As stated on the day of their Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremony, it is always truly a please to attend this event at CARE Learning Centre, where you will always hear moving testimonies about the students who come through their doors in search of higher learning and their GED.
This year was no exception and it was good to see so many relatives and friends sit outside despite the threat of rain to see their loved ones graduate. And it didn’t rain.
This year’s Class of 2018 graduates, saw eight young people, including two not so young students graduate, who took their GED exams as working adults.
They all come from various backgrounds but their mission was the same, only this time the graduating class included a 16-year-old home-schooled student and a 17-year-old, who topped the charts as the highest scorers in Math and Science – Naria Smith and Tariq Simons.
Other graduates included Ana DeSousa, 30, who was honoured for obtaining her GED, which she needed for her job at Butterfield Bank.
Jahnari Crane and Tariq Simons were honoured for acieving college-level scores on their GED exams.
Mr Crane was also the valedictorian this year. He congratulated his student colleagues and told the audience that he never knew he would feel “this honoured”.
Acacio Albertor and Jahquori Burgess-Thomas and Antanell Weeks-Adams also graduated with the Class of 2018.
CARE Learning Centre was founded by former Progressive Labour Party MP and noted author, Neletha Butterfield in 1983 and is headed up by her son, Treadwell Butterfield, who was beaming with pride on graduation day.
During the actual ceremony, which was filled by moving testimonies about the challenges faced by this year’s graduates, Ms Butterfield noted that CARE is always in need of assistance for students who cannot afford the classes or the fees for exams.
In an interview with Bermuda Real, Ms Butterfield noted that the Department of Workforce Development sponsors ten students to attend CARE each school term, but there are so many more in need of financial assistance.
“Students are currently in their second term and four of them are close to getting their GED next term having to pass only one or two subjects mainly Math and Language Arts,” she said.
“The GED is more difficult to achieve in those two areas because of the Algebra and the essay writing of 400 words so students are upgrading their skills in those areas during day and evening classes.
“We are very grateful for their support especially to the adult learning who are currently working and need to make a sacrifice to study in order to be successful.”
Class of 2018 graduates included Jahquori Burgess-Thomas and Antanell Weeks, who were sponsored by the Department of Workforce Development.
There was also a financial surprise delivered on behalf of Reverend Clark Minors of the New Testament Church of God Miracle Temple, a former guest speaker, who was moved by the many testimonies the students gave that year.
He held a meeting with his church councilmen and Ms Butterfield said they have been donating funds to CARE ever since.
“This year, monies went toward paying for students to be tested at the Bermuda College,” she said.
“Pastor Minors and councilman Errol Thomas, who was present at the graduation this year to receive the Community Involvement Award.”
She noted once again, that funds are still needed to assist.”
Mr Thomas told the audience gathered that they will double the church’s donation next year. The cost for the exam is $300 per student.
As for the high scorers, she added: “Since the change of the new GED in 2014, some of the 16-year-olds who have been passing with high GED scores are those students who have attended home schools and with that they pass the GED with record scores in all areas.
“This year we had one 16-year-old and a 17-year-old with ‘College Ready’ scores in Mathematics and Science.”
Another moving segment of the ceremony came with the presentation of awards presented in memory of those who have passed on, including a number of former CARE students, who tragically died as a result of fatal road traffic accidents on Bermuda’s roads.
Ms Butterfield noted that the award in memory of her mother, the late Ms Phyllis Butterfield honours the fact that her school, in its humble beginnings was located in her mother’s home.
Two awards are presented in her memory each year for Special Achievement and Perseverance. Awards were also presented to honour the memory of the
late Shayne Adderley and Ezra Matthie.
The late Graham Steede award is given and donated in memory from his mother Phyllis Myers. The late Lloyd “Stiff” Burch is presented and donated by Mr and Mrs Rodwell Wade in his memory.
“These young man attended CARE and received their high school diplomas besides Shane Adderley who was still attending classes before he died,” said Ms Butterfield.
Ms Butterfield also travels once a week to tutor a young man at Westgate to upgrade his skills in Algebra, Geometry and basic Math so that he too, can get his high school diploma.
Ultimately, she said her mission was never about the money.
For her, she said it’s all about “faithful giving to this worthy education development programme, and helping those within our community seek higher education”.
And as stated at the graduation, she said: “Along the path to success you may have to conquer doubts, setbacks and unfairness, but when the path comes to an end you will find that there’s no greater joy than making your dream come true.
“Go on to bigger and better things because lifelong learning is a journey.”