as former principal, I have no doubt that the rich, academic technical and artistic legacy at JHHS lives on.
“Thanks to all of the proud parents, School Board and PTA executives, community partners, award sponsors and scholarship donors for your unwavering support this year and throughout the years. We know that it takes a village to raise a child and so we all have to do our part to ensure that every single child in our educational system is successful,” stated Ward.
During her Valedictorian Address, Head Girl Shandera Haley noted, “I hold firm to the belief that it is not as important how you start out in life, but what is more important is how one ends.
“Fellow graduates, over the last three years here at JHSHS I have learned so much. The lessons learned, have helped to form the strong and determined young lady that is standing in front of you. My road to this day was not without challenges but the people throughout my journey were truly God-sent. I know that destiny was orchestrated by a higher power.
“My fellow classmates, all lessons are valuable, but the most important lesson that I have learnt over the course of my time here is that you are who you surround yourself with.”
She thanked her small network of friends for their positive impact on her life, as well as her family friends and other loved ones for their support.
“To my fellow graduates, we must always do what we have to do, in order to go where we need to go. We must always embrace the approaching opportunities and we cannot allow the negative opinions of others stop us from achieving our goals. I stand here proud to attest, that I did what I did, in order to get where I am today,” concluded Haley.
Excellence Awards went to the following:
Patron’s Award ( Jack Hayward) and Valedictorian – Shandera Haley (Head Girl)
District Superintendent Award (Yvonne Ward) and Salutatorian – Derriko Lewis (Head Boy)
Principal’s Award (Bronwen Smith) – Rostin Forbes
Vice Principal’s Award (Janice Pinder) – Elysha Darville (Deputy Head Girl)
Vice Principal’s Award (Elva Davis) – Lavonte Collie
Senior Mistress’ Outstanding Talent Award (Afrika Karamo- Miller) – Deja Kemp
Senior Master’s Outstanding Service Award (Vinson Rolle) – Elijah Darville