By Raywattie Deonarine
The Abram Zuil Secondary School (AZSS), located at Abram Zuil on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), continues to shine at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, as the school’s own Anuradha Basdeo scored the top position in the region, achieving 19 passes, while Devanjali Ashley Ramkellawan secured passes in 18 subjects.
Additionally, the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School, located in the township of Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast, has also been outstanding at the CSEC examination, with student Kelly Sankar excelling in 20 subjects, thus gaining the second position in the region.
Also, the top ten students in the Region are all from the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School. They are Angelita Chattergoon, who recorded 19 passes; Parmesh Ramgobin and Aliyah Opheira Doodnauth, who both recorded 20 passes; and Thyecia Moore, who also registered 20 passes. Yovendra Singh secured 18 passes, while Vishnu Surendra secured 17 passes. Yogendra Rampersaud copped passes in 16 subjects.
Sixteen-year-old Anuradha Basdeo, who hails from the vibrant community of Pomona Housing Scheme, obtained 17 Grade Ones and 2 Grade Twos, securing the first position in Region Two, and creating history as she secured the fifth-highest number of subjects written by a candidate at these Caribbean examinations.
Basdeo told Guyana Times she is very elated and satisfied with her performance, since her objective was to make herself and parents proud. She related that her parents are overjoyed and satisfied with her performance as well.
Basdeo’s mother said her daughter was always a good performer, since from nursery school. Basdeo also mentioned that she wants to study medicine, because she has a deep love for science subjects.
Seventeen-year-old Kelly Sanka, a proud ambassador of the Anna Regina Multilateral School, obtained 20 subjects, achieving 16 Grade Ones and 4 Grade Twos. He came in second position in the region, and has made the region proud as well. Sankar hails from Airy Hall village on the Essequibo Coast.
In an elated tone, the second top performer expressed, “I’m excited! Overjoyed over my performance, although I was nervous and never expected such grades. I am a worshiper at the altar of science, and medicine is what I long to pursue.”
Angelita Chatergoon of Devonshire Castle, who also attended the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School, made her parents, villagers and school proud. She achieved 19 subjects with the achievement of 15 Grade Ones and 4 Grade Twos. Chatergoon aspires to be a professional Economist, since she has developed a strong love for economics and business-related areas.
In an interview with the media, Chatergoon said she was shocked and so grateful to God. “Since I know myself, I have always excelled in my studies, copping top positions in each class. I always took my studies seriously, and it paid off in the end. Besides my love for studying, drawing is one of the many things which I truly enjoy doing. I spend hours drawing, never getting bored, because I love it.”
Chatergoon added, “When I heard my results, I was totally overwhelmed with tears of gladness, and I’m thrilled that I made it…It’s indeed a wonderful feeling. My parents are as proud as I am, because even though they didn’t have to write the exam, they were with me every step of this journey. They gave me all that they could give, and rallied around me and made sure I had all that I needed. My family members were my biggest supporters.”
Parmesh Ramgobin, also from the Anna Regina Multilateral, secured 15 Grade Ones and 5 Grade Twos. Hailing from the community of Charity, Ramgobin aims to further his studies in order to achieve an associate degree in natural science. Additionally, he wishes to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
“I must say that it was a tough journey, and the struggles were real. My journey to school was not a smooth ride; from where I live to where I needed to be in order to catch the bus, it was tough walking to get there, especially when the rain pours down and makes it almost impossible to access the road,” Ramgobin told this publication.
He added, “During my studies, I was surrounded by many beautiful souls, who encouraged me to push a little harder; and that was exactly what I did. I began taking many extra lessons, some that were dismissed until 6 in the evening, and getting transportation to head halfway across the Essequibo coast was not easy. I would reach at home until 7 in the evenings…it was at that moment I realised that hard work really does pay off.”
Ramgobin also said that he saw his potential, and after being encouraged by his lesson teacher and parents, he decided to write 20 subjects at the CXC exams.
“These subjects required a lot of effort and hard work, and I was ready for that, but what I didn’t anticipate was COVID-19; no one anticipated that. COVID-19 was one of my biggest struggles. Being a Garde 10 student, it was imperative that I attend school, as most of the curriculum is done at that level. However, the virus deterred me from that, and there was nothing I could’ve done, as we were kept at home for almost 8 months. From then onwards, I was faced with numerous struggles,” he said.
Ramgobin told Guyana Times his private extra lessons were costly, and this forced his mother to seek another means of income in order to cover his lesson expense, which included transportation fees.
“Mommy at the time said that my education is important, and because of that, she started to fry chips: plantain, cassava, sweet potato, and chicken foot, and sold them to nearby shops…even at my lessons, I would take her chips to sell, just for me to receive money to pay my lesson fees,” the young man stated.
Achievement not only my own
Seventeen-year-old Aliyah Opheira Doodnauth, aspiring medical doctor, secured 20 passes, achieving 14 Grade Ones, five Grade Twos, and one Grade Three.
Speaking with Guyana Times, Doodnauth said, “I am working towards becoming a medical doctor, since it has always been a profession that captivated and intrigued me from since I was a child. My achievement is not only my own, but it belongs to my family, teachers, and friends, who have all played a major role in ensuring my success was possible.”
She added that the struggles she had faced during the examination period were the same as the CSEC students before her, but with the added stress of the pandemic, she found that her biggest setback was attempting to learn all of her school work as well as complete the SBAs within the given time period.
