The 114-strong St. Augustine’s College (SAC) senior class maintained the required average to earn a diploma, with 56 students graduating with honors during a virtual ceremony for the Class of 2021 over the weekend.
Sonja Knowles, SAC principal, told the students they were to be “congratulated” for their accomplishment as she encouraged them to choose wisely in their many academic and life decisions they will now have to make in the next chapter of their life.
“Start each day as you have for the past six years with a prayer giving God thanks, and asking His guidance in your daily activities,” said Knowles.
The class graduated under the theme they’ve had for the year “Persisting through Change” – the change, Knowles said, being the adjustment they all had to make, due to the pandemic, with the first case confirmed in The Bahamas in March 2020, which forced them all into unfamiliar territory with a different learning process.
“We completed that term and looked forward to returning to in-person learning in the 2020/2021 year, but this was not to be. This school year saw a new St. Augustine’s emerge as we rose to the challenge to educate students in a new learning environment.”
Knowles said as protocols and orders in the country changed, so did plans for education as they adjusted to starting school in the virtual platform.
Knowles reminded the graduates that students experienced some connection difficulties in the first term and she never thought she would hear students say “school needs to open”.
In-person learning for the class began on a rotation basis in February – a format that continued until May.
“If we think of the plans for this school year and what could have been, it will bring tears to your eyes,” said Knowles.
Class valedictorian Maya Tilberg challenged her fellow graduates to build positive relationships, to be the best person that they can be and to change the world for the better.
“Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with,” said Tilberg. “Make friends who will force you to be better.
“I know that you will all find some way to make an impact on those around you, whether it be by helping some clueless person sort out their life insurance or finding the solution to global warming. You can count on it that we will make our mark.”
She reminded her peers of what she said was one of the most important things they learned over the years, which was how to build relationships and rely on each other, and how they became a family.