Sports, friends help top student
By Cecily Asson Saturday, September 22 2012
“Never compete with other persons. Compete against yourself because once you begin to compete with others, you begin to limit yourself.”
That is the advice from 2012 President’s Medal winner Brad Bachu, 19, of Presentation College, Chaguanas. He was one of two President’s Medal recipients, along with Marcus Isaac Belasco from Naparima College, San Fernando.
Bachu, who won an Open scholarship in Technical Studies, said yesterday he never thought he could win the prestigious academic award but despite his feelings, he still set himself high standards upon entering Lower Six, two years ago.
“I trained myself to beat myself every time saying that if I didn’t succeed to the fullest, I would still end up with something good.”
His outstanding achievement which was announced yesterday by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh saw his school achieve the coveted hat-trick this year. Past students Brad Chattergoon and Shastri Ram won President’s medals in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Bachu was congratulated by his teachers and peers at the school yesterday.
He has his eyes set on a career in physics. He said he was never once a book worm having being involved in sports, including badminton, marathons and table tennis. He once represented Trinidad and Tobago in badminton at the Pan American Games and credited the sport for his discipline in his academics.
Bachu of Felicity, Chaguanas, said his father Mahase, a manager at the Croisee Supermarket, Couva and his mother Judy, a housewife, gave him full support on his way to making them proud. His brother Beau, 21, is a final-year mechanical engineering student at the University of the West Indies.
“I really want to thank them for supporting me during those long hours I studied,” he said. “They will drop me off to lessons, make sure I was well fed, had my vitamins. They never put pressure on me because my best was always good enough for them.”
Bachu’s mother Judy couldn’t hold back her tears as she said, “I am happy.”
The teenager’s teachers, and a close knit group of friends, also worked hard with him in achieving his goal: all Ones and As in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics, Geometrical Engineering, Caribbean Studies and Communications in CAPE.
On his way to the top he sought advice from previous medal winners Chattergoon and Ram and buckled down when he entered Lower Six having not been the ideal student in his early years.
“But in Form Six I never gave teachers an easy time, I never let them leave anything hanging, they had to clarify things for me. It was stressful for them, but in the ending we are all happy,” he said.
He revealed one of his secrets to his success was the trusted group of friends he studied with. “We were never competitors, we were friends.”
Those friends, he said, also won scholarships. Bachu will write his SATs later this month and intend to leave next year for the United States to pursue his education. He is keeping close to his chest the university of his choice but he assures it will be one of the top ones. Over the next few months however he will be working as a lab attendant at his alma mater and on evenings and weekends will be a student tutor. “It’s my way of giving back to my school,” he said.
Principal Captain Gary Ribeiro, a reserve soldier of the Defence Force, was ecstatic for the third time. He donned a straw hat to mark the hat-trick.
“The entire college is extremely pleased with the success of Brad because he has been a an all-round student doing very well in all his endeavours.
We are also pleased that we got 11 Open scholarships this year, the most we have ever gotten, 11 additional making it 22, it is the second best we have ever done and we are very proud of the fact that we have won the President’s Medal for three years running,” he said.