FRIDAY, DEC. 3: Mr. Speaker, just as I highlighted the achievements of Berkeley Institute students two weeks ago, I rise today to inform this Honourable House and the general public of the achievements of CedarBridge Academy students.

Mr. Speaker, I attended the CedarBridge Prizegiving Ceremony on Tuesday evening and I can tell you that it was a celebration of excellence!  From the stimulating words of new Chairman Mr. Larry Mussenden, the sweet sounds of the string ensemble, the words of the students who participated and the inspiring speech given by Alumnus Antonia Mills it was a memorable evening.

Mr. Speaker, let me single out a few of the outstanding achievements of CedarBridge students:

In GCSE Mathematics, twenty-seven students sat the examination with twenty-six passing – fifteen with a grade of A or B.

In GCSE Science, seventeen sat the examination, sixteen passed - eight with a grade of B or C.

In GCSE Spanish, nineteen students sat the examination, with sixteen passing - 6 with a grade of A, B or C.

In the City & Guilds International Certification for Hairdressing, ten sat the exam, all passed - 9 of them with distinction.

In the Advanced Placement English Exam, twenty sat the exam, with 4 earning a score of 3 (on a 5 point scale) which earns them college credit.

Mr. Speaker, just as I previously singled out exceptional students at Berkeley, so I must single out CedarBridge student, Israel Sanchez who earned a perfect score on the Math College Placement Test.

I also wish to single out the following honour students:

S1 students Chrisante’ Bean who had a GPA of 3.8; and Daniel Walker with a GPA of 3.6.

S2 students Ashley Johnson with a GPA of 3.83; and Leanna Hall with a GPA of 3.79.

S3 student, Head Boy Andrew Fleming had 5 GCSE’s and a GPA of 3.98. Mr. Fleming was also the recipient of the Principal’s Cup [given to the student who best exemplifies the qualities of the Principal].

Finally, there was Ivan Sanchez, who graduated in June and is presently pursuing an economics degree at McGill University. This young man was an Advanced Placement Scholar who achieved a score of 4 on a 5 point scale in three advanced placement subjects. In addition, he earned 9 GCSE passes.

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no need to sell Bermuda’s children short or to lower our expectations – they can, and do, hold their own against international competition in many spheres.  As it stands, there are pockets of excellence throughout the education system.  I intend to find them, celebrate them and then work to ensure that those pockets grow larger and larger.

Mr. Speaker, let me now change the focus and talk about the excellent work being done at Dellwood Middle School.

I had the privilege of attending a Special Assembly to thank the individuals involved in the School’s Annual M1 Camping Retreat.

At the start of the school year, the M1 team spends a week camping on Paget Island where they engage in team building exercises, while also exposing students to informal education in an outdoor setting.  On the Island, students have a chance to bond with both their classmates and their teachers. That’s right Mr. Speaker, the teachers also spend the week camping with the children – overnight! This is going over and above the call of duty. 

At camp each student is given chores, such as keeping their dorms and bathrooms clean, preparing and serving meals, as well as cleaning up after meals.

Over the years, teachers have been surprised to find that some students have never spent a night away from home, some don’t know how to hold a mop or a broom, some have never seen a fresh potato or vegetables growing.  Students are exposed to native, endemic, introduced and invasive plants and animals. They are also shown the different Bermudian habitats that are found on the island: from rocky coast to forest and mangrove. 

They visit St. Georges and get to see Fort George, St. Peter’s Church, Somers Garden, The Deliverance, Mitchell House, the Printing Press and the St. George’s Foundation Visitors Centre.

At the end of each day, students have to write a journal entry describing the highlights of their day – I heard three different journal entries and noted a budding author among them! These journals become a part of the Literacy Collaborative Programme used by all Middle Schools.

Mr. Speaker, this is an example of a school finding an innovative way to reach the children.  This type of activity helps to address our social ills while also improving student learning.

Mr. Speaker, I began by noting that the assembly was to thank those persons who have assisted to make the M1 camp a success over the years.  It takes a lot of people to look after 70 M1 students - these persons included:

Mr. Cal Simons, representing the Department of Youth and Sport. 

Captain Andre Hollinsid, Island Caretaker and Captain of the Atlantic Spray. 

Mr. Anthoni Lightbourne of the Bermuda Water Safety Council.

Mr. J.P. Skinner of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)

Ms. Linda Thorne of the Bermuda Museum, Aquarium and Zoo. 

Ms. Jeannie Olander of the St. George’s Historical Society.

Ms. Sharon Jacobs of the St. George’s Foundation.

Mr. Edward Lightbourne of “Word of Life.

Ms. Tania Stafford of the Bermuda National Trust.

Mr. Paul Doughty of the Waterwise Programme.

PC. Ralph Lindo representing the Bermuda Marine Police Service; and

PC David Johnson – who was given special mention. Affectionately called PC. by the students, he was a member of the Reach Programme who helped to purchase supplies and deliver them to the school; he organized transportation to deliver equipment and other supplies to St. George’s, he led exercise drills, and piloted the Kitty to shuttle presenters to and from the island. He ensured that decorum was maintained in and out of the dorms and kept a vigilant eye on students to maintain their principle of “Safety First”.  PC David Johnson camped with the Dellwood M1 Camp every year until restructuring saw him moved to a different Department.

There were also teachers who should be acknowledged for giving of their time:

Mr. Joseph Robinson

Ms. Roxanne Wainwright

Ms. Kelly Donville

Ms. Vernita Paynter

Ms. Veronica Vernon

Ms. Angela Furbert

Mr. William Caulder

Ms. Kim Manderson

Mrs. Waverley Minors

Mrs. Andresa Osborne

Mrs. Tamara Adderley

Mr. Chayce Smith

Mrs. Terrilyn Richards; and

Mrs. Patricia Williams-Hall

Mr. Speaker, some staff members could not stay overnight, so they travelled to the camp every morning at 8:30am:

Mrs. Tanya Tucker Simmons

Ms. Levohn Fergusson

Mrs. C. Goodman

Ms. S. Brangman

Mrs.  P.  Allen

Ms. Monique Paul

Dr. Alshia Lugo; and

Mrs. Yvonne Pearson.

Mr. Speaker, teacher, parent and student support can only be achieved when the principal demonstrates the necessary leadership to galvanise everyone towards the same goals. In this regard, special mention must go to principal Mrs. Janet Musson.

Mr. Speaker, positive activity in our schools will no longer be one of the best kept secrets in Bermuda.  I will do my best to put them in the spotlight whenever I am provided with an opportunity.

Thank you.