By Samaria Deonauth and Desilon Daniels
New Guyana School student Jorrel De Santos topped the country at this year’s National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), leading a crowd of high scoring performers from private schools.
De Santos, 12, gained the top spot among the 15,277 students who were entered for the assessment, scoring 533 marks out of a possible 540 marks accrued from Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science examinations.
After hearing the news, De Santos said he was both surprised and overjoyed. “At least my studying paid off and God didn’t disappoint me,” he reflected.
He noted the saying “God helps those who help themselves” and believed that his performance was a testament to his diligence. “Due to the difficulties I had in some areas I did not expect to do so well,” he explained. “Even though I sacrificed a lot of things in order to study, I tried to keep my life balanced,” he also said. De Santos, who plans on attending Queen’s College, was very thankful for those who helped him along the way, especially his teachers, whom he said were instrumental in his success.
#2 – Aliah Mohamed (531 marks) – School of the Nations
A shy Mohamed said that she was thrilled and excited by the news. “I was very surprised when I heard that I got second in the country,” she added. The entire experience of preparing and writing the examinations had been a challenging one, she said, filled with lots of hard work both at home and at school. However, she was ecstatic that her hard work paid off.
#3 – Ravi Singh (530 marks) – Westfield Prep
Eleven-year-old Singh said that he knew he would’ve done well at this year’s NGSA. Nevertheless, he felt “over the world” at his accomplishment. He explained that it had been “a stressing journey” filled with late nights, lots of lessons, and multiple sacrifices. “There was hardly any time to rest,” Ravi said. He advised students who would sit the NGSA to “brave up; you can’t stay down. Just do your best.” The young boy also thanked his family, teachers, and friends for their support.
#4 – Isaac Mallompati, (527 marks) – New Guyana School
Mallompati, a student of the New Guyana School, said that even though he “didn’t expect to place so high” he was “confident that he would get into Queen’s College. The 11-year-old, who gained 527 marks in the assessment, explained that his study habits included going to lessons and studying into the wee hours of the night. He lamented that he “wasn’t allowed to use the computer or play video games” but he believed that the lack of these distractions allowed him to excel.
#5 – Analise Samaroo (525 marks) – School of the Nations
Though she had been nervous during the exams, it did not stop Samaroo from scoring in the top five of the country. “I was not too sure about how I would do but now I’m proud of myself,” she said. She is looking forward to her new school, especially after the many late nights and lots of reading she had endured to achieve it. She encouraged the next batch of NGSA students to “work hard to get where I’m going.”
#6 – Krystal Singh (524 marks) – Success Elementary
“I never thought I would’ve made it to the Top 10; I thought I would just be in the Top 20,” said Singh. “I feel very shocked and surprised. I feel very relieved to know that I did all of this and it paid off.” The 11-year-old credited her triumph to “hard work every day” coupled with many sacrifices. “Every day I would pray to God and I’m so relieved to know that he did this for me,” she said. Singh, who is an aspiring architect, thanked her teachers and her family for their support throughout the years.
#6 Jeremiah Bentham, (524 marks) – Winfer Gardens Primary
11-year-old Bentham explained that he experienced a few emotions when he first heard the results. He said, “I was surprised with the results but happy at the same time.” He related that to complement what he learnt in school, he would do quite a lot. “Every morning I’d wake up at 4 and my mother would help me study until it was time to leave. When I went home, we would revise again,” he explained. Bentham expressed his gratitude to his mother and his teachers, “especially Miss Dawn Chandler,” for his success.
#6 – Jeron Boucher (524 marks) – Genesis Early Childhood Education Centre
The 11-year-old said that he was in school when he heard the news of his performance from his teacher’s radio yesterday morning. “I felt very happy, elated and excited,” Boucher noted. He said that he had sacrificed his novels, gave up television and sleep in order to study. “I am much more alert in the mornings so I used to awake at 4:30 am to study, which paid off,” he explained. Describing the examinations as “not really difficult,” the young man said it was no surprise that he got enough marks to gain entry to Queen’s College in light of his consecutive first place ranking at his school in the past.
#9 – Shania De Groot (523 marks) – Success Elementary
De Groot, an aspiring lawyer or doctor, explained that she had been watching the television with her younger brother for the news of the NGSA results. When the young girl heard her name, she was astounded. “I hadn’t expected to do so well,” she said. “I would usually do well but not so good.” She added, “There are no words to explain how I feel.” She thanked her mother, God, and her teacher, Wilfred Success, for her accomplishment.
#9 – Reuben Stanley, (523 marks) – Mae’s Under 12
“I’ll be going to QC [Queen’s College] and following in my parent’s footsteps,” declared Stanley, who was pleased with both his score and gaining entry to the school. “I’m really not too surprised with the results because I thought the exams would be difficult and they weren’t,” he added. For him, the assessment was all about strategy. He explained that “as long as you learn all the tricks and try not to be overconfident and study, then it’s easy.” He did say that it wasn’t all a walk in the park as he had to stay focused and give up quite a lot of things to make time to study.
