The Barbados Community College (BCC) held its 43rd Graduation Ceremony on Saturday 22 October 2016 under the theme “Securing an Independent Future through Education” at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, St. Michael. BCC celebrated its 2016 Barbados Exhibitions awardees Tracey Brathwaite and Danielle White, presenting them with a special plaque for their achievements of the national award with GPAs of 3.964 and 3.926 respectively. At the 2016 Graduation Ceremony, 975 graduates were conferred with 10 Post Graduate Diplomas; 51 Bachelor Degrees, 20 Post Associate Degree Diplomas, 705 Associate Degrees in the areas of Arts, Science, Applied Arts and Applied Science and 189 received BCC certificates.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Board of Management, Mr Stephen Broome noted that the theme ‘Securing an Independent Future Through Education’ was perhaps reflective of the 50th anniversary of independence. “The fathers of Independence linked the future of our nation inextricably to education and in so doing one of the earliest results of our independence was the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Barbados Community College in 1968 to provide post-secondary education to a wide cross section of the Barbadian public” stated Broome.
In congratulating the graduands on achieving success in their different disciplines, Mr Broome went on to say, “Indeed, we also want a society that seeks to recognize and empower our youth to be nation builders, firm craftsmen of our fate and protectors of our value systems. Education, therefore, is key in securing our success as strict guardians of our heritage”.
The College continues to expand its degree offerings with the introduction of four new bachelor’s programmes during the new semester. These are Clinical Laboratory Science in the Division of Health Sciences; Media and Journalism Studies in the Division of General and Continuing Education; a Bachelor’s degree in Education (with a specialisation in Physical Education) in the Department of Physical Education, and an Arts and Entertainment Management in the Division of Fine Arts.
Over the next two years, Barbados Community College will also be offering and transitioning a number of other programmes to degrees. These include the Culinary Arts programme and the degree in Sports Management slated for September 2017. Other programmes Music – Division of Fine Arts, Agriculture and Environmental Science – Division of Science, Health Information Management and Rehabilitation Therapy Technology – Division of Health Sciences, and Business Studies, Marketing Management and Office Administration – Division of Commerce.
The College will continually seek to remain relevant and enhance the educational opportunities of Barbadians and others in regional and international countries (persons, locally, regionally and internationally). Commenting on the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to the future economic growth of the island, the Principal, Dr Ian Austin, indicated that more emphasis will be placed on the areas of workforce training, learning and achievement towards preparing Barbadians for STEM-related jobs. Quoting James Madison (1822), Dr Austin noted, “A people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives”. He further stated that education remains one of the primary factors in solving challenges and placing us on the cutting edge. “We all know that educational attainment is an important determinant of economic and social success and that there is a strong link between education and life outcomes; for example, occupational successes and the quality of life that you enjoy as a result of attending college”, remarked Dr Austin.
Similar sentiments were echoed by this year’s valedictorian, Ms Tracey Brathwaite. Ms Brathwaite advised her fellow graduates not to be afraid of being extraordinary and to think outside the box. She noted, “You can start with a small idea and similar to how an oak tree grows from the tiniest of seeds; that single idea can progress, gain momentum and grow into something bigger than you could ever have imagined”. Ms Brathwaite advised the graduates to put Jehovah God first in everything they sought to accomplish. She closed with this quotation: “Life is a rollercoaster, there are going to be some ups and downs but life keeps moving forward. Move ahead with it!” Ms Brathwaite gained a GPA of 3.964 and was awarded an Associate Degree in Science.
The Board of Management and the Management and Staff of the Barbados Community College wished the 2016 graduating class success in all their future endeavours.