Shone Nairn’s the alpha
Shone McKinley Nairn Jr. topped the field of 48 of the brightest high school male seniors to receive the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Iota Epsilon Lambda Chapter’s 32nd Honours Day Timothy B. Donaldson Valedictorian Award and a $6,000 scholarship, tenable at the university of his choice. The Queen’s College (QC) student scored highest on the general knowledge examination.
Liam Miller, an Anatol Rodgers High School student, was awarded the Dr. George H. Sherman Salutatorian Award and a $3,000 scholarship.
Luke Knowles, of N.G.M. Major High School in Deadman’s Cay, Long Island, was awarded the Holland G. Smith Family Scholar Award and a $2,000 scholarship.
“This honor means so much to me,” said Nairn, head boy at Queen’s College. “It truly opened my eyes to possibilities in terms of networking and the many possible ways I could further my education.”
McKinley, who says his objectives are to be the best student, to understand his courses to the best of his ability, to foster relationships that would enhance his scholastic experiences and to develop community awareness skill, plans to study environmental engineering at college – having had a change of heart from his earlier aspirations of the medical field.
“At first, I was going onto the medical track because I always liked science, but I sat down one day and I was like no – I don’t want to do this. But I always liked science, so the environmental side of things I really took a keen interest into.”
The 3.85 cumulative grade point average (GPA) student was exposed to environmental science through the AP Environmental Science class he takes at QC.
“I find the classes very engaging and very enlightening. I love the conversations they bring out,” said Nairn.
After being enlightened on the subject, the main problem he sees in the country is recycling.
“I’m totally lost when it comes to what we would do definitely as of now,” he said.
Nairn sat 11 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations in 11th grade, and has 10 Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) exams. He recorded six A grades in eighth grade, two A grades and one B grade for the exams he wrote in ninth grade and an A grade for an exam he took in 10th grade.
Active in his school community, Nairn is involved in the Rotary Interact Club, Key Club, Student Lighthouse Committee and Uniforms For All. He’s also a part of Junior Achievement.
The Honours Day program consisted of a weekend of activities, inclusive of a campus tour of the University of The Bahamas, a community project and team discussions relative to what each team considered to be the top three challenges facing The Bahamas and the solutions for the same.
Nairn said the weekend encompassed a lot of experiences which allowed him to interact with young men from different backgrounds and islands.
“It’s amazing to see how everyone there was very intelligent, very keen in what they did, and their interests, and it’s good to see that there are other young men like me, and all hope is not lost like how some people try to portray it,” he said.
Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), was the Honours Days Convocation guest speaker, and spoke to the young men about the importance of education and how it can be an equalizer to assist in moving the young men to higher heights, during a year when the theme was “Think College, Think Career”.
He encouraged them to help others as they were helped and to give back.
Lomax congratulated the honorees on their achievements, and told them to consider attending a historically black college or university (HBCU), while at the same time challenging them to do their best, regardless of what school they decided to attend.
He also spoke to the young men about the formation of the UNCF by Dr. Frederick Douglas Patterson in 1944 and the critical role it plays in assisting with the education of African Americans and the expansion of the program to also help others, inclusive of Bahamian students. And that what was once a vision is now a reality.
He told them that HBCUs play important roles in educating African Americans, and how they build the “whole person” – preparing them for the workplace and the world. He further spoke to the positive graduation rates and percentages of professionals produced by HBCUs.
Lomax invited the young men planning to attend a college/university in the United States to register with the UNCF and seek scholarships. He reminded them of the competition that is out there, and hence the need to be proactive and to “hustle” in order to move forward and to get scholarships that are available.
To those students going directly to the workforce, he encouraged them to do their best and to continue to learn.
Lomax also congratulated the men of Alpha Phi Alpha for the work they do in The Bahamas and their efforts to recognize and honor young men for the past 32 years.
The Convocation was established May 13, 1987 and designed to bring recognition to the top graduating high school males in the country for academic and scholastic excellence, and to serve as an impetus to encourage young men who are academically inclined to continue and not despair.
Since the initial Convocation, the program has grown in number and complexity. The fraternity has recognized over 1,865 graduating high school males, and has awarded over half-a-million dollars in scholarships and prizes since its inception.
Other honorees, awarded $1,000 each, were: Jervon Sands, St. Augustine’s College, engineering/architecture professional award; Khajzan Taylor, St. John’s College, commerce/entrepreneurs professional award; Basil Carter Jr., New Providence Classical School, health professionals award; Joshua Grant, Patrick J. Bethel High School, music/education/religion professional award; Rajiv Williams, Aquinas College, IT/technology/communications professional award; Nathan Heastie, St. Andrew’s School, legal professional/debater award; Jerron Rahming, C.R. Walker High School, accounting/banking/finance professional award; and Gianelle Miller, C.I. Gibson High School, government/civil servants/professional award.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.