All names have been changed as per our confidentiality agreement.
Graduated From: Government High School
Awards Received at Graduation: Academic Excellence, Computer Studies, the Felice Jones Business Award
Honorable Mention: Mathematics, Economics, Accounts and Bookkeeping
Clubs Associated with at School: Junior Achievement, Business Club
BGCSE Examinations Passed: Mathematics, English, Biology, Accounts, Geography
Currently: Enrolled at the University of The Bahamas on a scholarship
Graduated From: C. I. Gibson High School
Awards Received at Graduation: Academic Excellence, Clothing Construction, Food & Nutrition, English Language
BGCSE Examinations Passed: Clothing Construction, Food & Nutrition, English Language, Biology
Currently: Working at VIP on Nassau Street
Attended: C.V. Bethel High School
Awards Received: Academic Excellence, English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Computer Science, Electrical Installation, Graphical Communication.
Clubs Associated with at School: Teacher’s Cadets.
BGCSE Examinations Passed: English, Mathematics, Graphical Communication, Geography, Electrical Installation
Post-Secondary Education: California Maritime Academy (2005-2009), Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Graduated From: C. V. Bethel Senior High School
Awards Received at Graduation: Academic Excellence, Spanish, Chemistry, English Language, Mathematics
Special Mention: C. V. Bethel Senior High School Prom Queen
BGCSE Examinations Passed: English Language, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, Combined Science
Currently: Enrolled at the University of The Bahamas
Graduated From: Government High School
Awards Received at Graduation: Academic Excellence, Music, Art, Religious Studies Special Awards: Perseverance, Strong Woman Sports Award
Special Mention: Government High School Prom Queen
Clubs/Teams Associated with in School: Band, Softball, Volleyball, Track and Field
Clubs Associated with Outside of School: Ladies of Essence, Farm Road Marching Band
Graduated From: C. I. Gibson High School
Awards Received at Graduation: Academic Excellence, English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Office Procedures, Family Life
Honorable Mention: Honor Roll
Clubs Associated with in School: Interact Club
Currently: Enrolled at The University of The Bahamas
Clubs Associated With at School: Student Christian Movement, Choir, Interact Club, Rangers, Book Club, Art Club
BGCSE Examinations Passed: Food & Nutrition, Religious Knowledge, English Language, Craft, English Literature, Clothing & Construction and Art.
Currently: Attends the University of The Bahamas, pursuing Journalism and Psychology
Awards Received at Graduation: Biology, Auto
BGCSE Examinations Passed: Mathematics, English Language, Economics, English Literature and Graphic Communications
Currently: Attends Sojourner-Douglas College, pursuing Accounting and Administration.
Letters from PACE Students
“Being a teenager and pregnant isn’t anything to brag about, but in life everyone makes mistakes. I attended Doris Johnson and then transferred to C. V. Bethel Senior High, thanks to the PACE Programme which allowed me to finish my education. I was in the tenth grade when I realized that I was pregnant. It didn’t dawn on me right away that I had missed a period. One day we were in Language class and we had a free period, I began to think about everything that had happened and I began to feel sick. I thought it was my period, but I remembered that I had not seen it the previous month. That is when I began to worry and decided to wait until the month had ended, but nothing happened. It was then that I knew that I was pregnant.
It was 3-4 months later when I decided to tell my mother. She was extremely upset and disappointed, not only because I was pregnant, but because of the time I told her. After I told her, it seemed like everyone else in the family knew. My family was very supportive of the fact that I was pregnant, but no one expected me of all people to get pregnant. While I was pregnant, everyone around me was becoming extremely annoying but I knew it was for me and my baby’s wellbeing. Things that I wanted were no longer an option, but the things that I needed were always at hand. I couldn’t stay out when I wanted or wear what I wanted, sleep or bathe how I wanted, but most of all I could not eat what I wanted. I can’t tell you about the morning sickness, strange cravings or the pain from contractions because I didn’t experience any of that. The skin breakouts, ugly stretch marks, and feeling miserable all the time were worse than the other symptoms.
The hardest part of my experience of being pregnant was going to school at the PACE Programme. At the time, school was never my “cup of tea” so if I didn’t feel like going I wouldn’t; but being in PACE I had to. The PACE Programme was a great experience for me because I got to meet other girls who were in the same situation, also I got to hear their stories about their pregnancies and how they got where they were.
From being taught what to expect from your baby and how to respond to it, to how to be a good mother and why you should be one were some of the major advantages of going to the PACE Programme. At PACE we would have regular classes, activities, and also field trips. We were planning on going to the movies for a class field trip on October 18th, 2007. The morning of the field trip I got up extra early to head to school, not knowing I wasn’t going anywhere. The night before I was feeling some extremely painful aches but I did not put much thought into it because I knew that I wasn’t due until December. As I continued to get ready for school my mother knocked on my door and as I opened it I realized there was blood on the floor. My mother quickly called the ambulance as I tried to put some clothes on. At this point I didn’t know if I was scared because I thought something was wrong, happy because I knew she was coming, or upset to know that I would miss my school field trip. When we finally got to the hospital they examined me. They told me that I had an eruption – that’s when the placenta is separated from the uterine line, meaning my baby wasn’t getting any oxygen or nutrients so they had to do an emergency C-section.
