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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Jul 28, 2021 - 2:56:40 PM


Senate hosts Leadership Recognition Ceremony for top female scholars
By Matt Maura
Jul 28, 2021 - 10:37:29 AM

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Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Dr. Jacinta Higgs (at far left), addressing Tuesday’s Girls in Leadership Recognition Ceremony held in the Upper Chambers of Parliament (the Senate). The ceremony recognized the academic achievements of the young ladies at the Public and Private School levels and adhered to the requisite health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health (wearing of masks, physical distancing) to limit the community spread of COVID-19. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Nassau, The Bahamas – Twelve of New Providence’s 14 top female scholars from the Public and Private School Systems participated in what was billed as the inaugural Girls in Leadership Recognition Ceremony in the Upper Chambers of Parliament (the Senate), Tuesday (July 27). The Ceremony was hosted by Senate President, Senator the Hon. Dr. Mildred Hall-Watson.   (Two of the young ladies had previous engagements).

The fifth female to serve as President of the Senate since 1972 (the others were: Senator, the Hon. Dame Doris Johnson (Dr.) - 1973-1982; Senator, the Hon. Sharon R. Wilson (2002-2007 and 2012-2017); Senator, the Hon. Lynn Holowesko (2007-2012), and Senator, the Hon. Kay Forbes-Smith, 2017-2019), Dr. Hall-Watson was accompanied by Vice-President of the Senate, Senator, the Hon. Juanianne Dorsett, and Senator, the Hon. Janet Lisa Bostwick-Dean. The ceremony is a key component of the Senate President’s objective to mentor young women to become leaders at the national and community levels.

(The mentorship segment of the programme is expected to continue via virtual platform in order to adhere to the health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health to limit the community spread of COVID-19.)

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Senate President, Senator, the Hon. Dr. Mildred Hall-Watson (at left), welcomes the honorees to the Upper Chambers during Tuesday’s Girls in Leadership Recognition Ceremony. Also pictured is Senate Vice-President, Senator, the Hon. Juanianne Dorsett. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Tuesday’s ceremony celebrated the achievements of the top 14 female scholars who achieved Valedictorian or Salutatorian status at their respective schools in the Public and Private School Systems for 2021 and was a collaboration between Parliament’s Upper Chambers and the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, through its Department of Gender and Family Affairs, headed by Dr. Jacinta Higgs.  Dr. Higgs was accompanied by Mrs. Elaine Sands, Gender Expert, Department of Gender and Family Affairs.

The 14 female students honored were: Salina Knowles, Valedictorian, C.I Gibson; Prinesha A. Smith, Valedictorian, C.C. Sweeting; Jaevez Poitier, Valedictorian, L.W. Young; Dashnel Thompson, Salutatorian, Doris Johnson; Lawranna Thompson, Valedictorian, Doris Johnson; Dereka Davine, Salutatorian, L. W. Young and Trevanna Rolle, Valedictorian Temple Christian; Debbie Sumeon, Valedictorian, R.M. Bailey; Darvia Smith, Salutatorian, R.M. Bailey; Daria Curry, Salutatorian, Akhepran; Daleisha Sweeting, Salutatorian, H.O. Nash; Lashan Northe, Valedictorian, Government High School; Deborah Stuart, Salutatorian, C.C. Sweeting and Raizel McDonald, Valedictorian, Akhepran.

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(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

(Valedictorian is the academic title conferred upon the highest-ranking student graduating from an educational institution and is typically based upon the highest, Grade Point Average. A Salutatorian is the second highest-ranking student in a graduating class.)

Senate President Hall-Watson applauded the young ladies for their “phenomenal academic achievements.”

“This morning we gather here to pay special congratulations to a group of women, and by no means would I not ever lift up our male students, but I am so pleased as a woman, as President of this august body, to be in the presence of females who have excelled at the High School Level. I don’t think that some of you may be truly aware of what you have really achieved, but this is a phenomenal achievement and do not let anyone tell you that it isn’t.”

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(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The Senate President challenged the young ladies to use the same kind of focused attention to excel at the next level of their lives. Part of that focus, Madame President said: “is to think of how you can work towards not only bettering your lives, but also the lives of those persons who live with, and around, you.”

“One of the milestones that you could have achieved is now behind you, but I urge you to use it as a focus to get to the next point in your life. Always remember that the impact you can make on a community as an individual is phenomenal. One of the most important things you can be is a citizen. It is so important to recognize the power that you have as a citizen of any country, but in this instance, a citizen of The Bahamas. Each one of you can, individually, make contributions that can impact thousands of your fellow citizens. Always strive to do your best, to be your best, and to excel at whatever it is that you do.”

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Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Dr. Jacinta Higgs (at far left), addressing Tuesday’s Girls in Leadership Recognition Ceremony held in the Upper Chambers of Parliament (the Senate). The ceremony recognized the academic achievements of the young ladies at the Public and Private School levels and adhered to the requisite health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health (wearing of masks, physical distancing) to limit the community spread of COVID-19. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Dr. Hall-Watson also had special praise for the parents of the students.

“I congratulate the parents because, at the end of the day, it is their sacrifice, their work, their leadership, their caring, that has in large part made it possible for you students to be sitting here with us today. I thank the parents for being engaged enough to be here with you, to not just send you here, because I think that speaks volumes. They took the time out, some of them even had to take the day off, some may lose a day’s pay, but they are here with you and I think you students need to look at that as the love and the caring that your parents have for you.”

Senate Vice-President Dorsett told the young ladies that Bahamian women have played, and continue to play, integral roles in the socio-economic development of the country, and that their journeys should be no different.

“Don’t ever think that anything is out of your range, or that there are certain things you ought not to do or cannot do because you are a woman. You can do anything your talent, your focus, your energy leads you to do. As you go forward, keep that commitment to excellence, keep that dedication that got you thus far,” Senator Dorsett added.




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