“I am beyond grateful that I was able to persevere and emerge successfully despite these challenges. My parents as well as my other family members and friends were all very proud and happy that I was able to achieve the best I could. Participating in activities outside of academics was one of the best decisions I made, although it may seem stressful at times trying to manage everything all at once; but I encourage every student to participate in activities outside of academics.”
Doodnauth said she is elated and overjoyed over her performance because she had never expected that she would have achieved fourteen14 Grade Ones at one sitting of the examination.
Speaking with Guyana Times, Vishnu Surendra revealed that he qualified himself as a pandit of the Queenstown community while he was pursuing his secondary education.
“Being a pandit and managing school and my work wasn’t that easy. Obtaining 14 Grade Ones, two Grade Twos and one Grade Three for five months was a challenging project for me, but with the constant cooperation from my family, friends, and teachers, I have done it. I just want to shout out to my parents, who were always there in the nights at my lessons to collect me.”
Surendra added that he is pursuing a scholarship to become a dental surgeon because of a deep love for dental care and sciences.
“My mother, when she heard my results that announced live on Facebook Ministry page, she was very shocked. She was like, ‘Wow! 14 Grade Ones! I never expected that from you son, keep up the hard work’. I was never at the top of my class at secondary school, and…I heard they felt speechless because they never expected me to excel,” Surendra proudly said.
Hailing from the beautiful village of Adventure, sixteen-year-old Yovendra Nayaan Singh aspires to move forward by becoming a civil engineer, and an entrepreneur/contractor working side by side with his father and uncles.
The young, hardworking, and determine teen secured passed in 18 subjects, achieving 15 Grade Ones and three Grade Twos.
Singh told this publication, “I joined the industrial technology stream where there have been many stereotypes, but that didn’t affect my decision, mainly because the subjects in said area are more related to the career I intend to follow up. I had the intention of writing more than 18 subjects, but when COVID hit, I had to drop a few because of the time, and teachers to teach those subjects were unavailable.”
He added, “My schooling then became highly expensive, but I tried my best to cope with it. I studied really hard and had sleepless nights to complete SBAs and do research to prepare for my exams. It was a challenge, but it paid off. I had always wished to make my dad proud, as he battled with my upbringing as a single parent. My family were very proud of me, they were all excited upon hearing my results. I am very thankful for my achievements, God’s blessings, my family, and all those who contributed to my success.”
Sixteen-year-old Devanjali Ashley Ramkellawan of Abram Zuil Secondary School secured 18 passes, gaining 13 Grade Ones and five Grade Twos.
Hailing from the vibrant village of Abram Zuil, Ramkellawan aspires to be an architect.“I would like to thank the Almighty God for blessing me with the mindset and determination to keep working hard,” she said.
She added that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, school was cancelled for some time, which made it extremely challenging for her, as it was hard to receive the necessary teaching required, and also for the completion of her SBAs. Despite these difficulties, Ramkellawan and her schoolmates persevered and worked hard.
She said, “My secondary school years were years I wish to never forget. They were the years I learned a lot, not only about the curriculum, but about people and life. I gained great memories, both happy and sad, but I do not regret the hardships, and I wish all the best for the future students in their academics. Study hard, but don’t forget to take care of yourself along the journey.”
Education – a powerful weapon
However, aspiring engineer Yogendra Rampersaud of Affiance scored 16 passes, gaining 13 Ones and three Twos.
During an interview with this publication, Rampersaud emphasised, “Education is a powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.” which is a powerful quote by the late Nelson Mandela.
“The journey was not an easy road, since lots of sacrifices, determination, dedication and self-motivation were required. Despite the many challenges I faced during my secondary education, I tried my best to stay focused by maintaining a schedule of activities, and making time for activities such as early morning spiritual bath, exercising, and doing little household chores. The majority of my time was allocated to my studies.
“Further, my mom was always there with me every night, to see that I do what I was supposed to do. She really performed her duties as a mother to the highest extent. For this I am extremely thankful,” Rampersaud said.
He added that his mother proved that parents are indeed earthly Gods. He also expressed gratitude to the Goddess Saraswati for blessing him with knowledge and understanding.
Seventeen-year-old Tyhecia Keziah Moore, an aspiring surgeon or forensic scientist because of her deep love for science, secured passes in 20 subjects, gaining 15 Grade Ones and five Grade Twos.
“During the period of preparation for CSEC exams, it was a very challenging road, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic at hand. Because of this, I missed school for almost 9 months. Therefore, when school re-opened, it was a race against time and content to cover. With this challenge among many others, it called for extreme focus and hard work. I was determined to excel in this endeavour, and ensured I attended all classes and studied a lot. Even when studying went on to late hours at night and the wee hours of the morning, I persevered with the goal of doing exceptionally well at CSEC 2021,” Moore highlighted.’
Moore added, “Amidst the studying, of course there were struggles, and I am grateful to my family, who stood by my side through it all. Especially my parents, who stayed up with me while I studied, to ensure I wasn’t lonely, or just in case I needed assistance.
“I must also thank all my teachers, who worked just as hard as I did to ensure great results. Most of all, I must thank the Lord Almighty, who guided me through the entire journey and never left my side. With Him only, all things are possible. I opened the results later than most, since I was waiting to open it with my entire family.”