The air was filled with excitement at the Regma Primary School yesterday morning when it was confirmed that the number one student in the country at this year’s Grade Six examination was one of its own.
Terron Alleyne of Amelia’s Ward and a student of the Mackenzie, Linden school, shocked all of Linden when it was announced that he had pipped an ABC Academy student to gain the number one position at the Grade Six examinations this year with a score of 537 marks.
Two other Regma Primary School students also gained places among the top twenty for the country. Carol Hopkinson who got the third position along with two others scored 534 marks and Teryka Mohabir came in at 6th with two others with 533 marks. A total of eight students from the school gained places among the top one hundred.
Terron told Stabroek News that he was at home when he got the news and was totally shocked. He said that he was very committed to his studies even as he made time to play. Alleyne said that it was a lot of hard work for him and his peers who attended extended hours of extra classes. “I didn’t expect to top but I knew I was going to do well.” The child lives with his older sister since his mother resides overseas and his father has been back and forth working at different locations around the country. All his teachers and sibling said that from grade one he has been an ‘A’ student, never getting below 80%.
“I am not at all surprised because I know that I worked really hard” said Carol Hopkinson, the Queen’s College-bound student. She said that throughout her primary school years she had been doing well but got even more serious with her commitment to her school work when she entered grade six. Hopkinson said that her parents and teachers are to be complimented greatly for the success of her and her peers because they had put their all into ensuring that they grasped every concept taught.
The story was not much different for Teryka Mohabir who also complimented her parents and teachers. “I feel proud of myself, finally all the hard work has paid off”, said Mohabir who found it difficult to stop smiling and laughing at intervals. The elated Mohabir said that at times it seemed that her class teacher Cheryl Wills was doing too much but said that she was now rewarded for the sacrifice. She noted that it is a practice that children credit their parents for their success whether or not they supported them 100%. She said that in her case it was not just talk but her parents were 100% with her throughout the grade 6. She attended several support class sessions after school and would be home after 10pm every night. She is confident that her parents will be doing all in their power to ensure that she attends Queen’s College despite living in Linden.
Speaking with Stabroek News, Grade 6 class teacher Cheryl Wills said that throughout the 6th grade, Terron would place 3rd and 4th in class with the girls always being ahead of him, Carol Hopkinson and Teryka Mohabir being among them.
Wills was almost speechless yesterday morning when she got the news. She recalled taking the Stabroek News edition with the top students in the country for 2010 to school. “I walked to school with that paper and showed them and I told them that next year (this year) their photographs have to be there, my God the children made sure that they are now going to be in that papers.”
Head Teacher Mary Haywood said that it was out of love that they worked very hard with the pupils. She said that she, like others, was shocked that Terron topped the country. “We were very confident that we were going to have the top for the Region but to our surprise we topped the country and we are very proud.”
Regional Chairman and Chairman of the Regional Education Committee Mortimer Mingo was on hand to congratulate the pupils, head and other teachers of the school. He spoke of the great turn around in the performances by pupils this year in comparison to that of 2010 where there was not one student among the top one hundred positions for the country.
PTA president Dennis ‘Jafar’ Muhammed was present at the school yesterday morning to share in the celebrations and to congratulate the young man. He said that parents must be congratulated for the dedication shown to their children. “I want to compliment all the parents and this is testimony that parental support is key in any child’s success.” One of Muhammed’s children who also wrote the exams this year gained a place at Queen’s College.
The challenges ahead have already been grabbing the attention of the Linden authorities. Mingo and Muhammed alluded to the difficulties experienced by parents in meeting the needs of their children who would have gained places at schools out of Linden.
In many instances students awarded places at schools out of Linden are more often than not placed at the senior high school in Linden, the Mackenzie High. They would have spoken of the hardship in finding a safe home to accommodate them in areas out of Linden. “Parents complained of their children not being able to study comfortably because whoever they are they most times complain of the high cost of electricity.”
Next is the issue of transportation. The cost for children commuting every day from Linden to Georgetown for school could become very prohibitive for some parents. Mingo said that he is aware of a number of students who travel daily from Linden to Georgetown to attend school and they are not comfortable with it. He said that as a regional body they will be looking at possible initiatives to assist these parents. “We are not speaking of only students going to Queen’s College but other top schools in the country.” stated Mingo.
Mingo said that he was happy to note that there were other children from other schools in the region who would have made it in the top one hundred for the country. Those children are from Regma Primary, Shebikie Jackson with 528 marks; One Mile Primary, Alleema Shahabudeen 527; Watooka Primary, Resa Retemyer 526; Aliyah Gill, Regma Primary 525; Cherrise Duke, 524 and Abraham Rodrigues, 524 Amelia’s Ward Primary; St. Aidan’s Primary, Randolph Jacobis 523; One Mile Primary, Glennissa Derrel and Shanice Henry both with 522 marks; Jumal Sampson, Amelia’s Ward 521; Lennise Simpson, St. Aidan’s 520; Stephon Warner , Amelia’s Ward 519; Aliyah Thom and Sion Hodge, Regma Primary and Saaliha Majid, Watooka Primary 519 and Finesse Hamilton, Regma Primary 518.
Word quickly spread throughout Linden of the accomplishment of the Regma students. The school was swamped with phone calls all day. Several persons took time off to visit the school to catch a glimpse of the top performers and to congratulate the teachers. “I want my child to come to Regma next year” said several persons who reside out of the school’s catchment area.
Out on the streets the number one pupil’s photograph was printed off the SN website and circulated making his identity known to persons. The moment he left school and was in the Market his little hands were overwhelmed with shakes and his cheeks plastered with kisses. “This is indeed a proud moment for all of us in Linden.” said one businessman. “We have to come together and have a big celebration for these children in Linden as soon as possible,” said another.
Proprietor of the On The Spot ice cream shop John Rogers, having been moved by the young man’s performance , committed to the child two months of supplies of any of the ice products available at his business. “If he wants to come every day all day I give him that free option to take whatever he wish from my business.” Rogers said that he was moved by the humility of Alleyne.
He opened his freezer and told him to take whatever he wanted. “He hesitated and then he just took a popsicle and tucked it in his pocket, smiled and moved on.”