BTVI’s Vice President of its northern campus, Veronica Collie and president, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, pose with graduates during the recent commencement exercise
By Pleshae McPhee
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Friday, July 1st 2016 etched a mark of conclusion on the academic canvas of The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution’s (BTVI) graduates in Grand Bahama.
The graduating class was commended by the institution’s first president, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, for persevering and completing the course through hardships and pressing circumstances. He mandated to the class of 43 that “[They] are the ones who are expected to play an instrumental role in solving the challenges and issues within [their] respective disciplines.”
Dr. Robertson drilled into the graduates that they are being released into “an ever-changing, multifaceted workforce that demands the best - that demands excellence; therefore, they must be prepared to display their best work and talents to the world.
The president also made it known that they are leaders and skilled workers who are well equipped with tools to better Freeport - an island in demand of their skills. He noted that BTVI has been an important facilitator towards providing the skilled labour to match the country’s market demand, working towards a broader national vision.
He resurrected laughs in the dead of silence of attentive onlookers saying: “To the Auto Mechanics graduate, remember: vehicles break down; it is highly likely that you will always have worked to do! To the cosmetologist: there’s something about women and their hair. Whether it’s short hair…long hair…not-so-natural- hair – women are fascinated with their tresses!”
Dr. Robertson concluded that they should stay true to what is just. “Wherever you journey takes you, be sure to never cut corners. Your character is who you are. Be honest. Be ethical. Stay in the realms of what is legal. Having a character of integrity, coupled with being a competent worker is what true leaders expect of you,” he stated.
Echoing these sentiments was guest speaker, Kevin Stuart, Terminal Manager, Statoil South Riding Point Bahamas. In a very personal address of his rise at the company, Mr. Stuart encouraged the students to not be mediocre and to go beyond the call of duty. He also cautioned them that on the job, they may start out on the bottom rung; however, be persistent as success does not come overnight.
Additional commendation and advice came from the Minister of Grand Bahama, the Honourable, Dr. Michael C. Darville, who recognized the affluence technical professions add to the island’s economy. He reiterated the government’s intent to diversify the economy of Grand Bahama.
“I ask this institution’s continued assistance in developing programs that will further prepare our people to play a more active role in the agricultural, industrial, tourism and manufacturing sectors of our economy, which will maximize the potential for economic development of our island,” said Minister Darville.
The minister proceeded to extend acclaim to the faculty, staff and administrators of BTVI’s northern campus for their constant and unshakable empowerment of the island’s youth. He assured the graduates that they should highlight this achievement and that more business and employment opportunities will be created to harvest their freshly groomed technical talents.
Minister Darville ended by quoting Aristotle: ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit!’ assuring the class that once again, graduation is not the end but the beginning to their journey of excellence. He warmly bestowed his trust on the graduation class of tomorrow saying, “I am counting on each of you, therefore, to now take the knowledge and skills you have attained at BTVI, and apply them in order to build a better life for you and your family and to make positive contribution to your communities, island and country.”
Young men proudly adorn their caps and gowns following BTVI’s graduation in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Graduates are all smiles and ready for the world of work!
Michael Tennant pulled out his cell phone to capture the historic moment with BTVI’s first president, Dr. Robert W. Robertson.