QC student tops Caribbean at CSEC
-Nations girl best in business studies
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
September 25, 2003

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Queen’s College student, Guyanese Daniel Ram is the Caribbean’s most outstanding entrant at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Ram has also won the awards for the Most Outstanding Candidate in the Humanities and the Most Outstanding Candidate in the Sciences.

Another Guyanese, School of the Nations student, Gina Arjoon won the award for the Most Outstanding Performance in Business Education.

A scholarship from the University of the West Indies and a cash prize are part of the awards.

The announcement was made by the Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Dr Lucy Steward, in Barbados yesterday.

When first told of his achievement by Stabroek News, Ram was elated, repeating “Oh my goodness! Wow!” six times before changing his tune to “Oh my! This is interesting.”

Ram won the award from 206 candidates who satisfied the criteria for the most outstanding candidate, Dr Steward said in a CXC release. These candidates were from Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

He sat 14 subjects and achieved General Proficiency Grade Ones in 11 subjects and Grade Twos in three subjects. He became the first student at Queen’s College and in the country to obtain 14 subjects at one sitting. He told Stabroek News that when he was filling his form to write the subjects there wasn’t enough space so the Principal, Wendel Roberts had to make special provision for his entry.

Arjoon achieved Grade Ones in eight subjects including four business subjects with all Grade `A’ profiles (distinctions).

When Stabroek News spoke with Arjoon yesterday she was on her way to classes at the University of Guyana where she is pursuing a first degree in Economics. She hopes to achieve a PhD in Economics.

She said she did not expect the award but being the first for privately-run School of the Nations had made her proud. She thanked her principal Pam O’Toole, her business teacher, Dexter Phillips and her parents Maurice and Jannick Arjoon who supported her all the way. She felt that her parents and the principal were more excited than her about her achievement. “Probably, it has not sunk in as yet.”

Arjoon dances with the Dharmic Naujawan which is the youth group of the Dharmic Sabha. When she got the news of her performance at the CSEC examinations, she was with her dance group on a tour in New York. She has been doing Indian dancing since she was six.

Top achiever, Ram, was at home when he got the news. However, as soon as he was composed, he placed God at the top of his list for gratitude. Writing 14 subjects, he said, was a challenge but when overburdened, his parents, Drs Chatterpaul and Ruth Ram and even his sister, currently in Fifth Form at Queen’s helped him. There were teachers who helped during the teachers strike including Lennox Caleb, himself a former top national CSEC student.

Ram is now waiting to start studies in a combination of subjects at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) and the General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations. He said he was “crazy at sports” and takes part in sprints to long distance races and other sports. Not “a party guy”, he loves music and plays the piano and drums for the Lusignan Baptist church. He is now learning to play the guitar while preparing to write the Associated Board Royal School of Music grade six examinations.

He is not sure whether to study microbiology or molecular biology, but wants to study diseases and find cures.

Other regional awardees were Glen McLean of St Elizabeth Technical High School of Jamaica, who won the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate in Technical/Vocational Education; Seon Thompson of El Dorado Senior Comprehensive School of Trinidad and Tobago, who received the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate - Visual Arts, two-dimensional work. Renair Mayers of The Lester Vaughan School of Barbados won the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate Visual Arts, three-dimensional work; Shivanie Ramlochan of St Joseph Convent in Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the prize for the Best Short Story in English `A’.

The awardees’ prize package includes a cash prize and a plaque from CXC, a dictionary with CD-ROM from Longman Publishers and a scholarship from the University of the West Indies. The awards will be presented when CXC holds its annual council meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in December.

The students can take up the scholarship if UWI accepts them under the lower level matriculation requirements. The scholarship includes full tuition if the recipient elects to take up the award based on the CSEC results. If accepted under normal matriculation requirements, the recipient will be eligible for full tuition, maintenance and other costs.