The Science of Ever-Changing Times

Why the Adult Education School must always be in operation
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 He is seventeen – a young black man with no plans to continue his education after high school. He’s had some employment with a local company and hopes they’ll give him a job. 

Unbeknownst to him, his parents have had conversations with the good folks at the Adult Education School (AES). He’s been told he’ll be going abroad to a school he’s been accepted to. He hasn’t applied to this school himself, and he doesn’t recall taking the necessary tests to secure admission. 

On his scheduled day of departure, when he gets into a bike accident, he thinks it’s “Perfect.” The hospital patches him up, and he reluctantly makes his flight and gets to school. “Abandoned in prison,” are his words. 

This is the very opposite of what he had in mind for his life. This all-boys school is in a remote location in the American North-East where he is the only Bermudian. This sucks. 

But then, “Life accelerated.” He finds out he can skip study hall by having a minimum 3.0 GPA, so he achieves it in two weeks. A light bulb goes off. He is motivated, recognizing he is capable of being in control of his own life. He never looks back. 

This true story is the testimony of Dr Ernest Peets Jr, CFT, ICADC, current Chair of the Adult Education School, whose sole purpose is to assist youth, and adults, with their educational, career, and life aspirations. 

“Who I am today is largely a result of the AES being in orbit alongside caring adults guiding me as I needed it,” he confesses. As a pastor, former Minister in the Bermuda Government, and founder of MASC, his passion continues to benefit Bermuda. “AES…launched me, gave me what was necessary to propel me forward.” 

The AES continues to serve Bermuda today. Throughout their history they have assisted THOUSANDS of learners in reaching their goals. Building on their history, they strive to ensure their crucial role in the community will be available for the future as well. 

Founded in 1958 by Merle Brock Swan Williams, the school first developed a tutorial programme for adults, and established a college school and camp advisory service. It developed an individualized literacy and numeracy instruction model, as well as GED, and SAT preparation for adults. 

With a noteworthy staff of Ms Arlene Brock as Managing Director (her credentials and achievements are too many to list here), Mr Thaao Dill as the Director of Programming (ditto), alongside tutors, coordinators, and volunteers, the organization offers a ‘reimagined’ slate of courses, workshops, and certifications designed to meet the needs of the lifelong learner. 

What is the central lesson to be learned here? According to current student, Richard Bean, it’s that, “I should be myself. I don’t have to be afraid to be honest. I’m capable and I’m enough.” 

Noting the (lack of) durability of the Black institutions in Bermuda; one of the main reasons that Ms Brock returned to the island was because she felt that the services that the AES provides “Must continue.” There is still a need. 

Ms Brock emphasises, “By giving people an opportunity, we are developing capacity for Bermuda as a whole.” 

The school recently partnered with the Bermuda College in a mutual referral system, so fewer learners slip through the cracks. They also work with Bermuda Technical Institute Alumni to offer a CISCO networking certification. Meanwhile, job-hunting and interview prep skills are offered by international business partners. 

With upcoming workshops like ‘Who Cares for the Caregiver?’ and ‘Real Estate,’ the new ‘Three Pillars’ curriculum aims to assist those looking to further their academic studies, get promoted, and even find employment. 

Two innovative new programs aim to guide learners outside of their traditional environments, and expose them to people and places that they might not otherwise have been aware of. 

The first program, ‘Sharing Our Stories,’ is presented by alumni of the AES and the Bermuda College. Specifically geared towards 16-21 year olds; the alumni share their educational experiences alongside what led them to their current career path. The sessions provide the opportunity for insight and exploration into a variety of fields. 

The second program, ‘Behind the Scenes: How Bermuda Works’ involves groups of four students going into professional environments to gain exposure to worlds outside of their everyday lives. The AES is always looking to partner with organizations to make this a regular reality, so please contact them if your organization would be interested in hosting this service. 

What is their vision for the future? Dr Peets concludes; (1) Sustainable development, undergirded by financial and human resources. (2) To be a source of guidance regardless of the learner and their socio-economic background. (3) To have those who have been blessed to consider the school as a great place to give back to the community in a meaningful way. 

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