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Students excel in Cape, SEA

By RACHAEL ESPINET Friday, December 27 2013

click on pic to zoom in
NEW FRIENDS: The top Secondary Entrance Assessment student Sandhya Sookhoo (third from left) who attended Grant Memorial Presbyterian Primary School, ...
NEW FRIENDS: The top Secondary Entrance Assessment student Sandhya Sookhoo (third from left) who attended Grant Memorial Presbyterian Primary School, ...

Students excelling was one of the highlights in education for 2013.

Students improved overall in the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA).

For weeks Newsday’s pages were filled with students who excelled in their subjects, with many excelling while having to deal with personal hardships.

On September 19 during a post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh announced that 428 scholarships were awarded to students who excelled during CAPE.

The school receiving the most scholarships this year was St Augustine Girls’ High School (SAGHS), with 18 Open Scholarships and 19 Additional Scholarships.

When Gopeesingh presented the CAPE results at the briefing, it was clear that the girls’ schools had done well in this year’s CAPE examinations. In addition to SAGHS, Gopeesingh noted the performances of Naparima Girls’ High School (Four Open, 36 Additional scholarships); St Joseph Convent Port-of-Spain (13 Open, 26 Additional scholarships) and Holy Faith Convent, Couva (Three Open, 21 Additional scholarships).

He also noted excellent performances by some of the boys’ schools such as Naparima College (Six Open, 25 Additional scholarships); Hillview College (Three Open, 28 Additional scholarships); Presentation College Chaguanas (Four Open, 23 Additional scholarships) and Presentation San Fernando (One Open, 12 Additional scholarships).

A week before the list of scholarships was presented on September 19, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the two winners of the President’s Medal at a laptop distribution at St James Government Secondary School on September 12.

Abhinav Karan of Presentation College, Chaguanas, and Shelimiah Peterkin of St Joseph’s Convent St Joseph, were this year’s President’s Medal winners at CAPE level. Karan topped the field of Maths, Science, Environmental Science and Technology, while Peterkin headed the field of Business, Languages and Modern Studies. Karan was congratulated by many of his friends on Twitter the night the news was announced. One friend, Sudesh told him he knew that Karan could have done it. Another friend, Liliana said, “Told you, you were gonna get it!” Another told him, “Congratulations Abhinav, keep breaking those barriers. Proud to be Pres!” This was the fourth President’s Medal Presentation College has won.

“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, of Tobago, 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.

Popular colleges were not the only ones celebrating scholarship success this year. Marabella North Secondary School, Barrackpore West Secondary, Fyzabad Anglican School and Shiva Boys’ Hindu College climbed the scholastic charts, as their students were among 428 winners of scholarships based on the 2013 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

Winning a national scholarship for students from Government schools, such as Marabella North Secondary and Barrackpore West Secondary, which in many cases are not usually their first choices at the primary level, is a testimony to the dedication of their teachers, principals Roger Waterman and Germaine Gray said yesterday. They are extremely proud of their “homegrown” students Nirmala Nirupa Jonas, of Marabella North, and Devanan Ramdath and Saeed Khan, of Barrackpore West. Another success story from CAPE was Amir Andi-Abodoerrachman who hopes to become a civil engineer just as his deceased father was.

The 18-year-old, who is deaf and dumb, obtained six passes including a distinction in the June 2013 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Andi-Abodoerrachman said he applied to the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) in San Fernando where he hopes to pursue civil engineering. Secondary schools around the country noticed there was a marked increase in the grades of their students in both CSEC and CAPE.

The secondary school students were not the only ones to excel in their examinations this year. On July 4, three talented students from South Trinidad took national centre stage for earning the top three places in the 2013 SEA examinations. Sandhya Sookhoo skillfully strums the sitar. Kay-Lynn Ramlal plays the violin like a pro. Troy Samlalsingh is an award-winning actor. Each of them was 12 years old at the time, and they made their parents and schools proud by topping their examinations.

There were loud cheers and applause that day at Grant Memorial Presbyterian School in San Fernando when it was announced that Sandhya had placed first in the country in the SEA, beating out more than 18,000 other students. She received a perfect score of 20 out of 20 for creative writing and 98 out of 100 for both mathematics and language arts. She passed for Naparima Girls’ College in San Fernando.

She was greeted by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh and other ministry officials during the minister’s tour of the schools of the top three SEA students for this year. The soft spoken girl attributed her accomplishment to “hard work, prayers and the work of my teachers and parents.” She said it was difficult studying for the SEA, with mathematics being the most difficult subject on the day.

Kay-Lynn Ramlal from Tulsa Trace Hindu SDMS Primary School in Penal got second place SEA student. Her name featured prominently on the programme for the school’s graduation ceremony on July 5 as she won “most outstanding female”, “best creative writing student” and “principal’s trophy for culture.”

When Gopeesingh announced her name Ramlal’s parents started to cry. Kay-Lynn also started to weep, saying, “I am very happy that all of my hard work paid off,” she told Newsday.

She said the exam was “a bit stressful”. She is not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but just wants to make her family proud. Like Sandhaya, Kay-Lynn passed for Naparima Girls’ College in San Fernando.

Troy Samalsingh from San Fernando Trinidad Muslim League (TML) was among the top three, passing for Presentation College, San Fernando.

“I was shocked at first, but I’m very happy,” the young student told reporters. He noted that preparation for SEA was “tiring” and “hard”, but he “mixed it with a lot of extracurricular activities like football, music and scouting”.

Troy also is an accomplished actor in his own right, as he starred at SanFest in 2011 where he won the overall storytelling category with Julius Caesar — a Marc Anthony Perspective.

Twelve-year-old Emily Bhola, of Easterfield Road, Mason Hall, a student of St Andrew’s Anglican Primary School, in Scarborough, is the top SEA student in Tobago. She passed for Bishop’s High School, Scarborough.

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