For the second consecutive year, a graduate of St. Augustine’s College (SAC) has been awarded the most prestigious national award meted out to a Bahamian candidate – the All Bahamas Merit Scholarship (ABMS). Alexis Godet, 17, a freshman at the University of South Florida (USF), was awarded the $140,000 scholarship.
She said it was an affirmation of the hours she put in and that the sacrifices she made were worth it. She described it as “extremely fulfilling” as she worked hard during her six years of high school.
Godet received the highest score of 97.2 percent during the ABM (All Bahamas Merit) selection process. She finished high school with a 3.99 grade point average (GPA), scored 1,400 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), and passed 11 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams with A grades.
“For me, being named the top high school scholar in The Bahamas was not important,” said the USF freshman. “Rather, all my hard work and perseverance being rewarded is what mattered most. The scholarship is what further fuels my drive to continue excelling and achieving in college and all that lies beyond,” said Godet, who was also the valedictorian of her class.
The scholarship covers her tuition and fees to the penny for her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and music performance in classical violin, which she is grateful for.
“To me, education is important because it equips one with the tools they will need to succeed in the world. Oftentimes, we do not consider the more nuanced skills that we learn from school, such as critical thinking, time management and social skills. These abilities are invaluable when it comes to success.”
The teen said she believes education gives a person’s life direction.
“With [education], we are presented with opportunities that might not have presented themselves if we didn’t have that degree or diploma; I like to think of it as a bridge that connects various paths. Without that bridge, the access that we have to those pathways are lost and we cannot reach those opportunities. Therefore, education is paramount for opening our lives up to new experiences, new places, self-fulfillment, success, and so many other things.”
Godet, who was exposed to engineering through participation in the Doctors Hospital Bridge to the Future STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, said she loved it, and made the decision to pursue it as a career path.
She is taking time adjusting to life on the massive campus; it takes her more than 10 minutes to walk to most of her classes. But she finds the facilities “incredible”.
“What I enjoy most is the music building – it is equipped with many practice rooms, ensemble rooms and practice halls. I always feel inspired and excited to practice when I walk in there. The chemistry lab is also state of the art, and I am looking forward to my experiments.”
Her former schoolmate, Kobe Forbes, the SAC salutatorian, received the second highest scoring at 95.8 percent and was awarded the ABMS runner-up and the $100,000 award. He is pursuing studies in computer and physics engineering at Saint John’s University.
Forbes graduated with a 4.00 GPA, scored 1,430 on the SAT and passed nine BGCSEs with A grades.
Fourteen were awarded with the National Merit Scholarship valued at $80,000 each – six Queen’s College (QC) graduates; three SAC graduates; and one graduate each from Aquinas College, Bahamas Academy (BA), Bishop Michael Eldon School )(BMES), Genesis Academy and Kingsway Academy (KA).
Queen’s College (QC) graduate Danielle Bonimy enrolled at Oral Roberts University as a nursing major. She graduated with a 3.97 GPA, scored 1,240 on the SAT and passed nine BGCSE’s with A grades.
A. Kristin-Grace Braynen, a student at USF, majoring in computer engineering, graduated QC with a 4.14 GPA, scored 1,360 on the SAT and passed 10 BGCSE’s with A grades.
Shakinah Clarke, who enrolled at University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she is majoring in civil engineering, graduated SAC with a 3.93 GPA, scored 1,220 on the SAT and passed 10 BGCSE’s with A grades.
Andrew Coley attends Florida International University where he is majoring in electrical engineering. He graduated KA with a 4.06 GPA, scored 1,540 on the SAT and passed eight BGCSE’s with A grades.
Yannik Gibson, a graduate of BA, is studying biomedical science at La Sierra University. He graduated with a 3.80 GPA, scored 1,340 on the SAT and passed nine BGCSE’s with A grades.
Aaliyah Harrison-Brennen, who is studying molecular biology at University of the West Indies (UWI), graduated QC with a 4.19 GPA, scored 1,350 on the SAT and passed 10 BGCSE’s with A grades.
SAC graduate Jenovia Higgs, who is enrolled at Lincoln University, where she will pursue studies in accounting, graduated with a 3.94 GPA, scored 1,270 on the SAT and passed eight BGCSE’s.
Christopher Knowles, a QC graduate, is enrolled at University of Miami, where he is on the pre-med track. He graduated with a 3.91 GPA, scored 1,270 on the SAT and passed 13 BGCSE’s with A grades.
Kageon Neilly, a QC graduate, is enrolled at Saint Leo University, where he is pursuing studies in biomedical science. He graduated with a 4.20 GPA, scored 1,260 on the SAT and passed 11 BGCSE’s with A grades.
Jee’Von Pratt, a SAC graduate, attends Howard University, where he is pursuing medical engineering studies. He graduated with a 3.96 GPA, scored 1,420 on the SAT and passed nine BGCSE’s.
T’Ronn Strapp, a graduate of Aquinas College, has enrolled at New York Institute of Technology to study mechanical engineering. He graduated with a 3.92 GPA, scored 1,260 on the SAT and passed nine BGCSE’s with A grades.
Devin Cuffy-Bethel, a graduate of QC, enrolled at Beloit College, where she will major in biochemistry. She graduated with a 3.94 GPA, scored 1,290 on the SAT and passed seven BGCSE’s with A grades.
Mary Edomwonyi, a graduate of BMES, is enrolled at UWI, where she is studying chemistry. She graduated with a 3.70 GPA, scored 1,380 on the SAT and passed seven BGCSE’s with A grades.
Genesis Academy graduate Yoshi Moxey enrolled at Dalhousie University to pursue studies in actuarial sciences. She graduated with a 3.89 GPA, scored 1,300 on the SAT and passed seven BGCSE’s with A grades.
In total, the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training meted out 575 academic and technical awards valued at approximately $5 million through the Scholarship and Educational Loan Division – one ABMS, one ABMS runner-up, 14 National Merit Scholarships, 423 National Tuition Assistance Scholarships (including Technical Awards), 119 Public School Scholars Programme Scholarships, nine National Academic Scholarships, five Organization of American States Scholarships, and three Gerace Research Centre Scholarships.
The value of the awards ranged from $4,000 per year to $35,000 per year.