By Janelle de Souza Friday, July 6 2012
Rebecca-Ann Jattan, the top performer in the 2012 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Examination, will visit Florida, Virginia and Las Vegas in the United States as a reward for her achievement.
Jattan, 11, of Canaan Presbyterian School, Duncan Village, San Fernando, placed first in the country with a maximum score in all three subjects.
She passed for her first school of choice, Naparima Girls’ High School and was one of four girls who placed in the top three in the exam. Shemiah Grant, 11, of Atwell’s Educational Institute, Orange Grove, Trincity, achieved second place in the exam, and passed for St Augustine Girls’ High School. There was a tie for third place between Nishtha Mohan, of Freeport Presbyterian Primary School, and Victoria Maharaj, of Avocat Vedic Primary School in Fyzabad.
As her schoolmates celebrated her performance yesterday, Jattan, who bettered 17,799 other students for the top spot, said she was overwhelmed when Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh made the announcement, but was happy and proud of herself.
She said preparation for the exam was stressful, but she got through it with the help of her family, friends and God.
“I studied a lot, but had time to relax. My parents balanced my time and made sure I wasn’t stressed out. Actually, I thought Language Arts was a bit difficult so I was surprised I did so well,” a beaming Jattan said as the other SEA students at her school shared in her moment of glory.
Two of her schoolmates, Lane Amichan, 11, and Maiya Cooper, 12, also placed within the top 200 SEA students in the country.
Jattan said she was now very excited to go to secondary school and hopes eventually to be a veterinarian.
Jattan’s father, Robin, described her achievement as a dream, saying that while she had always done excellently in school, he did not expect her to excel as she did. He told Newsday he intends to reward his daughter for all her hard work by taking his family on an extended trip to the United States.
“She is our only child so we didn’t want to spoil her,” he said.
“She has always been a smart child. We set goals, let her work towards it and once she achieved them, she got a reward.”
Jattan’s mother, Stacey, said she and her husband were very proud of their only child.
“We were expecting good results but not expecting first place,” she said. “The preparation process was nerve-racking. Sometimes Rebecca would come home and doubt herself, but she would always turn to God and pray and would feel better.”
Stacey also thanked the teachers of Canaan for guiding her daughter and making sure she was okay. She also said the church and the family’s strong belief in God gave her daughter the strength to pull through one of the most strenuous periods in a child’s life.
Principal of Canaan Presby-
terian, Daniel Sahadeo, noted that the school had at least three students in the top 100 for the past three consecutive years. He thanked and complimented his teachers who, he said, really made it happen.
The last time there were all-female top scorers in the SEA examination was in 2007, when Meagan de la Bastide, of Holy Faith Prep School (St Monica’s) in Port-of-Spain, Eshanaa Maharaj, of El Dorado North Hindu School, and Sushma Karim, of the Trinidad Muslim League School of San Fernando, tied for first place.
Shemiah Grant said she was
not surprised when she found
out she had placed second in the nation.
She said she knew she would do well but was still excited when she heard the news.
“Preparation was exhausting. It was a lot, but it paid off,” said Shemiah, who thanked her mother, Allison Joseph-Grant, Newsday’s advertising agency coordinator, for her continued support.
When asked if she was surprised by her daughter’s results, Joseph-Grant said, “Shemiah works very hard and I know that God would take care of the rest. So I just knew something good was going to