Members of the board of directors of Bahamas Academy of Seventh-day Adventists (Secondary Division), administrators, faculty, staff, parents, family and well-wishers witnessed as the 50-member Elite Class of 2022 accepted diplomas, awards and gifts at the school’s Commencement Exercise Monday, June 27, at William Thompson Auditorium. Senate President the Hon. LaShell Adderley gave the Commencement Address. Participants also included Juliette Sands, Principal; Kaitlyn Forbes, Class of 2022; Anthony Burrows, Education Director; South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Musicians Joshua Stewart and Hudson Sterlin of the Class of 2022 provided entertainment.
Prayer, meditation and faith in God are among the keys to success offered by the Senate President to the Elite Class of 2022. To these three she added the following traits of great leaders from David Rubenstein’s bestselling book “How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEO’s, Founders and Game Changers.” They are: a desire to succeed, pursuit of something new and unique, hard work/long hours, focus, failure, persistence, persuasive, humble demeanor, credit sharing, consistent learning, integrity and response in a crisis.
Said President Adderley, “I trust that you would stem the brain drain and consider serving this progressive country in some capacity. It is my sincere hope that The Bahamas lingers in your heart and resonates in your mind as the best little country in western hemisphere. No matter where you go, we are still the best.
“Our people – good natured, our islands – vast, our waters – unmatched, our democracy-stable, our dollar – strong, our proximity – enviable, our neighbour – the United States, our economy – vibrant, our freedoms – preserved, our potential – limitless, our faith – God and our opportunities – endless.”
She noted the diverse professions available to qualified individuals throughout The Bahamas. “The emerging trend is that The Bahamas will no longer be Nassau centric but provide stellar opportunities across the Family Islands in the blue, green and orange economies. There is a need for further expertise in Forensic Science, Digital Assets, Crypto Currency, Blockchain Technology, IT Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Agriculture, Education, Allied Health, Economics, research in cancer and infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDs and now Covid-19.
“There is also a need for environmental scientists. However, each one of us must do our part to address the critical issue of climate change. Climate change is real, caused by humans but it is solvable.
“Rising sea levels, fires, droughts and hurricanes such as Dorian are not taking a break so neither can we. We need to ensure that we leave a sustainable planet for future generations. We must act now to save this planet. We cannot wait,” she said.
She urged the female graduates to consider “giving back through the political arena”.
“As Senate President of a small developing country, I recognize the need for increased diversity and inclusivity of female representation in our Parliaments. In so doing, women will be better placed to provide strong sensitive leadership on critical issues facing women, youth, and children, influence change and break the bias which all provides for a sustainable tomorrow.
“It is my firm held belief that when women are underrepresented in areas of democracy, women are ignored and inequality is actively deepened.
“The hotly contested September 16th 2021 General Elections ushered in 7 out of 39 or (17 %) seats in the House of Assembly to women. The Prime Minister invited 5 of the women to sit in his Cabinet, representing the largest number of women serving at one time in Cabinet in Bahamian history. In addition, for [the] first time in our Commonwealth two women are simultaneously sitting as Speaker of the House (in the presence of the Hon. Patricia Deveaux) and President of the Senate (yours truly) another historical moment in [a] young democracy.
“I highly commend this vortex of invincible Bahamian trailblazers for wanting more. They wanted diversity, representation and inclusivity,” she said. Senator Adderley remarked that while in office it is her hope to appeal to young adults, children, (especially young ladies and little girls) that they can put God first, bloom and ascend to any high political office.
“Upon my departure from the Upper Chamber, I intend to leave the door open so that the women who follow would not only smash the glass ceiling but exist and thrive in a political atrium of limitless possibilities and boundless opportunities.” She congratulated the graduates and advised them that the road to success is not always easy.
“You will encounter adversity. Challenges make you stretch and stronger but it is your response to obstacles that will make the difference. Obstacles will make you better or bitter — the decision is up to you. Your attitude determines your altitude.
“Graduates, turn your obstacles into victories. God will turn your pain into something beautiful. Trust the Process.” Astra Bowlin and Yannik Gibson are the valedictorian and salutatorian respectively for the Class of 2022.