Reporting a considerable drop in the number of students who will graduate from H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in 2018, college president Dr Janet Smith said this year’s graduating class will give a clear indication of the impact last year’s hurricanes had on the educational facility.
Up to press time, Dr Janet Smith was not able to provide actual figures on the number of graduates. But, she told BVI News the disasters significantly affected the student population.
According to the college president, many of the students left the territory in the aftermath of the hurricanes while a large amount had to find employment in order to continue school or to survive.
“A lot of students were very stressed and we tried to help them as much as possible but our figures were definitely down.”
“We offered fewer classes for one thing in the fall and we made a special effort to help students that were graduating. But, we started out with a lower enrollment primarily because of everything that people had to do after the hurricanes and their living conditions.”
The HLSCC boss also painted a grim picture of the facility’s condition after hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“We lost a lot of the labs and classrooms and in the main building. We had a lot of damage so we, practically, had no classes in the main building.”
She said a number of classes had to be moved to the Marine Centre, which is located opposite the college’s Paraquita Bay campus and which has fewer available classrooms.
“We also were only teaching from 9am to 4pm and 40 percent of our students come after 4pm. So, that was part of the loss as well. We also had electrical issues, and we still have technological issues … it was just a challenging year”.
Satisfied with performance
Dr Smith said, despite the aforementioned hurdles, she is ‘satisfied’ with the overall performance of the college this year.
HLSCC saw more than 500 persons completing short courses to facilitate the urgent need for construction workers in the territory.
Some 75 students already have been approved to graduate this year and a few others are awaiting their final grades.
The graduation ceremony is slated for 4pm on June 29 at Paraquita Bay and on July 4 on Virgin Gorda at 4:30pm.
Some 200 persons graduated from HLSCC last year.
In the meantime, Dr Smith said the college hopes to repair its main building in time for the 2018/2019 academic year.
Dr Smith further said work on the building is expected to get underway in the next few weeks.
These works, she said, will put the institution in a better position to facilitate more students and offer more courses.