Guyanese students shine in Turks and Caicos Islands By Donovan Matthews
Guyana Chronicle
July 6, 2003

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GUYANESE students have been making a name for themselves at the HJ Robinson High School in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Milessa Ali and Dirk Yearwood were Valedictorian and runner-up valedictorian respectively when the school held its 2003 Graduation Ceremony on June 30 at the Darts Ball Room, Grand Turk. They were among four Guyanese to graduate. The others were Kevin Alert, son of former Magistrate Dawn Holder-Alert, and Ronald Forde, son of Mrs. Penelope Peters.

The daughter of Mohamed and Jean Ali (formerly of Canje, Berbice) Milessa walked away with a number of awards apart from the top prize. She won first place after sitting the school examinations in Principles of Accounts, English Language, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Procedures, Spanish and Principles of Business. The petite 16-year-old, who finished with an average of 86.2 per cent, also collected awards for extra curricular activities - for playing the steel pan and being a part of the school’s choir.

Milessa has already secured a Grade I in CXC Mathematics, which she wrote in January, and Music from the Royal Society of Arts. She is currently awaiting the results of CXC English, Information Technology, Office Procedures, Principles of Business, Accounts, Spanish and Integrated Science.

Yearwood, whose average was 77.2 per cent, also received prizes for the choir and steel pan along with first place in Biology, Chemistry, English Literature and Physics. He was also second in Information Technology and finished third in Food and Nutrition, and English Language.

Dirk also gained a Grade I in CXC Maths, in January, along with a Grade II in English Language. However, he was not satisfied with the latter so he rewrote it in June when he also took Chemistry, Physics, Information Technology, Biology, English Literature, Foods and Nutrition and Office Procedure.

Both students were members of the Prefect body with Yearwood being the Head Boy.

Yearwood, who arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2000 with his mother, Public Health Nurse Denise Williams, is returning to the land of his birth to attend the University of Guyana. He plans to pursue Medical Technology with the aim of becoming a neurosurgeon.

Before leaving Guyana, Dirk attended the Regma Under-12 School in Wismar, Linden, finishing as the top student at the Secondary Schools Entrance Examinations. He went on to the Bishops’ High School before leaving in the second form.

Milessa was born in Jamaica, but her proud father is quick to point out that she travels on a Guyana passport. The father, who taught at the Tutorial Academy in New Amsterdam, took his family to the Land of Wood and Water in 1986 before arriving in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1992. He had a stint at the Clement Howell High School on Providenciales before moving to the capital where he lectures in Business Studies and Accounts at the TCI Community College.

Milessa, an honours roll student throughout high school, is planning to pursue an Associate Degree in Computer Science at the College in September. Her ultimate aim is to become a computer programmer.