The first Career and Technical Education (CTE) District Exhibition took place at the Bahamas Government Complex on Feb. 15 under the theme – “Building Bridges, Closing Gaps…One Student at a Time!”
An official opening ceremony was held to launch the event, which will take place on an annual basis. Participating schools included: Abaco Central High School; S.C. Bootle High School; Agape Christian School; St. Francis de Sales School; and Long Bay School.
Following the national anthem, pledge and the opening prayer, Huel Moss, District Education Officer (DEO), gave the welcome address. He described the day as an historical day for the Department of Education as they designated the month of February as CTE month in the district and country wide. The month kicked off with a service at Lifegate Christian Ministries International in Blackwood.
“Up to 15 percent of students end up in a CTE field like business, agriculture, or Tourism and hospitality,” Moss explained. “A CTE career is the backbone of our economy.”
Traditionally, the schools offering CTE programs host their own in-school activities, but this was the first time they offered it to the public bringing all participating schools together for one big exhibition.
Moss went on to acknowledge the presence of Parliamentary Secretary Renardo Curry and District Superintendent Dr. Lenora Black along with various heads of departments and their partners in CTE. Special thanks were extended to Teachers Agatha Simms and Chavonne Reid; Lovely Reckley; Pastor Lennie Etienne; Ministry of Works; Full Gospel Assembly; Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC); and the Department of Agriculture.
Next, students from S.C. Bootle came forward to share the impact of CTE in their school. The students represented being an artist, dressmaker, veterinarian, accountant and chef.
In his remarks, Renardo Curry complimented the students on their work adding that the CTE programs would equip them for opportunities outside of The Bahamas and their knowledge and skills would help to diversify our economy.
Dr. Lenora Black brought closing remarks. She noted that Abaco students have received 100 percent passes at the BJC and BGCSE level in CTE subjects, and they lead the way with grades ranging from A to C passes. Additionally, statistics show that more than 60 percent of students who leave school end up in a CTE career.
“These students have the skills and capacity to do well – they are skilled with their hands and they are good thinkers,” Dr. Black observed. “They have the opportunity to excel in an area which they are comfortable with and can enjoy.
“Today serves as an opportunity for them to take their skills and what they have learned in their courses to the public.”
Dr. Black ended her remarks by declaring the event officially opened. Those in attendance immediately began to browse each exhibition. Among those was a display of pineapple plants grown by Long Bay students who are taught agriculture by Farmer Lennie Etienne.
The Agriculture Program has been offered for about two years at the school, and the students also grow sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions and cabbages. Long Bay student Sierra Thurston was excited to be a part of the program, and being able to watch the plants grow. Jean-Mark D’Haiti explained that he liked the idea of growing his own food because we import so much food into the country. Another Long Bay student, Durene Etienne, shared his concern on food security.
“The Agriculture Program teaches students to grow their own food, so if we can’t get food, we can grow our own food and supply our homes and the stores with food,” Durene commented.
Across from Long Bay was St. Francis de Sales’ exhibition, which highlighted “Promoting Tourism in The Bahamas.” Many of the students were enrolled in Commerce, and would like to see more CTE related programs offered at their school.
Commerce student Marbria Wilmore is interested in a career in marketing, while Crisel Clarke has her sights set on cosmetology and becoming an entrepreneur. Meanwhile, Tavashane Whyley expressed that she wants to become a fashion designer and cosmetologist. St. Francis’ exhibition also displayed an impressive collection of art work that past students had submitted for their BGCSE coursework.
S.C. Bootle students had one of the largest exhibitions. Students can choose from Agricultural Science, Clothing Construction, Art and Craft, Food and Nutrition, Business or Carpentry programs. In a similar fashion, Abaco Central offers Carpentry and Joinery, Technical Drawing, Clothing Construction, Cosmetology, Keyboarding and Office Procedure classes to students. The Abaco Central High Cooperative Credit Union were also present with snacks on sale.
BEC and the Department of Agriculture also had exhibitions with employees on hand to explain the services they offer to the community.
New to the scene, Bradley Randy Russell, one of Abaco’s newest artisans, displayed an innovative collection of cross pendants made with sand, and conch shells carved into sailboats, a candle holder and a toothpaste and soap holder. Russell’s beautifully crafted coasters featured native scenes of Abaco with the Abaco Rage, Elbow Reef Lighthouse and the Abaco Parrot.