The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) held its first virtual graduation ceremony on December 5th. Standing are Chief Aliv Officer, Damian Blackburn (l) and BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson. Seated are BTVI’s Registrar, Samara Rolle (l) and BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson. Photo: Shantique Longley
The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) recently held its first virtual graduation following three semesters of online learning. A total of 197 students graduated this year from the institution’s New Providence, Grand Bahama – and for the first time – Andros campus.
Three Andros graduates were a part of the Office Assistant program.
BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, encouraged the students to continue wearing masks for safety purposes, but to pull off the masks of complacency, insecurity and inconsistency.
“Class of 2020, while a lot has changed during the last few months, one thing certainly hasn’t: your potential. So as you graduate from BTVI, remember complacency, insecurity and inconsistency have no room in your life,” said Dr. Robertson.
Dr. Robertson thanked the Class of 2020 for adjusting with the institution as it pivoted the classroom landscape to online platforms as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you for your stickability. More than ever, technology skills and competencies are the new job security during and post COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, BTVI’s Chairman, Kevin Basden, underscored the benefits of technical and vocational education, and encouraged the class of 2020 to continue to persevere.
“The rewards of learning a skill is that you now have the opportunity to embark on a career that can be recession proof. So many individuals lost their jobs due to COVID-19, but technical and vocational education and training gives you the option to not have to depend on an employer to be employed. You have the ability to create your own job like many graduates before you,” said Mr. Basden.
“2020 has truly been a challenging year for us all. Some of you may not be working right now or experiencing other hardships that could be discouraging, but you persevered. The same strength you used to make it to this moment, I want you take that with you as you enter or advance in the world of work,” he continued.
Also making a presentation was Minister of Education, the Honorable Jeffrey Lloyd. He commended BTVI for its accomplishments this year and further congratulated the class of 2020.
“BTVI deserves much praise and commendation for the many milestones they have received over the past school year including increasing the City and Guilds and other industry certifications to ensure that students are ready for the work force,” said Minister Lloyd who is also an alum of BTVI.
“Our country congratulates you for your success, your perseverance and positioning yourself to embrace the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. Your success bodes well for The Bahamas because we need resilient citizens to build our nation up, who can withstand even the devastation of COVID-19.
Continue to flourish and inspire others to follow in your footsteps,” he stated.
Likewise, Del-LaMarr Davis, shared encouraging words with his fellow graduates. He was 1 of 35 students who transferred from BTVI’s Grand Bahama campus and Abaco center after both were damaged by hurricane Dorian.
“We may not have had the ceremony that we would have waited for and for some, dreamt about, but we did it. We finished strong. BTVI strong. We can tell the late American poet, Langston Hughes: Our dreams were not deferred. Tomorrow there may be another obstacle to face but we’ve come this far and I know we’ll go even further because for us, our success will never be limited,” said the Auto Mechanics graduate.
As in the previous years, Aliv awarded two students with the Aliv Award of Excellence. Chief Aliv Officer, Damian Blackburn presented the awards to New Providence Electrical Installation graduate, Caroll LaFleur and Grand Bahama Office Assistant graduate, Angia Russell.
This is the fourth year Aliv has partnered with BTVI to sponsor its commencement ceremony.