Fourth batch of Cuban Students graduates


Fourth batch of Cuban Students graduates

Sunday August 12 2007

by ZIA

They are all smiles. It is a cool evening, the room is not filled to capacity, not even half, and for the fouth year in a row, there are no Ministry of Education officials present for the occasion.

In lieu of this, the 11 handsomely dressed men and women sitting to the top right of the Tim O’Riley Auditorium and smiling and laughing among themselves, relishing in the presence of their families, friends and the past and present Cuban scholarship students who have turned up to congratulate the lot for their accomplishment – successfully completing their tenure in Cuba from anywhere between five and seven years.

Beginning with Antigua’s national anthem, sung by Laila Hampson, the members of the Antigua and Barbuda Association of Cuban University Students (ABACUS)held its mock graduation ceremony where the graduates were awarded for their academic acheivements in their respective fields.

The association has organised and held the ceremony for the past four years.

For many parents, going to Cuba to attend their children’s graduation is not an option. To share the pride of the moment with their parents, ABACUS organised the mock graduation to give parents the chance to hear their children’s achievements, both socially and academically, while in Cuba, and relish the few seconds of fame when their son or daughter walks up to the podium to accept his/her certificate.

It was four years ago that the first batch of students held its ceremony at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre at Perry Bay, where disappointingly, no official, not even the guest speaker, was present to congratulate the students.

In the years since, two ceremonies were held at the Barrymore Hotel, now the Palms Restaurant. Two nights ago, the Spring Gardens Moravian Church offered its sentiment of congratulation to the students by offering the use of the Tim O’Riley Auditorium, complete with the PA system.

Although the ministry officials were missing in action, yet again, guest speaker Chet Greene spoke of the special pride, and sense of achievement each student should feel, having been granted the opportunity to study in Cuba. Making them more humble, proud and stronger individuals, he encouraged them to continue pursuing their studies.

This year, a total of 21 students graduated from various universities in Cuba. Of the 21 however, only 11 were present to attend the ceremony as eight, all doctors, and two who pursued their masters, were still in Cuba awaiting their official documents.

The following graduates present graduated with their bachelor degrees: Mauricia Bowers –Accounting and Finance; Alanzo Jack – Electrical Engineering (the first Cuban scholarship graduate in this field); Kendra George – Psychology; Seyrone Colbourne – Civil Engineer; Khari Lewis – Architecture; Tracelyn John – Economics (the first Cuban scholarship graduate in this field), Keston Bailey – Physical Education; and Myron Johnson – Agronomy.

Two graduates present received the opportunity to pursue their masters, and thus returned home seven years later. Karim Jarvis now holds a masters in Managerial Accounting, and Trecia Morgan holds a masters in Accounting.

Although there are several doctors in this batch of graduates, only Dr. Adama Francis was fortunate to arrive home in time to attend the ceremony. Speaking on behalf of the students who will be left to follow in Dr. Francis’ and her fellow graduates’ shoes, medical student Alaphea Stevens gave a very emotional speech, expressing her gratitude to Dr. Francis and the others who helped her and other new comers in the field of medicine to survive their first few years in Cuba. On the verge of tears, a warm embrace was exchanged between Stevens and Dr. Francis.

The other doctors who were unable to attend the ceremony are: Dr. Anique Matthew; Dr. Sekeena Goodwin; Dr. Maurice Joseph; Dr. Damien Gordon; Dr. Karisha Burton; Dr. Cheryl Henry; and Dr. Daryen Ephraim.

Although he is still in Cuba awaiting his final documents, special mention was made on his behalf for achieving the top scholarly award in Cuba. For the best academic achievement, of all the Cuban students, Dr. Daryen Ephraim was presented with the Golden Tie award by President Fidel Castro. He is the first Caribbean student to achieve this honour.

Speaking on his behalf, his parents were elated with their son’s achievement. All smiles, they were only sorry that he could not have returned in time for the ceremony.

Presenting the students with their certificates was the Cuban Ambassador Dr. Pedro Alphanso.

The plaques and prizes for the evening were made possible by contributions from both Going Places Travel Agency and Suntours Caribbean Ltd.

Antigua Sun
It was four years ago that the first batch of students held its ceremony at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre at Perry Bay, where disappointingly, no official, not even the guest speaker, was present to congratulate the students. AD0-E103 dumps