Celebrating school’s early success stories
CedarBridge Academy has formed an alumni association aimed at creating a legacy of which students past and present can be proud.
The chair of the newly-formed association is Kyjuan Brown, the first CedarBridge student to become a medical doctor.
The 30-year-old graduated from the school in its first year, 1998.
Dr Brown only spent a year at CedarBridge but credits the school for the academic success he has enjoyed.
“I applaud CedarBridge so much because even though it was just one year of education for me, it afforded me an opportunity to become who I am,” he said.
“I was originally at Northlands Secondary and Northlands, at that time, didn’t have a lot of the prerequisite classes necessary to get an immediate entry into a college-level programme. The system changed and we [students] were forced to move but it worked to my benefit because when I was at CedarBridge I was able to get the necessary classes that landed me into a college or university of my choice without much problems.”
Dr Brown works as a Family Practitioner at Hope Health Care and runs his own business. Ultra Concepts Group of Companies is an outsourcing service provider developed to respond to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, locally and abroad. It has offices here, in St Lucia and India.
Dr Brown is also chairman of the TCD Medical Reference Committee, medical consultant to the Mental Health Review Tribunal and is PLP branch chairman for Pembroke South East.
Giving something back to his former school wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“CedarBridge is near and dear to my heart and the formation of the alumni association is something that needs to happen,” he said.
“What I see happening with the alumni association is having an annual series of events and giving the alumni who want to give back the opportunity to give back. We have a Facebook page and there are about 237 people who have joined the Facebook page.”
Despite his accomplishments since high school, Dr Brown insists he wasn’t one of the top students in his class. In fact, he worked hard to overcome his weaknesses in some subjects, including a reading impediment.
“I was never the one in the class getting the As or Bs, I was an average student until my later years in high school,” he said.
Support of family was also important for Dr Brown, who is part of the Burgess family in Hamilton Parish.
“One thing my mom [Dawnette] always told me was ‘you’re going to be somebody, you’re going to go somewhere’. That’s all she had to say for that to resonate home.
“The other lightbulb moment was going to work with my father [Hilton] as a plumber during summers. I was lifting block, mixing concrete and had my hand down people’s toilets and through that I learned not to look down on those guys in these professions but I knew the sun and outside was not for me.”
He also decided at an early age that he wanted to be a doctor and held onto that dream.
“Once you have a dream you have to have an action plan to get there,” he said. “My family worked hard and sacrificed to afford me the opportunity to go to university.”
According to Dr Brown, there are many other former CedarBridge student equally deserving of recognition for their achievements teachers Jekon Edness, ShaeVonne Simmons, Shardae Whitter and Althea Emery; attorney Melissa Looby; Allure Beauty Salon owner Tosha DeVent; gospel singer Tricray Astwood; Bermuda Idol winner Larrita Adderley and chartered accountant Dexter Basden.
The school begins its 15th anniversary celebrations with a homecoming convocation on Wednesday. A homecoming party is planned for Friday and a concert is planned for June 3. Together, the events are aimed to recognise the achievements of former students.
“We just formed the CedarBridge Alumni Association after 15 years and are having a series of events coming up this week,” said Dr Brown, a member of the school board.
Rev Eldridge Burrows will serve as the guest speaker at Wednesday’s convocation. The ceremony will honour successful graduates including Jereme Ramsay, Nicole Brockington and Temar Richards.
Mr Ramsay has an MBA from the University of Liverpool. He is employed by HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited, and manages the digital marketing and e-commerce space.
Mr Richards recently obtained a master’s degree in actuarial science and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Ms Brockington has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration on management and works at Partner Re as a reinsurance accountant. She believes getting former students involved is good for the image of the school.
“I think it is excellent because CedarBridge has this stigma attached to it where, every time you hear something about CedarBridge it is bad,” she stated. “I think it is good [to show] people that success stories do come out of CedarBridge. And it’s good for the students who are there now, having something to look up to.”
Current Mr and Miss CedarBridge, graduating year students Khaivon Castro and Shakaila Tankard, will host the homecoming events.
“This is our 15th year with over 1,000 [graduated] students,” said Dr Brown. “Many of them are doing great and wonderful things and because we don’t have the legacy like the Berkeleys and Warwick Academys, ours is ever-evolving.
“The theme of it is The First Coming Together and we’re going to culminate the series of events with a [concert] celebrating 15 years of musical excellence. What the general public may have heard throughout the years but probably don’t associate with CedarBridge is our music and arts department.
“Even in my year, in 1998, we went away to a choir competition and won awards in a regional concert choir competition held at Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta and what I’ve heard is subsequent years they have gone and received awards and recognitions for their musical excellence.”