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FOCUS Programme returns to in-person learning at University of The Bahamas 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — After a two-year, COVID-19-imposed hiatus, Lyford Cay Foundations’ (LCF) FOCUS Programme officially returned to face-to-face sessions on the University of The Bahamas (UB) Oakes Field Campus.

On Saturday, March 19, LCF and UB officials celebrated the return of the coed enrichment and college readiness programme, marking the continuation of over 25 years of partnership between LCF and UB.

UB Mingoes mascot greets FOCUS students

“We’re extremely excited to be welcoming our FOCUS students back to the UB campus after a two-year hiatus as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. Chairman Basil Goulandris.

“Thanks to the Ministry of Education and the University of The Bahamas for partnering with Lyford Cay Foundations for thus a few years. We stay up for all of the years to return.”

FOCUS, an acronym for “Forward, Onward to College, Upward to Success”, is an out-of-school-time, tuition-free enrichment programme aimed toward preparing public school students of demonstrated potential and want for school readiness and access. Students begin the programme the summer after the fourth grade and are supported throughout their school profession until graduation.

FOCUS also supports teachers in training. Nearly all of interns are UB School of Education majors, who will eventually be teaching within the country’s public school system. Since its inception in 2011, the FOCUS programme has served roughly 400 students and has to date had three graduating cohorts.

The return to the UB campus marked a milestone for the programme following prolonged virtual sessions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the virtual sessions, FOCUS continued to grow and adapt to fulfill the holistic needs of the scholars. FOCUS helped students overcome learning disruptions brought on by the pandemic through a diagnostic programme that provided targeted academic support and individualized tutoring. MiFi devices and tablets were also provided to students to enhance distant learning access.

“The FOCUS programme has literally modified the trajectory of young Bahamians for the higher, and the generosity of so many will perpetually be appreciated as we put money into the longer term leaders of this great country,” said UB Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Maria Oriakhi.

Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training Glenys Hanna-Martin, said it’s partnerships just like the one UB and the LCF have cemented that help to unearth the hidden academic potential in The Bahamas.

“This little, small nation with populations on different little rocks and cays in the course of the ocean, God has deemed it correct and right to endow so a lot of our individuals with physical prowess, mental prowess, creative prowess, and such that it rises to the eye of the world,” said Hanna-Martin.

“It is a fact; this is just not just sweet talk. So, once we all know that fact, and that God has been so generous to us, the least we could do is to develop all that we’re, and who we’re, and what we’re as we move forward day-after-day.”

UB Board of Trustees Chair Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Q.C., reaffirmed UB’s commitment to the continued academic and skilled success of FOCUS students.

“University of The Bahamas is fully committed to your success, and we are only one in every of many institutions which are here for you, here to make sure that that every one of the potential that God has given you will likely be fully developed to make you productive residents not only of The Bahamas, but of the world. The Bahamas is shaping the world,” said Maynard-Gibson.

LCF Executive Director, Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, also encouraged FOCUS students to dream big and work hard.

“A few of you’ll solve great problems, and a few of you’ll create great art and produce great ideas,” said Virgill-Rolle.

“You might be the longer term, at all times do not forget that.”

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