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GIRLS IN SEA TOP 3

By Richardson Dhalai Thursday, July 3 2014

click on pic to zoom in

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS!

The country’s top three placings in this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination have all been earned by schoolgirls from the southland, results have revealed. And ironically, the top three SEA students in the country passed for the same secondary school — Naparima Girls High in San Fernando.

Grabbing pride of place as the top SEA student overall is Shivanna Chatoor of Avocat Vedic. She could hardly contain her excitement on being visited by none other than Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who announced Shivanna as being the nation’s top SEA student.

Chatoor, 12, a farmer’s daughter, said placing first in the SEA exams island wide came as a shock to her adding that her focus was on doing her best in the exam in order to pass for her first choice secondary school.

“First place overall...wow! I am very proud. This was unexpected,” young Shivanna gushed as she spoke with Newsday. Chatoor scored 99 percent in the exam. “I am glad I passed for Naps. I want to pursue a career in law. I love to debate, I love to get my point across so law is the career I am choosing,” she said.

Shivanna’s father, farmer Shivanand Chatoor was overwhelmed by his daughter’s achievement.

“She did good, she did good. Like me, she is a hard worker. But while I plant the land, she planted knowledge in her mind and has made me so very proud,” farmer Chatoor said.

His wife Godhra Chatoor, a seamstress, was also ecstatic at her daughter’s success. “I feel overjoyed. I am a proud mother. I expected great results from my daughter and she did not disappoint,” Mrs Chatoor said.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh later visited Grant Memorial Presbyterian School in San Fernando where she announced 11-year-old Cameel Juman as the nation’s second place SEA student overall.

Cameel appeared to be taken by surprise when her name was called by the Prime Minister and she did not immediately stand up even as excited classmates shouted out her name.

She smiled and was congratulated by the Prime Minister, who affixed a National Flag pin on the student’s uniform.

Cameel later said although she put in long hours studying for the exam, she did not expect to achieve such stellar results. “I can’t believe it...I am so happy and excited,” Cameel said as she congratulated the first place winner, who will join her in a few month’s time, at Naparima Girls High.

Her father Nehru Juman, a doctor based at Pt Fortin Area Hospital said his daughter should savour her success as she remained committed to her studies.

“She has been working very hard. She is an industrious student and I always knew she would be among the top three. This came as no surprise to me,” Dr Juman said.

Asked for her career plan, the shy, soft-spoken youngster said she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and enter the medical profession.

Last on the Prime Minister’s stop, before she flew out yesterday evening to Antigua to attend a Caricom leaders summit, was the San Fernando ASJA primary school where 12-year-old Arielle Rambharose, was announced as the third place overall SEA student. Like Shivanna and Cameel, Arielle was at a loss for words when the Prime Minister called her name. Arielle got up and shyly hugged the Prime Minister.

“I feel great, it is amazing to achieve this great accomplishment. I must thank my parents and teachers for all of their support,” Arielle said.

Her mother, Lisa Ramsingh Rambharose who is a library assistant at Barrackpore West Secondary School said she is very proud of her daughter and expected her to place high.

“I am very proud of her. She worked very hard. She was very confident,” Rambharose said.

Arielle’s father Calliandra Rambharose, an operations technician at Atlantic LNG, said his daughter is a hard worker and deserves to reap all benefits from her hard work.

“She deserves what she got. She is a hard-working, disciplined child and I am very, very proud of her,” Rambharose said. “I know she will do very well in her future endeavours,” he added.

For her part, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar described this year’s exams as “very successful” saying there was an overall improvement in results when compared to 2008 with 78.7 percent of pupils scoring above 50 percent.

She also noted that only 4.4 percent of students had scored less than 30 percent in the examination and attributed improvements to the hard work and dedication of principals, teachers and parents.

She also assured students that, “every single one of you will receive your laptop upon entry into secondary school.”

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