Now that my baby was here, I was prepared for the late night hours and early mornings, the excessive crying, the extremely nasty smelling Pampers, the tummy aches, the teething aches, the puking, bathing, the grabbing, and the getting peed on. There were nights when I didn’t sleep at all and had to go to school the next morning, hoping for a free period so that I could sleep. I had to come straight home from school to deal with the crying and puking, no phone, no time for texting, no TV, no computer and hardly no time for homework. I would have to go to school earlier to try and finish my homework I had the day before. There were days I went to school with no lunch money because there were things she needed, there were days I couldn’t even bathe because she wouldn’t allow me to; and then there were days I just wanted to pull out my hair because I had to deal with her, my 5 year old sister, and 8 year old brother because my mother had to go to work. As she got older, things started to get easier.
Although I’m still in the process of learning how to deal with her and how to discipline her, I thank God for her and for giving me the strength to get through this experience; also for the support I receive from my family, my church family, and the few true friends He has placed in my life.”
“Reflecting on the dream! As a teenager, I had many dreams and great ambitions. I desired to accomplish endless possibilities. I searched for the inner me to carry on. I was much more than just a being, I was a superstar! A superstar, who had yet to unleash my full potential. These thoughts were deemed the good old days. These were the days when I had nothing to worry or complain about.
Unfortunately by the first semester of grade 10 I forgot my dreams, and became promiscuous. This act, I now view as a curse that plagues my family. My self-esteem and self-worth became low. I thought nothing of myself. I was no longer a superstar, instead I was a negative role model. I was warned to pursue excellence and I did not heed. I ignored the many warnings and went on my merry way. This action was not necessarily in my best interest. I was forced to accept the consequences of my action. My choice made me reflect on the old dictums which state “Hard head bird don’t make good soup!” and “When you don’t listen you’ll feel”.
During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I had an increased desire for sleep and craved grits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I did not think anything of my increase in appetite; neither did I notice that I was putting on weight every day. I denied the fact that I might be pregnant! When I discovered that I was pregnant, everything started to go insane! My family thought less of me, people started to criticize me, and I became ashamed to walk the street because I did not want to be jeered at. Luckily one cool breezy morning I was sent to the Adolescent Health clinic. While standing on the line I met a meditative young woman named Mrs. Jackie Knowles. She was very cordial and had an enlightened shine upon her face as if her day was good, and in full speed. Having observed a baby in my vicinity she inquired if the baby was mine. I said no. I continued in a voice filled with shame, “At least not yet!”. She then asked again if I was going to enroll at PACE. Still confused, I agreed with uncertainty. After our conversation, she skipped off on the yellow brick road on her merry way.
Accepting the invitation by Mrs. Knowles, I made a conscious decision to enroll in PACE. I was excited! I viewed it as an opportunity to once again pursue an academic education and become a superstar. I challenged myself to use this opportunity to show the world that although I became a teen mother, I still could achieve! I spoke to myself. I told myself: Self, stop playing around and start working. Work towards your goals of becoming a notable medical doctor. The environment at PACE was indeed heartwarming and supportive. Every day I felt more at peace. I began to regularly sit and reflect about the goals I had to accomplish, and set standards to achieve. I realized that school was important, and that I must make a conscious effort to attend school. I came to school every day, no matter what! I did not want to miss anything, because every day was filled with learning. Like Mrs. Knowles would say, if you feel bad, if you’re sick, or you’re dying come to PACE and she’ll carry you to the morgue, because if you are present you will learn.
While at PACE, I learned things I never knew before. I learned how to be a mother, how to breastfeed, and how to live at peace with my fellow classmates. Having been a teen mother herself, Mrs. Knowles challenged us that pregnancy is not the end of life. Instead it is simply an obstacle that we cross and can learn from. She motivated my classmates and I because she is a notable educator, whose humble beginnings were just like our own. She challenged us that we should reach for the stars, and press forward as we embark on future endeavors.
The faculty, staff, and volunteers at PACE were polite and firm. I can recall Ms. Dumont with her expression that highlights she means business, and Mrs. Johnson always being jolly. Ms. Sears taught mathematics, and techniques of being a young lady. Dr. Thompson taught facts related to religious studies and civics. Ms. Horton often challenged us to make wise decisions. Mrs. Newry taught us craft, and often shared wisdom that will be beneficial to us in our daily lives. The volunteers were insightful and presented on topics that challenged us to dream big and pursue our dreams.
Overall, my time at PACE helped me develop a positive self-esteem and increased my desire to get an education. I learned vast information about motherhood and how to be a responsible mother. I will be forever grateful for the experience I had, and the knowledge I gained at PACE that would have a positive impact on my life. I challenge my fellow teen mothers, and guests present, to remember your dreams, follow your dreams and achieve your dreams.”