100 percent of Aquinas graduates receive diplomas
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Jun 26, 2013
Four years after relocating to its new Gladstone Road location, Aquinas College, has graduated one of its best classes in that period. One hundred percent of the 63-member class, graduated with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.30 and above and received diplomas.
Of the graduates, 25 graduated as honor students with grade point averages (GPA) above 3.00. And 42 members of the graduating class matriculated to their senior year with as many as six Bahamas General Certificates of Secondary Education (BGCSE).
The lowest grade point average in the graduating class was a 2.30. (The school moved its average from 2.00 to a 2.30 and the class of 2013 would have been the class that would have had to earn a 2.30 GPA or above, and they all did it.)
Of the graduates, 19 were awarded scholarships to colleges and universities in the United States and Canada — Carmeisha Cox, Jermanique Evans, Justin Bowleg, Dominique Sears, Christopher Cash, Tristan King, Justina Ferguson, Claude Farrington, Troy Ann Mott, Kezia Burrows, Clyde Newton II, Azania Knowles, Donniqua Rolle and Donovan Smith.
“Every [graduating] class has had its highlights, but I would say this year’s graduating class has been one of the best since we’ve moved to the new location,” said Aquinas College principal, of six years, Shona Moss-Knowles. “But, I think the difference was the consistency with sharing what it is we’re all about, what our vision is, really getting the students to take ownership and to believe in us as we believe in them.”
Moss-Knowles believes the outstanding results of this year’s graduating class was because the students trusted the school’s system and eventually began to trust themselves. The result she said was the students’ all dreams and aspirations were manifested.
“To be honest, in addition to being academically sound, I found that this class in particular, you saw the growth in terms of commitment, friendship, gratitude and their ability to show empathy really. Those Christian values that we endeavor to instill in our students at Aquinas really came forth in this 2013 class.”
This year, tragedy struck the school campus with the demise of a seventh grade student. The school’s administration brought in grief counselors, but the members of the senior class stepped in to be a part of by offering hugs to the younger students. Witnessing them doing things like that touched the principal’s heart.
“That in itself really touched my heart and brought it home that we’re truly a family,” said Moss-Knowles. The student body also attended the funeral.
The graduates also assisted with the cleaning up at Our Lady’s School and St. Bede’s School, both of which closed after 153 years of Catholic education.
“The graduates were always willing to assist with whatever we needed assistance with,” said Moss-Knowles. “They were always there for each other —the kind words, the kind exchanges — the kind of friendship that developed over the years we really saw come to fruition. They were generally, a very good group of young people.”
Moss-Knowles said the class of 2013 was one that was very involved as well as talented — especially in the arts, participating in the school’s marching band and concert band. She said the members of the graduating class also gave birth to the new Aquinas Pop Band that has performed at a number of events. The graduates also revived the tradition of musicals at the school. During the school year they presented “Grease.”
It took 22 years for the new Aquinas College campus, the “jewel” in the Catholic education system, to become a reality and Moss-Knowles said the environment at their Gladstone Road location makes a difference from their previous location at Madeira Street.
“The campus is totally conducive to learning,” said the principal. “The students have accepted this as their campus and they take very good care of the campus. You can see that they feel a part and have an ownership of the campus. The whole attitude has changed in that students know that they are here to learn and teachers are here to teach.”
It’s a shift from the attitude many people had towards the old Aquinas College location — which was that if you couldn’t get your child into any other school, you got them into Aquinas College. But that’s not the attitude that people have today. It’s no longer the school where if nothing else works let’s try Aquinas College.
“I think I have some of the best students here — academically as well as behaviorally,” said Moss-Knowles. While she admits the students have daily trials and tribulations, she said the issues are not out of the ordinary and are generally the typical teenage issues.
“On this campus we hold fast to goodness, discipline and knowledge, and respect is our watchword from the janitor to the principal,” she said.
The takeaway for students coming up behind the class of 2013 she said is that the graduates knew how to be compassionate, knew how to show empathy, and displayed good Christian values.
“They [class of 2013] are a good product of what we call the Catholic school graduate — their Christian leadership came out,” said Moss-Knowles. “They were academically capable, centered and well-rounded students. You saw a love for learning and they were very environmentally conscious. They were good stewards of what we were given by the Catholic diocese and those were some of the characteristics of a Catholic school graduate, and I think this class really epitomized what it is we want students to receive at the end of receiving a quality Catholic education.”
Valedictorian — Troy-Ann Mott
Salutatorian — Valene Rolle
Jean Patricia Award for
Academic excellence — Troy-Ann Mott
Principal’s Award — Carmeisha Cox
All-round boy — Tristan King
All-round girl — Valene Rolle
Phoenix Award — Jamaal Foulkes
Most Improved Senior — Kyle Campbell
Andrew Curry Music Award —Dominic Williamson
English Literature — Troy-Ann Mott
Biology — Troy-Ann Mott
Religion — Troy-Ann Mott
AP English — Troy-Ann Mott
Computer — Clayton McKenzie
Physics — Clayton McKenzie
Auto Mechanics — Clayton McKenzie
Economics — Keaneirha Smith
Accounting — Keaneirha Smith
Mathematics — Kimberly Stuart
Spanish — Kimberly Stuart
Cosmetology — Alexandria Neely
Craft and Design — Alexandria Neely
English Language — Donovan Smith
Chemistry — Ariel Johnson
History — Valene Rolle
Geography — Riche Davis
AP Math — Justin Bowleg
Office procedures — China Smith
Tourism and Hospitality — Kyle Campbell
Civics — Azania Knowles
Food and Nutrition — Donovan Smith
Art and Design — Sophia Knowles
Electrical Installation — D’mitri Swann
Physical Education girl — Carmeisha Cox
Physical Education boy — Christopher Cash