Seventeen year old Hananel Valerie of the St. Mary’s academy has topped the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination with eleven ones and one two.
Seven hundred and forty eight candidates sat the exams this year with three hundred and forty five males and four hundred and three females.
Fifty students from ten secondary schools obtained six or more grade ones in the CSEC exams.
Mr. Valerie says he is excited to have accomplished a goal that he has worked hard towards. He thanked his family, friends and teachers for the support that they gave him.
“To be quite honest, it was something that I have dreamt of, something that I really worked towards, but at one point I have to admit I wasn’t too sure that it was going to happen. But I am happy. I can’t really describe the emotions right now, but it has been a long couple of months from since the beginning of fifth form and I am just joyful and kind of speechless. I just want to thank God because He has helped me through this period; even at times that I felt I couldn’t go further, I felt that I got a second wind. I want to thank my parents who have supported me and have done so much for me. I want to thank my teachers, my friends, and my family, who have helped me even at the times when I needed someone to carry me through. So I just want to thank everyone for their support and it’s an honour that I can represent my school and my country,” Valerie stated.
Mr. Valerie says he used the covid-19 pandemic as a period to grow.
“I used it to grow. I focused more on what I could get out of the situation instead of the situation itself. And I want to use that to encourage people that whatever you might be facing, don’t only look at the negative but look at how you can get through it, because every time you climb a mountain, it’s not to weaken you but it to strengthen you. In life you are going to find many obstacles but the real success is when you can get through them and actually be confident that you can get through more of them,” Valerie explained.
Mr. Valerie aims to become a forensic scientist in the future. He is currently majoring in biology, physics and chemistry at the Dominica State College. The young scholar encouraged other male students to remain focused on their goals during their academic career.
“It’s focus that needs to be the primary goal for males, because I know a lot of talented males but sometimes we get caught up in the male stereotypes that seem to define us so I just want to encourage them to stay focused. If you know that what you are doing is to help you and to help those around you, keep to your goal. Don’t let people distract you with things that might seem pleasurable now; instead focus on what you know is right for you. Don’t give in to peer pressure and get yourself with people that will help you, that will push you, that will encourage ypu and will stand by you,” Valerie added.
Sixteen year old Kyra Edwards of the Convent High School also secured eleven grade ones.
Miss. Edwards says while the covid-19 pandemic presented a challenge, she used the time away from school to do independent studying and better prepare herself for the CSEC exams.
“Personally, I was very happy that we had all that extra time to study, because I felt like it gave me more of a chance to really internalize the information that we had covered in class, and to go beyond that. So there was time for a lot of independent study and I felt I got enough time to just understand the material,” Edwards stated.
N’Dalia Laudat of the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School was also elated to be a part of the top ten students.
She thanked her teachers and her family for their support, before encouraging other students to remain focused in the face of adversity.
”Personally, I want to thank God for His strength, protection and guidance. I want to thank my parents, my friends and my teachers at the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School for pushing me and believing me. Regardless of the challenges you should always remain focused and dedicated and determined to get what they want. If you put in the work, you will get what you worked for,” Ms. Laudat noted.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Honourable Octavia Alfred congratulated the students on their success saying that their achievement is testament to their hard work.
“I extend congratulations to the schools, teachers, principals, parents, and others that form part of the student’s support system. Most importantly I congratulate the students who deserve credit for believing in their own abilities, and putting in the necessary work to achieve these results. There achievement is testament to their courage, hard work and perseverance. I wish also to register my appreciation for the work of the CXC Local Registrar and other officials of the Ministry of Education who in one way or another assisted in the administration of these exams. I look forward to our students continuing to make us proud,” Minister Alfred stated.
Assistant Chief Education Officer, Dr. Jeffery Blaize says the ministry and citizens should celebrate the resilience of the students.
“We are happy because not only are we celebrating the achievements of our students, but we are celebrating resilience with all the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic. The covid experience has brought about significant challenges for the education system, both at the local level in terms of examinations and the regional level. But throughout these challenging periods, our schools, our teachers, our students and our parents have demonstrated remarkable resilience and flexibility,” Dr. Blaize added.