By Feona Morrison
Of the thousands of students across the region who wrote the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), Guyana’s very own Aadilah Ali has been bestowed with the award of ‘Most Outstanding CAPE Student in the Caribbean.’ She is also the country’s top performer at this level.
Ali, now 18, of Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, and a first year medical student at the University of Guyana (UG) was on Friday awarded a Presidential Scholarship for her outstanding performance at the 2018 May/June sitting of the examinations.
She is the winner of the Dennis Irvine Award, which according to CXC, is the symbol of academic excellence at the CAPE level. She is however still shocked at her achievements and revealed that, for her, there is no recipe for being successful. “There is no recipe or shortcut to success. You have to put in the hard work,’’ the teenager noted.
Ali is the second Queen’s College student to win the Dennis Irvine Award. Another outstanding performer, Cecil Cox, was the recipient in 2015.
Ali achieved Grade I passes in Applied Mathematics Units 1 and 2, Biology Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Unit 2, Communication Studies, Environmental Science Units 1 and 2, Integrated Mathematics, Physics Units 1 and 2, Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2, and Grade II in Chemistry Unit 1.
She has also been bestowed with the award for Most Outstanding candidate in Natural Sciences. Ali fondly explained that while preparing for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), she had always been eyeing the Presidential Scholarship, and knew that she had to be very outstanding to achieve these grades.
She said that for CXC, she wrote subjects from across all the streams to increase her chances. She wrote 22 subjects and achieved 18 Grade Ones, two Grade Twos and a Grade Three. The Top CSEC student in 2016 gained 19 Grade Ones.
“I missed getting the scholarship by a Grade One. That kind of broke me, I was so depressed. One of my teachers sat with me and told me that this was not the end of the world. Her encouragement gave me a lot of motivation. I was disappointed with my CSEC grades because I didn’t get what I wanted. So, I saw writing CAPE as my second chance at getting the scholarship.”
Asked to explain what her experience was like attending the prestigious Queen’s College, she said, “There is a lot expected of you. You have to maintain a certain standard. There is this family support at QC, they always want the best for you.’’
She described her success as a ‘’team effort’’, adding that she was standing on the shoulders of giants and that it was all God’s work. She has extended gratitude to her parents, numerous teachers, brothers and friends for their unwavering support.
This scholar is still adapting to life at the University of Guyana. She confessed, ‘’It is harder than High School but that does not faze me. I won’t back out. It is like a challenge and I love challenges.’’ Ali explained that the medical programme is a five year one, and that upon completion she will do general practice before choosing a specialty.
“Since I have a profound love for the Sciences I chose this field. You have to love this to stick to it. It is no longer about self-attainment; it is about helping others and serving. This field is not only about studying medicine. It is about learning to develop relationships with your patients.’’
She advises upcoming students to not let any hurdles limit their mindsets.
‘’All this studying, working papers and taking extra lessons will benefit you in the long run.’’
The scholar revealed that although her parents did not like the idea of her writing so many subjects, they still supported her every step of the way. When Ali is not studying, she spends time reading, going to dinner and movies with family and friends and watching television.
Ali, among other students will receive their awards at the Regional Top Awards Ceremony slated for Thursday 6 December, 2018 in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Queen’s College will receive the award for CAPE School of the Year 2018.
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