By Rupa Seenaraine
An aspiring High Court Judge and an avid reader, 11-year-old Sameera Williams on Friday learnt that she had secured a place at Queen’s College, after excelling at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examinations of 2022.
A vividly shocked expression appeared on her face when the proverbial beans were spilled by Education Minister Priya Manickchand at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Friday. Sameera has secured 508 marks at the NGSA, and has landed herself a place at this prestigious national institution of learning.
What, however, was uncovered was an awe-inspiring story of how Sameera managed to overcome a monumental setback this year in order to sit the exams. Little Sameera hails from Georgetown, and attended the Winfer Gardens Primary School. Earlier, in February, she was taking karate classes at the YMCA at Thomas Lands, but while on the road with her sister, she was tragically involved in an accident.
Sharing this experience with this publication on Saturday, her mother Bibi Shalima Ibrahim explained that her daughter had severe head injuries, and had to be hospitalised. For two months, she was away from the physical classroom, and that was a critical time in her preparation for the secondary entrance examination.
“She was crossing the road when it happened. Because of the shock, she was critical for a few days, and they were even thinking about surgery. It was the worst possible thing that could have happened. She just got a small injury on her back, but her head injury was serious. That is why I’m thanking God that she recovered well,” her mother explained.
She added, “After the accident, she couldn’t have done late studying. What I would advise any parent is to don’t wait until the last moment to prepare. She was away from school five months before the examination. The doctor said that since it was a serious head injury, she could not be stressed, so I never pushed her after. There were also no late studies.”
After this incident, Shalima relayed, the doctors were concerned for her daughter. In recovery, there was no pressure, but she allowed Sameera to operate on the level at which she was comfortable.
Sameera with her mother, Bibi Shalima Ibrahim, (centre) and Education Minister Priya Manickchand on Friday
Leading up to the examinations, the Education Ministry had offered to place Sameera amid concerns over her health and the challenges of missing contact time in her class.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand commented, “I offered her mother that she doesn’t have to write the exam, we will place her, and Sameera chose to write the exam.”
“For me, I didn’t care how she did. Just writing that exam placed her in a position of winning, because she showed how interested she was in education,” Minister Manickchand has said.
Fast-forward to this week, the proud mother, Shalima, said she is overjoyed at this outcome. When asked how this feat was achieved, she explained that preparation for the examination started since the Grade Three level.
“I felt very thankful and grateful after what we went through. Overall, I knew she would have done great. She was preparing since Grade Three, and because her other two sisters got the Bishops’ High and Queen’s College, she knew she would be preparing for Queen’s,” her mother has said.
“After the incident, she didn’t remember it for maybe after a month. Little by little, everything came back. She loved reading. What is important was her rest and food. From the teachers and so on, I got the support,” Shalima expressed.
Williams is the youngest of three daughters. She is a member of the National School of Dance, and is an aspiring High Court Judge. She also likes to write, as it allows her to express herself.
In an interview with this publication, top performer Sameera Williams shared, “It was just so shocking. I felt a shock go through me, but it was a shock of happiness. All my hard work paid off, and I felt so happy…
“I want to be a High Court Judge because I like fairness and honesty. I try to be as honest as I can, and this just matches with my policies.”