Guyanese students win regional quiz competition By Shauna Jemmott
Guyana Chronicle
June 11, 2004

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HARD work and dedication have paid off for Guyana's team of students - they recorded a landslide victory over St. Kitts and Nevis in the final round of the CARICOM Regional Quiz Competition at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) yesterday.

Their chaperone, English specialist and Headmistress of St. Joseph's High School, Ingrid Fung, said the team's hard work has paid off and she is happy that they have achieved their goal of making Guyana proud.

"We worked very hard, we were committed, we were bonded and that is why, although we are locals, we stayed at the (Hotel) Tower for two days, so that we could forge that unity and work as a team."

She said the students sacrificed a lot of school time to be a part of the competition, which they began preparing for since the beginning of this school term. But, according to Ms. Fung, "It was worth it!"

She explained that the students travelled to Trinidad and Tobago early this term for the first zonal round of competition and were successful.

"Actually we never lost any of the matches. What was a good thing for me, whenever we won, we won by a very, very large margin, all the way," Ms. Fung calmly said.

The home team scored 50 points while the visitors recorded a mere 16 points after three segments of competition featuring questions in the areas of Social Studies, Caribbean History and Knowledge of CARICOM.
The first score in yesterday's competition was made by Bishop's High School student Nicolette Boatswain, after she was asked by quizmaster Rovin Deodat to name two CARICOM countries other than Guyana with Republican status. Her correct answer, "Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago," received loud applause from the audience. That was the beginning for Boatswain, who answered the most questions in the competition and emerged winner of the 'Best overall player' spot, scoring 24 points.

When Chronicle spoke to her at the end of the day's event, Boatswain said 'God' is the first to be thanked although many others were responsible for their success also.

She recalled the moments when herself and team members had deliberately robbed themselves of sleep to succeed.

"Hard work, many nights of studying and sleepless nights. We had no sleep last night, or the night before and we lost a lot of sleep during the preliminaries."

She said in the end the team has done an excellent job at representing their beautiful land and people.

"I am proud of myself and my team because we were able to represent Guyana so well and that we've put Guyana on the map. This will definitely be a boost to our country's reputation..."

From left: Chief Education Officer Ed Caesar, CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington and Education Minister Dr. Henry Jeffrey, at yesterday's quiz finals. (GINA photo by L. Singh)

Each team was given a handbook on CARICOM, and the questions were framed from the information provided in that handbook.

Her other teammates Mariscia Charles and Jamal La Rose added 26 points to the winning score.

The home team raced their way through the first segment with its members answering all six questions to score 18, leaving St. Kitts with no score even after a few attempts by its members at answering questions.

After the second round in which both teams were questioned on Caribbean History, the visiting team scored 14 points and Guyana only added two to their previous score.

By then competition became close, but Guyana's team forged ahead in the final CARICOM segment answering most of the questions posted, leaving their opponents, who just added two points to their score, far behind.

Competition was finished, and it was clear that Guyana had won.

Guyana and St. Kitts reached the finals after they both won their rounds of competition against Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines respectively at the semi-finals Wednesday at the NCC.

In the semis against Jamaica Wednesday, Guyana scored 57, leaving Jamaica with just 21 points. The home team's highest scorer in that competition was Mariscia Charles with 24 points, and Jamaica's Danielle Pottinger was the leading scorer for her team with 12.

Competition with Guyana and Jamaica was exciting and members of the audience were at the edge of their seats as the scores of both teams kept on overtaking the other, question by question in the first segment. The teams recorded a tie in the first segment.

In segment two, Guyana moved up three points ahead of Jamaica on 19, scoring 22. At this point there was no turning back for the trio that made up the home side.

Meanwhile, in the St. Kitts and Nevis match up against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the winner recorded some 40 points, beating St. Vincent and the Grenadines by 10 to find their way into the finals against Guyana.

St. Kitts was the follower in the first segment of their competition in which they recorded only five points in response to 14 scored by the Vincentians.

The team made up of high scorer Ghanja O'Flaherty, Damian Walters and Kenrod Roberts moved ahead by 11 points leaving the other team with no additional score at the end of the second segment, and after the final segment they emerged champions in that match.

O'Flaherty, the lone female in the St. Kitts and Nevis team emerged the highest scorer in that round with 19 and Caletra Ferdinand of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was her team's highest scorer with 14 points.

Wednesday, Myrna Bernard who is Programme Manager of Human Resources Development at CARICOM announced that the quiz is one of the events to commemorate CARICOM 30th anniversary.

She said the competition affords students within CARICOM the opportunity to learn about the region and make them well informed Caribbean people.

"This exercise will not only provide entertainment for you but encourage you to learn more about the (Caribbean) community. ..."You cannot be a good member of the community if you don't know about it," the Caribbean woman said.

Chairperson and International Quizmaster Rovin Deodat had announced the day before too that the competition which is the first in the region to be televised throughout the Caribbean, is being sponsored by CARICOM in collaboration with the Education Ministries of all the participating countries.

It started last month with preliminary rounds staged in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.