West is the best at this year’s SSEE
-Ruimveldt school takes No.1 spot and six in Top 20 By Iana Seales
Stabroek News
June 30, 2004

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The results of the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) are in and it appears a resurgent force is coming from the west; that would be West Ruimveldt Primary School which took the top spot this year and six other places in the top twenty.

Traditional strong-showers St Margaret’s which had ten pupils in the top twenty in 2003, had one student in the third slot but only one other in the top twenty. And in the latest confirmation that out of town schools are pulling up their socks Taymouth Manor Primary on the Essequibo Coast took second place. Private schools also had a good showing with nine students in the top twenty.

Kia Persaud, 11, of West Ruimveldt Primary emerged the top SSEE student after securing 558 marks out of a possible 563 while the second position went to Raadesh Ramsarup of Taymouth Manor Primary with 557 marks.

West Ruimveldt grabbed the fifth, sixth and seventh positions in addition to places at fourteen, sixteen and twenty, rounding out the top places.

Taking top honours for the school were Persaud, Lisa Marie Baksh, Roberta Ferguson, Devindra Persaud, Feaz Mustapha, Olly Perreira and Shavani Ramlochan.

Approximately 17,000 candidates aged between 10 and 12 years from Primary Schools throughout the country wrote the SSEE examinations on April 7 and 8. Official results were released to schools yesterday.

Students tied for several top places with eight of them coming in at number 20. Five students placed ninth, three came in at fourteenth, a similar number tied for sixteenth and two placed seventh.

A total of 125 students from schools outside of Georgetown are eligible for entry into President’s College.

Crown jewel of West Ruimveldt

Word of her exceptional performance reached Kia at her 552 Quamina Street home and she was at a loss for words. The 11-year-old daughter of Dr. Narendra Persaud and Mala Hardeen-Persaud described her performance as unbelievable and the result of hard work.

The shy but fluent, Kia, who aspires to be a novelist, said success came after working with her parents and teachers, especially Sir Wilfred Success and Miss Africo Selman. An avid reader and ‘Jeopardy’ enthusiast, Kia said she always wanted to come out on top. Before attending West Ruimveldt, Kia spent some time at St. Agnes Primary and the Miami Christian School in Florida, USA.

Teacher Wilfred Success has been in the profession for some 15 years and has grabbed countless top places finishes in the country for more than a decade. He told Stabroek News that his class this year were avid readers and credited this for their achievements.

He said that last year was a difficult one since the teachers’ strike had impacted on them. According to Success, his love for teaching takes him to the classroom each day and drives him to educate with total commitment.

Over at the school, 11 year-old Lisa Marie Baksh, who placed fifth in the country with 551 marks, was jumping for joy. Initially stunned by the results, Lisa almost fainted but now accepts that her hard work has paid off.

A resident of Hogg Street, Albouystown and the second of four children, Lisa loves to read Nancy Drew mystery books and watches television in her spare time. She sang the praises of Sir Success and thanked God.

For the lady-like Roberta Ferguson of 65 Burnham Street, Plaisance her sixth place with 550 marks was surprising. The 11-year-old said she put her best foot forward and hoped for the best.

The youngest of six children and a history lover, Roberta said that she has read extensively on Guyana’s struggle for independence and feels a sense of pride for her ancestors. She thanked Sir Success and parents, Robert Ferguson and Natalia Benjamin who guided her to the achievement.

Assertive Devindra Persaud, 11, of 25 Essequibo Avenue, D’Aguiar Park firmly said that he has done what he planned all along. The young man who came joint seventh in the country with 549 marks said Sir Success predicted his top ten finish and made him believe.

According to the cricket enthusiast, Sir Success’ faith in him and his parent’s support guaranteed success from day one. The exams were a bit challenging, Devindra said, but he applied what was done in class and emerged a victor. Devindra is the son of Banks DIH Manager, Nankumar Persaud and mother, Kamala Persaud.

Sky’s the limit for budding astronomer

“My feeling is indescribable and I am very elated to be in the top ten,” said 11-year-old Robyn Thomas who placed seventh with 549 marks.

Thomas, who attends the Concord Academy Primary School in New Market Street, told Stabroek News she hopes to become an astronomer after hopefully completing her studies at Princeton Univer-sity. Thomas had first attended North Georgetown Primary but moved to the Concord Academy last September. She lives in Tucville and is the last child of her parents, who have two other daughters and two sons.

Stephan Wong from the Stella Maris Primary School, who took ninth place with 548 marks, said he knew he did his best and that the examination was very easy. Wong who lives in Gordon Street, Kitty and has attended the Stella Maris Primary School since nursery has hopes of becoming a doctor.

Wong told Stabroek News that he is also the last child of his parents. He is not sure if he is going to finish off his studies in Guyana after completing his CSEC examinations. The favourite subject of both scholars is mathematics.

West Ruimveldt’s Feaz Mustapha, who was only told that he had done well, but later learned that he placed 14th in the country, was so overcome with emotion he could not sit still. The 11 year-old of Third Street, Alexander Village scored 547 marks and a place at his target school, Queen’s College.

He said a few questions were tricky in the exam but he handled them. A serious cricketer, Feaz said that he would usually get a bunch of friends together and play in his spare time. He repeatedly thanked Sir Success and his parents.

Another West Ruimveldt student, Olly Perreira was fighting to control her joy. The 11-year-old student of 594 West Ruimveldt placed 16th with 546 marks. Olly said that the performance is one that her parents had hoped for and she had prayed for.

