The Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) Graduation Ceremony for Abaco cadets was held on June 14 at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church Hall.
Six students from S.C. Bootle High School made up the 2018 graduating class: Brianna Russell; Eulian DeGregory; Kennedy Curry; Keishon Daziel; Kurran Sands; and Vesi Ernest.
Serving as programme moderators, Cadets Kennedy Curry and Vesi Ernest took the lead. Once the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and the opening prayer were completed, Cadet Brianna Russell welcomed all in attendance.
Brief remarks were made by Principal Julian Rolle of S.C. Bootle High School. Rolle congratulated the graduates on their special moment noting that the celebration continues for the outstanding students of S.C. Bootle. He commended the coordinators of the BMCC programme and suggested that additional funding is needed to assist them with their work.
Rolle added that the programme indeed has its merits, and that he is confident that once the North Abaco Port opens, the students of Abaco will lead the way thanks to BMCC.
Cadet Eulian DeGregory had the pleasure of introducing Mackinson St. Fleur as the keynote speaker. Presently the harbour master at Great Abaco Resort and Boat Harbour Marina, life hasn’t always been smooth sailing for St. Fleur.
“Embarking on a journey of seafaring is not easy,” he confirmed. “I grew up in the Mudd, but I did not allow my environment and my circumstances to determine my future.
“I did not have the best, but I didn’t stop dreaming and believing in the will of God.”
With life being a “day-by-day, step-by-step experience,” St. Fleur advised the graduates to make short-term goals that will eventually lead to them accomplishing their dreams in the long-term.
He introduced a term to them that was given to him when he first started on his journey: stick-to-it-iveness.
“It is a word,” he expounded, “and it means to persevere and to keep pushing no matter what.”
After graduating from high school, St. Fleur had to wait two years to attend Holland College in Canada as he waited to receive his Bahamian citizenship. In that time, he recalled having doubts to the point where he cursed God.
Two weeks later, he received approval for his citizenship.
Ashamed, he fell to his knees and cried out to God begging his forgiveness.
“In the silence, God is working,” he realized. “It’s not only for your benefit, but for His glory – for His name’s sake. You cannot be fully successful without a relationship with God.”
St. Fleur emphasized how rewarding a career in the maritime industry is, and the joy of being out on the water.
“One day I am going to be one of the yacht owners; all of you have the capability of being great in the maritime field,” he concluded.
Presentations of graduation certificates were made to the cadets, including the 2018 Clyde Bethell Awards, which was presented to a visibly-shocked Kurran Sands. His mother was more emotional than him as she witnessed him receiving the award.
Meanwhile, Cadet Keishon Daziel closed out the graduation ceremony with the Vote of Thanks.
On Abaco, BMCC Instructors are Troy Mills, Christine Gibson and Rashida Murray.