The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

ACC Award Recipients

“Every Step Counts” was the theme for last Thursday’s recognition ceremony that marked the achievements of some sixty-five students who excelled in studying short courses at the Anguilla Community College (ACC). For them, February 17, 2022 would go down in history as one remarkable day.

In total, one 114 Certificates of Achievement were issued. And though the countenances of the recipients were virtually obscured behind the Covid-19 protective masks, it was evident that each student demonstrated an attitude of pride and joy for his or her noble accomplishments.
During the opening of the ceremony, after Michael “Dumpa” Martin had rendered the National Anthem and the National Song on his steel-pans, the striking performance of Levonda Delany captured the hearts of the audience as she melodiously sang the ACC Song, “We Are the ACC”.

For the sake of ACC’s virtues and the benefits which it provides for personal and professional development, it would be appropriate to quote a few lines of the song: And we shall never lose our focus; That spirit, intellect and purpose; It is an honour to work together, serving our community; Yes we aspire to shape the future; We salute the ACC. From all walks of life we gather with one aim and one agenda; Yea we stand ready to conquer—to fashion our future; Our motivation and dedication to realise in our vision; We stand ready, equipped for duty; Yes we are the ACC.”

A substantive Prayer of Invocation was offered by Bishop Samuel Daniels. He thanked God for the direction in which He had led the students, as well as for the wisdom He had imparted to them through their lecturers. In part, he prayed: “Oh Holy Father, Creator and source of all wisdom, we humbly give you thanks and praise for our gathering here today. We thank you for the support and love of parents and families. We praise you for the years of learning shared here at the Anguilla Community College. For the wisdom that has been acquired and the growth we have experienced through lectures, mentors, staff and one another. Lord, please send your blessings on us as we honour these students whose curiosity, diligence and scholarship have brought them honour and success.”

The Chairman of the proceedings, in the person of the Honourable Jose Vanterpool, was introduced by the institution’s Registrar, Ms. Carla Harris. As a former student of the ACC himself, Mr. Vanterpool had much praise and compliments, not only for the achieving students, but also for the diligent work and service of the management, staff and faculty of his alma mater, which had done him proud during his formative years of education there.

He referred to the school song, and gave due compliments to Levonda Delany for doing such a stellar rendering of it. “Every time I would hear that song,” he claimed, “it inspires within me a pride to know that I am a past product of this school…The ACC is an institution that would have set that solid foundation which would have been built upon later through my life’s experiences and further educational studies. It was the foundation that was laid at this institution which helped to build and mold me into the person that I am today, and for that I would be forever grateful.”

Deputy Chairperson of the of the ACC’s Board of Governors, Ms. Avern Gumbs, described the ACC’s mission as becoming a leading institution in the region that promotes quality teaching and passionate learning in an ever-changing global environment. In line with the theme, she remarked: “The ACC understands the value of every step. We have vowed to cater to the needs of the community through the delivery of an array of high quality programmes and services in an environment which promotes innovation, open access and lifelong learning. We empower students through the acquisition of skills, knowledge and values so that they would be in a position to contribute meaningfully to the development of Anguilla, the region and the world.”

She outlined three steps, which she deemed essential for every major step taken in life. “

The first step is to conceptualise your vision for your tasks,” she said “and to understand the significance of that vision. The second step is to prepare for the task, and the third step is to fully execute that task.” “Valuing each of these three steps,” she stressed, “is necessary in order to fulfill life’s major steps.”

One of the evening’s recipients of academic recognition was Ms. Kara Gumbs who had launched out into her own business venture which was, to a large extent, due to the knowledge and skills she acquired at the ACC. In her opening statement, Ms. Gumbs boldly declared that the ACC is ON THE MOVE and drew attention to the effort which the institution had made to hold a ceremony for the short-course achievers.

“I am here today to remind you that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one single step,” she declared, “according to the famous Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. With each step, there might come fear, failure, frustration, disappointment, hardship, tears, set-backs, step-backs, and even the temptation to quit.”

Ms. Gumbs then explained her journey in taking ten short courses at the ACC which helped to groom her for her new career. “A few weeks ago, on February 5th, I officially launched my new business, ‘K’s Professional Services’. That was a huge step for me, but it was not taken overnight. It started with many steps — some big, some small, some even made me stumble and fall. But I refused to stop stepping. See, perseverance is the art of winning, and it is the biggest and most important step to take. I always kept moving through perseverance.

“At the ACC, my first step was to sign up for a course in Supervisory Management. I knew I wanted to own my business some day, and I knew that I would be required to supervise my staff. I did not have a degree, so I took the simple step toward being successful in this course.

“The importance of this course was to understand how to manage emotions, people, situations, time and resources. This connected to my next step, which was a course in Human Relations. This was an important step, since every day we work with people of different backgrounds, including their cultures and attitudes. So it is important to try to understand each individual and adjust my leadership style to suit.”

Ms. Gumbs proceeded to take the audience on a personal journey of steps she had taken leading up to her becoming a business woman. She testified that she took the essential step of an Events Planning and Management course for her career, as well as stepping into the area of Hotel Reception and Sales. This enabled her to understand the environment around her workplace. And, in order to cope with conflicts on the job, she did a course in Communication for Professional Conflict Resolution as a fifth beneficial step. In addition, she took another step when she took a course in Fundamentals of Accounting.

Her seventh step was to enroll for a course in Wine and Spirits Education. She also stepped into Applied Information Technology for the Hospitality Industry as a course that would sharpen her computer-related skills. Besides, she took yet another bold step in enrolling in a Marketing course that would enable her to sell herself in her profession. Her final step was to take a course in becoming a Certified Hospitality Department Trainer. This step she took, as she puts it, was “in order to help the people around me to grow.” “It is also good to have knowledge,” she affirms, “but it is always better to pass it on.”
Congratulations are in order for the lone female, Ms. Tangiera Huggins, who took two bold steps in her sphere of knowledge, and was honoured for her hard work with a Certificate in Electrical Installation and another in the field of Carpentry, both of which form part of the broader Construction Studies programme.

Prior to issuing the Certificates, ACC’s Dean of Studies, Dr. Michelle Queeley, noted: “Great things are indeed happening at the Anguilla Community College. This evening we will issue 114 Certificates of Achievement to persons who undertook short courses in a diverse range of areas within the period February 2021 to February 2022.”
“This is not a graduation ceremony,” she remarked, “but rather, it is an evening for short-course takers to shine. Let me, therefore, join with those speakers who went before me to congratulate all of you.”
Following the issuing of the Certificates, Ms. Sandra Gumbs wonderfully sang Jordin Sparks’ song “This is My Now”, and then the Vote of Thanks was delivered by one of the Certificate achievers, Ms. Navadeen Campbell.

The Anguillian newspaper heartily congratulates all the Certificate recipients who were recognized for their achievements.