-plans to become an educator
EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Sarah Reid, formerly of the New Amsterdam Secondary School, has copped the top national award for Caribbean Studies at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) and has also secured ninth position in the Region. Caribbean Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws on perspectives, largely from the humanities and social sciences to provide an understanding of Caribbean society and cultures. According to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), students who have successfully completed a course in Caribbean Studies would have developed an appreciation for the challenges and potential of being Caribbean citizens. They will have an understanding of their own roles and responsibilities in preserving and contributing to their Caribbean heritage. They would also have attained attributes of the ideal Caribbean person who “is aware of the importance of living in harmony with the environment” and “has [sic] a strong appreciation of family and kinship values, community cohesion, and moral issues, including responsibility for and accountability to self and community. ”
Further, students would also have acquired skills of enquiry as defined in the UNESCO Pillars of Learning, that will enable them to succeed in their academic careers and the world of work, and that would foster the exploration and development of their Caribbean identities. Finally, they would recognise these identities as continually evolving out of the interactions taking place among the cultures of the Caribbean Region and the diaspora, and between the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
Armed with this knowledge and her Grade 3 in Economics Unit 2, Grade 2 in Environment Science Unit 1 and Grade 2 in Integrated Mathematics and Management of Business Unit 2, Sarah, a resident of Vryman’s Erven, New Amsterdam, is now better prepared to pursue her career as an educator. While Sarah is yet to decide on a specialist area, she will be pursuing further studies at the University of Guyana (UG). An ardent Christian, the petite young lady is adamant that as long as one believes in God, all things are possible. “All thanks to God Almighty for this wonderful achievement. My parents, relatives, church family, classmates, and teachers, especially Sir Vaughn Paul. I feel very fortunate to receive the top award for Guyana in Caribbean Studies. I am very humbled and grateful to God,” she remarked, when contacted by the Guyana Chronicle shortly after the Ministry of Education had announced her success. Meanwhile, in 2019, she secured 10 Grade Ones, and a Grade Two at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. Her Grade Two pass was in Spanish, which was almost self-taught. During her time at school, especially leading up to those examinations, she encountered a number of challenges. However, the setbacks did not deter her from going for her goal. She remained focused and with her strong belief in God, she said that she knew that he was by her side and guiding her hands on many occasions.
She worked assiduously, prayed earnestly and studied. Sarah secured Grade One in Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, History, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Theatre Arts, Principles of Business and Economics. Speaking about some of her challenges prior to writing the CSEC examination, she said, “I picked up Economics after Human and Social Biology was discontinued. I did not get much exposure to the subject prior to exams; much was self-taught. I give credit to God. The other students who had it on their time tables were way ahead. I was planning to drop Geography because I was getting difficulties understanding the Scottish teacher’s accent. Fortunately, another teacher took over from him and I got a better picture,” she recalled. For Spanish, she was the only student doing the subject in the school. She felt pressured to succeed because it would reflect on the school’s overall pass rate. She didn’t even know the date for the oral examination and only knew a few days before from a friend who was writing the subject at Berbice High School. She had a few days of interaction with the teacher at that school and she was way behind and had only a few days to get ready. Before attending NA Secondary, Sarah attended All Saints Primary School where she gained 509 marks at the National Grade Six Examinations. She secured a place at St Stanislaus College in Georgetown, but her parents opted to have her remain closer to home. Sarah reminisced on the role her grandmother, retired Matron Halley, and her parents Joy and Compton Reid, played in her early upbringing. Her grandmother insisted that she count to a hundred before leaving for nursery school. Her father would ride out early in the morning to get a hibiscus flower for her school experiment, while her mother taught her to write on the cardboards for presentations.
Her advice to her peers is to be aware that there is a time for everything. ”Do not overdo. There is a time to study, time to play and there must be time for God,” she said
Principal of NA Secondary, Vanessa Jacobs-Chisholm, said Sarah was recognised as the top CSEC student after securing the pass in the foreign language.