Oct 27, 2013 News
By Gary Eleazar
“You made your communities proud; you made Essequibo proud and you made Guyana proud.” These were among the words of praise, encouragement and gratitude that were heaped on Guyana’s two outstanding students at the most recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination. They graduated from school on Friday last.
Yogeeta Persaud and Zimeena Rasheed, both of the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School, were adjudged the two most outstanding in the Caricom region, securing between them 36 grade one passes at one sitting.
Persaud was aedjudged the Top Overall CSEC Student in the Caribbean, while Rasheed secured the Best Technical Vocational CSEC Student.
Rasheed was also the Valedictorian for her school and was adjudged the best graduating student.
The graduation ceremony was attended by several of the Education Ministry’s top brass and scores of proud parents and supportive students.
The Charge to the graduates was delivered to the students by University of Guyana Lecturer, Kurt Gonsalves while the feature address was delivered by Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.
PROGRESS NOT AUTOMATIC
Punctuated by inspirational renditions of music from students and melodious steelpan pieces by students of the New Opportunity Corps, 172 students observed their rites of passage out of secondary school. They were presented with Diplomas, Certificates and a host of awards.
Head master of the now premier secondary school in Region Two, Lalljet Ruplall, described the past academic year as an extremely successful one.
He reminded them of the words of the late Martin Luther King who had said “that human progress is not automatic or inevitable, it requires sacrifice.”
In his headmaster’s report, Ruplall gave an update of the activities and triumphs that the school would have achieved over the year, including participating in Mashramani and a host of other co-curricular activities and competitions such as dance, debate and sports.
He presented an analysis of the results of the 172 students that wrote the CSEC examination across the 28 subject areas offered by the school.
Ruplall spoke of the 100 per cent pass rates in Economics, Agricultural Science and Biology.
According to Ruplall, the performance of the top two was not only remarkable but also history making.
He said that this is the first time in history that any student would have written this many subjects at the CSEC level.
Rasheed wrote 20 subjects and passed all, securing 18 grade ones in the process.
A great deal of the success of the students, according to Ruplall, has to be attributed also to the dedicated service of the teachers of the school as well as the close involvement of the parents in the activities of the institution.
Following the head master’s report, a group song and the distribution of Diplomas, the packed venue turned their attention to the featured speaker of the evening, who immediately reminded the top achievers that their performance was not only the best in Guyana but also in the entire Caribbean.
For this achievement, Nandlall said, they have made not only their parents, community and county proud, but alsothe nation at large.
The performance of the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School represents a paradigm shift in the education system in Guyana, he said.
This shift, he said, is directly related to the level of investments being plugged in the schools across the nation to the point where this year the single largest allocation for any sector was in education.
He said that it is no longer a case where schools perceived to be the ‘top schools’ are in Region Four and would receive preferential treatment.
“Twenty years ago when results were announced only a few exclusive schools in Georgetown excelled. The people who could have afforded to go to those schools were by and large the children of middle and upper class people and persons who enjoyed a particular economic standing in our country, so only those schools were producing those exceptional result.”
This, Nandlall said, has changed, and added that gone are the days when teachers in certain schools would be unable to effectively discharge their duties because of a lack of chalk among other necessities.
“Because of the systematic change in both strategy and allocation of resources we see the results that we are seeing,” said Nandlall.
GUYANA NEEDS YOU
He said that in today’s environment, the children of ordinary working people all across the country are exposed to the type of quality education that was once only available in Georgetown.
Nandlall did concede that that the education system is not in the most pristine state and that there still is a lot of work to be done, “but phenomenal progress has been made and that must be recognized and acknowledged.”
In his message to the graduating class, Nandlall also pleaded with the students to recognize that they have a duty to develop their community and country as a whole utilizing the education they would have secured.
“You have a duty to your country…Too many of our talented people are going elsewhere; we need you to stay and use your talent and exceptional ability. Use your education to mould your community, Essequibians, and your country.”
“Guyana needs you…we are investing in young people because you are the future of our country.”
Champion debater and impromptu speaker, Rasheed, the 2013 Valedictorian, reminded her fellow graduates that departing Secondary School did not mean that the journey was over.
“Rising to pinnacle,” she said, was no easy feat and that it required hard work, dedication and “burning the midnight oil.”
She said that the results that have emanated from the graduating class of 2013 of the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School, demonstrate the quality of work done at the institution.
“It shows that with every stakeholder involved our school can do as well or even better than any other school in Guyana.”
In crediting the teachers and institution, Rasheed said that in many instances there are cases where there are limitations such as inadequate resources but what makes the difference, according to the Valedictorian, is how those resources are maximized.
“I believe that the administration and staff did this quite well through my five years at Anna Regina Multilateral School.”
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