Charlestown-Nevis-It was a historic occasion and one to be savoured. On Thursday 16th July the graduation ceremony for the inaugural seniors’ basic computer course took place at the Nevis Credit Union’s conference room, at Chapel Street.
The event was ably chaired by Education officer, Mrs. Adina Taylor whose brain child it was for the seniors to be taught basic computer skills.
In her opening remarks she noted that after coming up with the idea, she contacted the Coordinator of the Seniors’ division, Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson and she immediately agreed. She however stated that there were times when she wondered if it was indeed a good idea but she was encouraged by the enthusiasm and zeal of the seniors who participated in the course.
The invocation was delivered by Miss Carmen Brookes and the scripture reading was done by Ms Nolan.
Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson warmly welcomed all present and then Mrs. Mary Herbert then delivered a poem in her unique classical fashion.
In giving an overview of the course, one of the two facilitators, Mr. Laurence Richards, acknowledged the significant contributions of his fellow facilitator, Miss Julian Paris. He pointed out that his interaction with the seniors proved to be beneficial and full of fun.
‘They may not be able to sit and pass the computer course at CXC level but they have the basic knowledge now,’ he stated. He indicated that they were taught to turn on and shut down the computer, taught basic computer terms; the use of Microsoft word; use of the internet; how to use google; given Gmail accounts and Facebook accounts.
He also shared some of the definitions given by the seniors in the early stages of the course which created much laughter. Words such as MOUSE; RAM and CURSOR served to create much hilarity.
He noted that they started the course at the computer room belonging to the Nevis International Secondary School at Brown Pasture and fittingly climaxed at the UWI Campus. He also thanked Headmistress Joy Napier, her staff and students for their kind assistance.
The response by the seniors was eloquently delivered by Miss Ionie Swanston. Her speech was one of the highlights of the event.
She thanked all of the individuals and institutions who served to make the course a reality and had high praise for the patience and skills of the two main facilitators. She referred to the group as the YOUNG ADULTS and hinted to Minister Brandy –Williams who was present, that the seniors would like some assistance in acquiring their own computers.
Ag Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Miss D. Michelle Liburd delivered the feature address and firstly revealed that one of the proud graduates, Mrs. Mary Herbert was celebrating her 81st birthday on that same day.
She then took time out to thank the Ministry of Education officials who initiated and facilitated the course and congratulated the participants for enduring to the end.
She stated: ‘There is a brand new world out there in cyberspace. Your grand children live there.’
She continued: “Don’t be complacent; don’t be intimidated. Drink your fill of cyber juices.
Get your own computer and practice and interact with the world.’
Another well received poem was delivered by Ms Mildred Tyson and then Hon Hazel Brandy –Williams, Minister responsible for Social Development, delivered brief remarks. She too thanked the Education Department officials for their significant contributions in making the course a reality and stated that she had received emails from some of the participants who had pleasantly surprised her by even downloading her picture and attaching it to the message sent. She opined that they would be able to pass the subject at the CXC level.
She indicated that the Nevis Island Administration will continue to assist the seniors in every way possible and revealed that a similar course will commence in the St.James’ Parish in September, for seniors in that area.
She also revealed that the NIA is in the process of negotiating with local providers for concessionary rates on computers for the seniors and further stated that negotiations are also being conducted with LIME for similar concessionary rates on internet service for the seniors. This news was received with much applause.
She then proceeded to hand out the certificates to the thirteen beaming graduates.
Special presentations of gift baskets were also made by the seniors to the facilitators of the course and to the two bus drivers who drove the participants to and from the course.
Ms Ruth Thompson delivered the vote of thanks and the proud graduates posed for photos with the dignitaries present and it was revealed that those photos will shortly be uploaded to their Facebook page.