#11 – Thomas Singh (522 marks) – Marian Academy
Singh claimed to be “quite shocked” to have done so well. He said, “Before the exam, there was a lot of anxiety but during the exam I was actually quite bored.” He said, “After the exams I was ecstatic, it was such an amazing feeling of relief.” Singh added that even though he often spent many nights studying until 12, he didn’t feel like it was studying since he “really enjoys reading.” When asked about his plans, he said “I’m not really sure what I’ll do though. I’m still quite shocked that I happened to do so well.” Singh was informed that should he choose to continue attending Marian Academy, he would be granted a full scholarship.
#11 – Emily De Agrella (522 marks) – Mae’s Under 12
Emily De Agrella said that she “thought the exams were easy, except for Science.” She said that was the only subject which she found “a little difficult.” However, finding the examinations easy wasn’t something that happened by chance, she
explained, because she studied a lot. She said “I did a lot of extra lessons in school. I even came in on Saturdays to study. I even had to give up my favorite TV shows but I’m happy because it was worth it.”
#11 – Arielle Lewis (522 marks) – St Margaret’s Primary
Even though 12-year-old Lewis was intimidated by the exams, it did not prevent her from securing the 11th position in the top 20 students with 522 marks. She said, “God gave me the courage to get through it along with my parents and teachers which helped me succeed.” Preparation for the exams were intensive, Lewis said. “I really missed watching TV, since I spent so much time studying I couldn’t look at my shows,” she noted. Lewis was especially thankful to her mother, who was always by her side.
#11 – Manoj Lachman (522 marks) – Academy of Excellence
Lachman, who was at home with his family when he received the news of his performance, said that he felt very excited upon hearing the revelation. He described the examinations as mostly easy and sometimes tricky. He went on to say that he sacrificed his television time and spent many nights of sleep to study. When asked if he expected to excel, he said that he usually places among the top four in the school and so he was a little surprised.
#11 – Amrita Ghandatt (522 marks) – Enmore Hope Primary
“I feel very happy and excited. And very surprised,” said Ghandatt. “I didn’t expect to do so well.” Ghandatt, who wants to be a scientist, said that she had made a lot of sacrifices prior to exams, including avoiding
television and staying up late at the night. She attributed her success to her mother, hardworking teachers and God. She, like many others, had been glued to the television when the grades were announced yesterday. “When I first heard I was speechless,” she said.
Aimee Ali, of Success Elementary, also shared the 11th spot.
#17 – Reyad Yassin (521 marks) – Stella Maris Primary
“I got my dream school and I will be going to Queen’s without a doubt,” said Yassin, the Head Prefect of Stella Maris Primary. Yassin said, “I was panicking before the exam but I tried to calm myself down by thinking that it was just another test. I actually found it a little easy.” Like other top students, he explained that he had to give up engaging in his favourite activities for almost two months. He said, “I even stayed up until 11 sometimes 12 in the night studying but it paid off.”
#17 – Rasheda Jeffrey (522 marks) – Green Acres Primary
The 11-year-old Jeffrey was very surprised with her results. She exclaimed, “I am so excited to go to Queen’s, I can’t believe I did so well.” She said that she had quite a few obstacles in her way but she was happy that she could overcome them. Jeffrey said, “Studying was very challenging for me. There were so many times I was tempted to go off and play or look at a show or something. I didn’t do that, though, I chose to stay home and revise.” Still reeling from surprise of her success, she disclosed, “I actually expected other students to do better than me.”
#17 – Ethan Lee (521 marks) – Marian Academy
Studying for the exams was difficult for Lee. “I had to give up a lot of the things I enjoyed doing and I spent a lot of my time studying and working through past papers as well as mock exams,” he recalled. This did not, however, prevent him from finding time to enjoy some simple pleasures, like playing chess, which he said granted him some relief. Lee related that after the exams, he felt better and not as worried. He admitted that he was surprised to learn that he did so well.
#17 – Joshini Ducan (521 marks) – Success Elementary
Ducan had sat with bated breath on her living room couch as the results of the National Grade Six Assessment were revealed yesterday. When she heard her name, she said, she was very excited and somewhat shocked. She explained that she had believed that she had failed her Social Studies exam. “I called my dad right away and then my friends to congratulate them as well,” she added. This 12-year-old had stopped watching television and had studied much harder before the exams. She had even dedicated her lunch hours to studying. However, Ducan, an aspiring doctor, believed that it was all worth it.
#17 – Yasoda Debidayal (521 marks) – Success Elementary
“Study hard!” Yasoda Debidayal advised the next batch of NGSA pupils yesterday. “Study hard and don’t give up.” The aspiring paediatrician said she was “very excited and happy” with her achievement. “It was a lot of hard work; I had to give
up some television and playing.” Along with constant revision, prayer played an instrumental role for her success, Debidayal said. She thanked her parents, the teachers at her school and added that “in the centre of it all is God.”
Katelan Sugrim, of Mae’s Under 12, Maria Shakoor, of Graham’s Hall Primary and Amira Forde, of Success Elementary, also shared the #17 spot. (Additional reporting by Mario Joseph)