President’s Medal winner is a businesswoman
By Rachael Espinet Saturday, September 14 2013
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PRESIDENT'S MEDAL WINNER: Shelemiah Peterkin of St Joseph's Convent, St Joseph....
“It could not have happened to a more deserving student,” were the sentiments from the teachers of St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph, when they found out their business student, Shelemiah Peterkin won the President’s Medal this year.
“You made us so proud. You deserve this. You are hard-working, dedicated, focused and humble. We could not be happier,” Sharon Sant, the Caribbean Studies teacher from the school, told Peterkin as she walked through St Joseph Convent’s staff room doors.
Sant was one of many proud teachers who waited for Peterkin and tearfully embraced the 19-year-old for her achievement. Peterkin did Management of Business, Economics, Accounts, Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies, and she received all ones in these subjects with all As. “We are so happy. We are elated for Shelemiah, for ourselves, and for Tobago. All of us are sharing in the joy of this moment,” said Margot Guerrero, the school’s Vice Principal.
Peterkin is from Moriah in Tobago, and she sat her O’Level exams at Bishops High School, Tobago. She always wanted to experience living in Trinidad, so she decided to move into her aunt and uncle, Colleen and Hillenion Mc David’s home, in Arima.
The only school she said she wanted to go to was St Joseph because of its “amazing” reputation. Now that she has won the President’s Medal, she knows that was the right choice.
“I was very elated, and humbled too. My heart is filled with so much gratitude. I owe this medal to God, my parents, and my teachers especially. My teachers were the best. They went beyond the call of duty for me, and I dedicate my medal to all of them,” Peterkin told Newsday as tears welled up in her eyes.
Peterkin found out she won the President’s Medal when her friends called her to congratulate her.
Peterkin said she has received “overwhelming” support from her family and friends.
“My sister called me last night, and she made me cry. She said they were elated and proud. All my friends were calling me on the phone. One of my friends cried. They were more excited than I was,” she said.
Peterkin was not void of emotion as tears flowed down her cheeks throughout her interview with Newsday. From the moment she greeted her proud teachers, she could not keep back her tears.
Peterkin’s teachers described her as a model student, who always worked diligently and promptly on assignments. One of her teachers said she wished all her students were like “Shelly.” “I did all my work in school. I paid attention to my teachers, and I did all my homework. When I read it, I wrote it down, then I would know it.” That was what Peterkin revealed as one of her secrets to success.
Peterkin said she would wake up early in the morning, as early as 3 am, to study. She would even spend her spare time in the library, just reading books on economics.
However, it was Peterkin’s passion for business that made her so successful. She said because she was smart, many people wanted her to take science subjects, but she refused to do anything other than business.
“I really love it. When I went into secondary school, everyone wanted me to be a doctor and do sciences, but I wanted to do business, it was what I loved. I did not want to do something just because it was popular,” she said.
Peterkin decided to take a year off after “spending the majority of her life studying.” She recently got a job as an Assistant Accountant at the ANR Robinson Airport, Tobago. After that year, she intends to further her studies in either Accounts, or Economics. She said because she is curious about other cultures, she wants to read for her degree either at the University of Waterloo, or London School of Economics. “I’d like to be an economist, or an accountant. I’m torn between two loves. Hopefully this job will help me see which one I really love,” Peterkin said.