After an unprecedented year of distanced virtual learning, newly selected Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars are ready for hands-on research and in-person experiential learning through the BESS programme. Applicants throughout New Providence and Grand Bahama competed for coveted seats in this gap year programme offered in partnership by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and The Island School.

Scholars for the 2021-2022 BESS Programme are Heather Brockbank from Bishop Michael Eldon School, Isabelle Petty from Sunland Academy, Theodore Moss from C.R. Walker and Promise Russell from St. George’s High School.  Fully funded by The Island School, each scholar will participate in a life-changing experiential Semester on their Eleuthera campus, in addition to a four-month paid internship funded by The Island School. This year, scholars will participate in internships at either BREEF, IDEA Relief or the One Eleuthera Foundation.

Recognizing the growing need to problem solve in a rapidly changing world, BREEF and The Island School mentor these independent students through solutions-based learning and scientific research internships. Upon completion of the programme, each scholar leaves well equipped to lead The Bahamas into a more sustainable future!

Heather Brockbank has shown exceptional leadership in international plastic pollution boot camps and volunteer work with several environmental organizations. “I want to develop a platform to ensure the cultivation of sustainable products for The Bahamas. I also intend to assist The Bahamas in the conversion to a plastic-free land and in this promise, a sustainable lifestyle.”

Isabelle Petty is a Waterkeeper Cadet and an avid diver interested in coral restoration. “My desire to be a front runner in environmental rehabilitation has directed me to apply for a BESS scholarship. The experience I’ve had as a junior ambassador for the environment cannot compare to the hands on education and college prep advantages gained here.”

Theodore Moss is a Royal Bahamas Police Force Cadet and is in the Maritime Cadet Corps. He has had a longstanding interest in solar energy. “In school I created a miniature solar powered vehicle using a plastic bottle, solar panel and my imagination. I am also excited to explore some of the mysteries of the ocean in BESS.”

Promise Russell learned to dive in the Marine Science programme at St. George’s High School and expresses her love for the ocean through visual art. Speaking about the calm she feels underwater, she states “All of my worries stay on the surface. I love it there but there are many issues compromising that beautiful world. I want to protect and preserve this utopia, my underwater home, so others can be inspired and feel that freedom, too.”

In addition to these four young scholars, Brianna Brown from St George’s and Arianna Goulbourne from St. Anne’s School were chosen as BESS Summer Scholars. They will receive a full scholarship from The Island School to participate in the organisation’s 4-week Summer Term beginning July 2021.

Since 2008, 51 young Bahamians have benefitted from this exceptional educational experience, with most scholars going on to pursue related tertiary studies or being currently employed in the environmental field.

BREEF thanks The Island School for providing the BESS scholarships and also thanks their partners, donors and sponsors whose support makes these unique opportunities possible.

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