Top CSEC students dish out secrets of their success By Iana Seales
Stabroek News
August 29, 2003

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Stabroek News recently spoke with several of the nation’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Council (CSEC) performers this year and learnt of their tales on the road to success.

Daniel Ram of Queen’s College secured passes in 14 subjects but is yet to be named the country’s top CSEC performer since official results have not been released by the Ministry of Education.

Dev Persaud also of Queen’s College gained ten Grade One passes and one Grade Three pass. The 16-year-old resident of Lusignan said he was speechless after receiving his results. Dev described the exams as “workable” and added he was happy with his performance.

He pointed out that he had focused his attention on the School- Based Assessment (SBA) and directed his energies to grasping the concepts in the various subject areas noting that he was spared the trouble of studying excessively. Dev, a former student of the Lusignan Primary was the country’s top Secondary School Entrance Examinations (SSEE) student in 1998.

The young man who described himself as simple and dedicated was in high praise of his spiritual teacher, Pandit Anand Sriram for his inspiration, his parents for their encouragement, his teachers at school and his family. Dev, the youngest of three children said he intended to sit the GCE and CAPE examinations at Queen’s College.

Roger Sawh, also of Queen’s College said his results were not surprising since he had expectations of doing well. Roger who gained eight Grade Ones and one Grade Two pass described the exam as a fair assessment of his acquired school knowledge and added it covered a wide range of topics.

Roger, the son of Satyadeow Sawh, Minister of Agriculture and Sattie Sawh, a business consultant, celebrated his seventeenth birthday on Sunday. He pointed out that during the final months before exams, which he described as crucial, his family was instrumental in his preparation. According to the young man his grandmother’s faith in him and his parents’ lessons in English A and Accounting were all the motivation he needed to excel.

An ardent sports lover and debating enthusiast, Sawh of La Bonne Intention said he led his school to the national debating competitions last year and QC emerged winners. Roger described himself as chatty and pleasant and said he enjoyed reading and surfing the net.

For 17-year-old Aliya Bulkhan the exam was “challenging”. She secured eight Grade One passes and two Grade Two passes. The student of Queen’s College said she was in disbelief when she first learnt of her grades but allowed the feeling to sink in.

Aliya who shared the honours as the country’s top SSEE student in 1998 along with Persaud said she put tremendous effort into her studies and had hoped for a good performance. She described herself as compassionate and funny.

She thanked her teachers and parents for their dedication noting her parents were supportive the whole time. Aliya, a former student of St. Margaret’s Primary, said she enjoyed reading in her spare time.

Abiola Jacobs emerged top CSEC student of the Bishop’s High School having secured nine Grade One passes and two Grade Two passes. The young resident of Kitty said she was a bit disappointed with her grade two passes but was content with her overall results.

She said the exam was challenging and that she had worked towards doing well. A former student of Stella Maris Primary Abiola said she was an ordinary person but often mistaken for a nerd. According to the young woman she is no bookworm since she finds equal time for academics and sports.

Abiola said she enjoyed dancing, yoga and exercising in her spare time. She pointed out that her parents and God played a key role in her success. According to Abiola, her teachers and friends were also supportive.

Sixteen-year-old Preeta Saywack also of Bishops’ High said her hard work paid off in the end. Preeta gained seven Grade One passes, one Grade Two pass and one Grade Three pass. She said she balanced her studies with lessons and in-the-class revision.

An active volleyball player, elocutionist and debater she said her spare hours were spent doing what she loved best.

Preeta praised God for his guidance, her parents for their encouragement and her friends for their support. A former student of Stella Maris Primary, Preeta is off to the University of Guyana come September to further her studies in Biochemistry.

George Thomas of Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara emerged second top performer of Bishops’ High School gaining eight Grade One passes, two Grade Two passes and one Grade Three pass. The former student of St. Margaret’s Primary said he was overwhelmed with his performance.

George pointed out that he was forced to study with lamps due to constant power outages in his area. He recalled using coffee to stay awake and complete his SBA’s. The young man said the exam was fairly okay and added that he found it easier than he had anticipated.

George said his mother, Eunice, was his pillar of strength and was always there for him. He added that his family and teachers also supported him every step of the way. He enjoys debating, impromptu speaking, chess and soccer.

Sasha Baxter of Bishops’ High School said she was overjoyed with her performance. The young resident of Queenstown said she was focused during her lessons at school and continuously revised at every chance she got. She obtained seven Grade One passes and two Grade Two passes.

According to the young woman she had prepared well and was not disappointed with her results. The 17-year-old said she did however expect a grade one in Mathematics and not a grade two since she always excelled in that area.

The former student of St.Gabriel’s Primary said she found some of the subjects difficult but gave them her best shot. Sasha who described herself as shy and simple said her parents were supportive of her efforts.

For 16-year-old Rhiad Gadraj of Queen’s College perseverance led him to success. He said he worked arduously and remained focused on what he wanted to achieve. Rhiad, who gained seven Grade One passes and three Grade Two passes, said he was not surprised with his results since he had expected that much.

Rhiad said he studied for long hours into the night and prayed hard for guidance. He described himself as diligent and honest and praised Allah for his direction. The young man said his teachers particularly Lennox Caleb were dedicated and that alone motivated him to do well. Rhiad, the eldest of three said his parents were always there and guided him along the way.

Gina Arjoon of the School of the Nations said that though her teachers had predicted she would be among the country’s top performers she hoped for a satisfactory performance and remained sceptical. The 16-year-old who emerged top student of her school gained eight Grade One passes, all distinctions.

The young woman, who has received the Principal’s Award at her school every year for maintaining an 80 per cent average, said she studied primarily from her textbooks and did extensive research on the internet. Gina, the daughter of Maurice Arjoon, Director Secretary of the New Building Society and Janick Arjoon, a business consultant, said she held the head prefect position at her school. Gina said the exam was a bit tricky but fairly okay. She described herself as a typical girl who was disciplined in her studies.

The young woman said her parents dedicated their time to her and were supportive in every possible way. She said God was there for her and her teachers guided her. Gina will further her studies in Economics at the University of Guyana come September.