Olly said she studied a lot for the exams but had relaxing moments. She said Sir Success was a great teacher who made her believe in herself. She is an ardent reader of Nancy Drew books and the third of four children.

Result is music to Michelle’s ears

Earning a merit award in the Royal School of Music practical piano test just a few weeks before the start of the exams, was a real confidence booster for Michelle Ford who got 545 marks.

Ford is a 12-year-old Marian Academy student who would like to attend either Bishop’s High School or Queens College.

When she got the news, Ford, who lives in Campbellville, said, “I was very excited because I think I have done well.” She said she worked hard and studied at school up to 2.30 pm, then took school lessons from 3 to 4 pm, and went to another round of lessons between 5 pm and 6.30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Michelle enjoys collecting dolls, stickers, and reading as well as playing the piano. She would like to become a fashion designer and own a boutique and hair salon.

She was promised a trip to Disneyland if she succeeded at the exams and credits her teachers Mr Gonsalves and Mrs Rampersaud for her success.

I felt overjoyed...I was overwhelmed...” said Ana Correia, the well-spoken Mae’s Under-12 student who scored 544 marks to place among the top twenty.

Extra lessons after school and studying some nights have paid off for the 11-year-old whose favourite subjects are Mathematics and Science.

The elder of two children, Ana lives with her parents, Carol Ann, Managing Director of Kiskadee Couriers and Christopher Correia, Managing Director of Intraserv Inc. at Courida Park, East Coast Demerara.

At the moment, she is undecided about a career choice but plans on keeping her options open. In her spare time, Ana enjoys computer games, chatting online with friends, listening to music and watching television.

She expressed appreciation for the support of her parents, other family members, all the teachers at Mae’s, especially Miss Annette Lowe, and her friends during her preparation for SSEE.

Islamic school moving on up

Eleven-year-old Bibi Naziyhah Rahim, an aspiring Islamic scholar, could hardly believe her ears when she got the news she had scored 544 points. “I was surprised at first but after the news [sank in]...I just felt really good. I had to thank my God,” said Bibi, a student of the ISA Islamic School on East Street, Georgetown.

The 11-year-old, who made the top twenty was engaged in a prayer session when Stabroek News visited to conduct the interview.

She is the fifth child of Nazirene and Abdool Jamal Rahim, a butcher of Canal No. 2 Polder, West Bank Demerara. Mathematics and Science are Bibi’s favourite subjects and during her free time, she loves to read.

“I’d like to thank God, my parents, sister and brothers, teachers and the school principal Brother Haseeb Yusuf and all my other relatives and friends,” Bibi said, adding that it is important to study consistently in order to attain high marks at any level of school.

A mere four marks behind her with 540, Bibi’s cousin, Salma Ibrahim, also aged 11, was the ISA Islamic School’s other top performer.

Bibi scored 544 while Salma, her constant competitor throughout their years at school, attained 540.

Salma was happy with her results: “I was totally surprised...I am really excited because I know that everyone is proud of me.”

Salma’s interests include reading, meeting people and unlike her more easy-going cousin, sports. But like Bibi, her favourite subjects are Mathematics and Science.

Also the fifth child in her immediate family, Salma lives at 218 Munipur Street, Prashad Nagar in Georgetown with her parents, Rehanna and Ishmael Ibrahim.

Baker’s son delivers

Jonathan Munian, a student of Mae’s Under-12 Primary School said he worked hard to make the top twenty with 544 marks.

Munian, whose father manages a bakery, recalled he used to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to study. “When the workers came in at 1 am there is an alarm that normally woke me up.” In addition to this he took extra lessons and did some studying before going to bed in the evenings and on weekends too.

Jonathan would like to attend Queen’s College and hopes to become a lawyer later in life because, “there are a lot of cases going on in Guyana right now and I want to help out.”

Some of the things he enjoys doing are reading, solving puzzles, and doing research on the Internet.

He was promised a V-60 cell phone and a vacation in Canada if he did well. He credits his parents Theresa and John Munian of Middleton St, Campbellville as well as his teachers with his success.

West Ruimveldt’s Shavani Ramlochan of 315 Independence Boulevard said she did close to four hours of extra work everyday leading up to exams and prayed for good results. Sir Success was encouraging her to come out on top, Shivani said. Shavani, the elder of two girls for parents Dorothy and Chitram Ramlochan, usually relaxes by watching television.

As for 11-year-old Elson Low of the New Guyana School who celebrates his birthday today, the results came as the perfect gift. The eloquent young man who placed 20th with 544 marks said that he was elated after receiving the news. Elson said he leapt for joy and felt pleased with the performance.

He hopes to someday become an architectural engineer and pursue his love for drawing. Elson said his mother was with him all the way and he had the unwavering support of teacher Shirley Green. He is an ardent reader and collector of Hardy Boys novels. Born with only one arm, Elson said he aspires to achieve the insurmountable.

The New Guyana School’s Natalia Gonsalez, who placed fourth overall with 552 marks, was singing praises to God for her success.

The eloquent Colombian national, who just celebrated her birthday three days ago, now looks forward to starting the new term at Queen’s College, where she has earned herself a place.

“I feel great, happy, that I got such a high mark... [The exam] was rather challenging. I had studied a lot and I was very prepared,” she said in a telephone interview from Miami, where she is on vacation.

Natalia, who enjoys reading, biking and skating in her spare time, hopes to become a plastic surgeon one day, to help people born with birth defects, like her 15-month old brother. He was born with conjoined toes and she says she wants to help the families that have to go through such experiences.

(Additional reporting by Edlyn Benfield, Afeefah Stuart, Christopher Yaw and Andre Haynes.)