The estimated $140,000 Pineridge Technical Center, as promised by Member of Parliament for Pineridge, Rev. Frederick McAlpine, was on Monday (September 10) morning delivered to constituents.
A campaign trail promise by McAlpine, TEC was officially opened during a ceremony on the grounds of the Kipling Building, where the classes will take place.
“This is an opportunity to educate and give persons a chance to better their lives,” said McAlpine of the new educational center. “I think it was the former Prime Minister (Perry Christie) that said, we should do what we can to educate our people. Either we do this now, or we will pay later. It is better for us to assist them in trying to change their lives and better their lives.”
Well attended by Parliamentarians – former and present – members of the clergy, government and private education officials, a number of supporters and well-wishers, witnessed the momentous occasion and heard of the institution’s goals.
Speaking to PEC’s academic goals and objectives was Jeffery Jervis, PEC principal, who noted that in the 21st Century education has evolved into a technology rich learning environment. “Here at PEC we have incorporated an online curriculum created by Alpha Omega Publications into our Secondary Preparatory Educational Diploma Program.”
The curriculum, he added, is an online learning system with dynamic lessons and interactive features designed for teachers and students.
“Our main objective is to cater to students who have not completed high school and are still desirous of obtaining a High School Diploma. Our program not only allows students to earn credits to graduate, but it also allows students to prepare themselves to take the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and Bahamas General Certificate of Education (BGCSE) examinations. The electives that are provided are designed to help students prepare themselves with career courses for the job market.
“We have also integrated the latest multimedia technologies such as graphics, educational games, video clips, slideshows animation, computer products and other activities to organize, accommodate and optimize the students’ leaning process,” Jervis shared.
Students enrolled at PEC are required to attend school every day – Monday through Friday – between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
“Here they will have access to a laptop, which will be provided by the center and a schedule which is to be followed every day,” Jervis revealed. “There are five core courses, Bible, Science, History and Geography, Language Arts and Mathematics. They also have over 140 electives to choose from.”
To successfully complete the program, the students enrolled are required to complete 21 high school credits in order to graduate from PEC.
Two of the 50 students enrolled in PEC’s first class – Cassinique Oliver and Eric Bastian – publicly thanked McAlpine for his vision and making the dream of PEC a reality.
“I knew that when I voted for him there would be change,” said Oliver. “I am impressed with your leadership, superior knowledge and the vision you have for Grand Bahama.”
She acknowledged her excitement on learning that she would be able to register at PEC. “Every feeling of setback was removed and the mission of success was in process. I am indeed appreciative that from the day you were given the seat, every word that you spoke, you are now putting into place.
“This is the beginning of my accomplishment, to pursue my goals I have been waiting to pursue for a very long time. You are the strength and support I have been looking for, for many years. Thanks to you and your lovely wife, Mrs. (Tracey) McAlpine, the administration and staff of PEC, my dreams and the dreams of others will come true,” noted Oliver.
Bastian sharing similar sentiments said, “To be spiritually conscious, socially responsible and morally upright is the core dimension of the PEC. We know that success is not a destination, but it is a journey in believing in the philosophy that the victory belongs to the person wearing it.
“While thanking the Lord above for His countless blessings, I want to say a very robust thank you to our MP – Frederick McAlpine – for his hard work and dedication in making this dream a reality. Sir, you have made it possible for many, including myself, to have a second chance at education. “I am thankful because of your undying efforts and determination, we can reach the stars and know one day, our dreams will be manifested into realty.
“You campaigned on change for the better and that you would do your utmost best to build up the people of Pineridge. You have done what you said and I eagerly await what comes next, as you seek to be an intricate part of making Grand Bahama grand again.”
Congratulatory remarks were expressed by Ivan Butler, District Superintendent for West Grand Bahama and Bimini; Kim Miller, Senior Manager of Group Corporate Affairs, Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) as well as McAlpine’s Parliamentary colleagues – Vaughn Miller, MP, Golden Isles; Reece Chipman, MP, Centerville and House of Assembly Chaplain, Rev. Genius Wells, who all commended and congratulated the Pineridge MP on his efforts.
Offering the invocation for the event was President of the Grand Bahama Christian Council, pastor Robert Lockhart, who also congratulated McAlpine and the entire Pineridge Constituency for a job well done. “Many persons, especially our young people, will be blessed as a result of what is taking place today.”
Speaking to the first of McAlpine’s many initiatives to come to fruition, Mrs. McAlpine said that PEC’s opening is a moment in time that begins the path to an unprecedented legacy through educational opportunities for the constituents of Pineridge. “A moment in time, that we should savor and take pleasure and national pride in witnessing. A moment in time, as in the poignant words of John Jim Rohn, ‘All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation, to the next level, that we cannot imagine.’
“Your presence here this morning confirms your responsibility to this moment and to the next generation and generations beyond. Today I stand proud of my husband and mentor; what you observe here this morning, is pioneered by his unrelenting efforts and his devotion to the people of Pineridge. The education, elevation and empowerment of his constituents is paramount. He continues to demonstrate, by his passion and his compassion, that he is a man for the advancement of people.”
She concluded, “The Mission Statement of PEC reads, ‘At Pineridge Educational Center, our mission is to provide students with a 21st Century innovative learning environment that will offer every student a pathway to academic success.’”
The Pineridge MP thanked all in attendance noting, “Under this tent sits persons from all facets of society; for this I am extremely grateful.
“I want to thank my contractor, Tino Missick; Shawnae Lightbourne for the electrical work, along with Mark Fynes and two persons who have contributed but wished to remain anonymous; they will stay in my prayers, my mind and in my heart, because you should not let, when in politics, let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
“Travis Robinson, (MP for Bain and Grant’s Town) was also expected to be here today; however, he decided to go back to school and had two exams that he really could not get out of. He wanted to be here … but I am so glad that my brothers (Chipman and Miller) flew from Nassau.
“I want it on the record, I invited every Member of Parliament in Grand Bahama and Senators, but all happened to be extremely busy on September 10. I must admit that Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe (MP for West Grand Bahama and Bimini) sent a special congratulatory message to me that she wanted to be aired, but unfortunately due to technicalities we were not able to air it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, I will keep on pushing and keep on climbing the wall and I am going to keep on working to change and transform the lives of people,” said McAlpine.
“I am feeling overwhelmed. I am feeling that at the end of the day, Pineridge is with me and the people are with me. I am for the people; I am an MP for the people’s business. Let me also thank Centerville and Golden Isles for coming and being with me, during this time.”
Also attending the historic event were Rev. Lindy Russell, former Member of Parliament; Ambassador Maurice Moore and his wife; David Thompson, former FNM Chairman; Cannon Norman Lightbourne, Rector, Pro Cathedral of Christ the King; Rev. Dr. Elvis Burrows, Rev. Dr. Keith Cooper, Bishop Steven Dean, Bishop George Thompson and wife and Deacon Jeff Hollingsworth. Educators, including Yvonne Ward, District Superintendent for East Grand Bahama and the Cays; Marvin Rolle, District Education Officer, Grand Bahama; Kendal Culmer, Chief Councillor, City of Freeport Council; Deputy Chief Councillor, Ernie Barr and other well-wishers.
“Thank you once again Grand Bahama, keep me in your prayers. My prayer is that Pineridge and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas continue to prosper,.” Said McAlpine.
Following the blessing of the facility by Cannon Lightbourne, those in attendance had the opportunity to tour the new facility.