President’s College continues to excel despite difficulties
By Daniel Da Costa
Stabroek News
November 5, 2003

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Eighteen years after President’s College opened its doors to seventy-two of the country’s top SSEE performers, it continues to produce high-calibre students despite a number of difficulties and challenges.

Last Thursday the college held its 18th anniversary and 14th graduation exercise on its sprawling lawns at Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara, with the usual pomp and ceremony. The school’s Principal Stanley Lewis in his introductory remarks referred to the past academic year as “a very challenging one” for the college. “Social unrest in the country and particularly on the East Coast,” he noted, “impacted on the normal operations of the college. This institution has had to rise to these challenges and we have weathered the storm.”

Amidst the difficulties including a staff shortage, financial constraints and limited resources, the college was declared “the most Improved Senior Secondary School in Guyana” for the year 2003 at the National Awards Ceremony hosted by the Minister of Education.

Last year, the college secured 81% passes in Grades I-III, and this year it increased that to 88%. Of the 66 students who wrote five subjects and more at the CXC examinations, 97% were successful in passing five or more subjects with Grades I-III passes. Last year 100% passes were secured in ten subject areas while this year 100% passes were attained in twelve subject areas. There was a 96% pass rate at the English A examination, 89% in English B, 91% in Chemistry, 89% in Physics and 78% in Mathematics.

This year’s top student was Anthony Autar who secured ten passes with eight Grade Ones including English A, English B, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Information Technology and Electronic Technology. He also secured Grade 11 passes in Geography and French.

Shauna Ramcharran secured 11 subjects with Grade Ones in English A, English B, Mathematics and Agricultural Science.

Other top performers included Kiran Ramkumar with six Grade Ones, Evangeline Ramsammy with 10 subjects including five Grade Ones, Varsha Bissember, 10 subjects with five Grade Ones; Budeshwar Persaud, nine subjects including five Grade Ones; Kevon Smith, nine subjects including five Grade Ones; Lloyd Marks, eight subjects including five Grade Ones; and Gaulbert Sutherland, a hinterland scholarship student, nine subjects with five Grade Ones.

The top GCE ‘A’ Level student was Dara Holder who secured passes in Biology-B; Physics-A; Chemistry-B and Mathematics-B. Victrix Parris gained three subjects at the GCE Advanced subsidiary level, Biology-B, Chemistry-C, and Mathematics-C.

Delivering the main address at the ceremony was Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green. He extended congratulations to the principal, staff and workers who “dedicated their energies to keep up with the changing times and to make President’s College viable and worthy.”

Recalling the conceptualisation of the college, which was officially opened on September 11,1985, he noted the late President Forbes Burnham had said that if he left nothing behind but President’s College, he would feel that he had “contributed to the building of a monument more lasting than bronze.”

The college according to the mayor was deliberately set in its present location away from the bustle of urban life so that it could be conducive to study, sport, culture, community service, comradeship and production.

“All of the benefits our leaders can bring us, all of the futuristic advancement conceivable will amount to nothing if we fail to deal with the moral turpitude and spiritual weakness tending to consume our societies,” Green advised.

He also urged the graduating class to “take care of your health and the environment, be temperate, respect authority, your teachers, elders, the government and honour your parents, neither steal nor cheat, be worthy of trust, fulfill your obligation to God and the wider society, learn the value of hard work and diligence and share your culture and traditional habits and respect the religious beliefs of others.”

“Follow these guidelines faithfully and you will be truly free to enjoy lasting and abundant happiness and be the personification of excellence.”

The ceremony which began just after 4 pm was enlivened at intervals with soothing music from the school’s steel band which copped first place in the National Steel Pan Competition during Mashramani celebrations last year.