‘Education will get you everywhere’
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Minister of the Public Service, Sonia Parag, flanked by the NGSA awardees
Minister of the Public Service, Sonia Parag, flanked by the NGSA awardees

–Minister Parag tells Mocha’s top NGSA performers, says journey has just begun

THE government together with the Women on Track Group of Mocha-Arcadia, East Bank Demerara, on Saturday honoured children of the community who excelled at this year’s National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA).

Minister of the Public Service, Sonia Parag, in her address to children and residents in attendance at the award ceremony, commended the Mocha-Arcadia community for its efforts in support of children’s education and advised the awardees to continue striving for excellence.

The children who were honoured are Deshaun Gurrick, Annaldo LaRose, Celina Beckles, Shonia Penston, Felicity Isaacs, Rhema Cooper, Hosenia Moses, Lennon Thornhill, Senika Crandon and Jashoun Ward.
In her advice to the pupils, Minister Parag said: “The journey has just begun. So, when you feel all that relief after writing your NGSA exams, and we do, we’ve all been through it. We know that when we work hard for a few months and dedicate ourselves, we tend to down tools and just lay there for the next few months because we’ve worked so hard, but the journey has now begun.”

She said that when entering secondary school, they will interact with other students from all walks of life and the competition will be strong and challenging. However, she encouraged them to “rise to the occasion” and remain resolute.

Minister Parag reflected on her education journey after finishing primary school. She said that she grew up on the Essequibo Coast and was a pupil of the Anna Regina Primary School. In her time, she was among six pupils who were awarded a place at Queen’s College.

“… At that time, I had nowhere to stay because my family was in Essequibo, so I went to President’s College instead, because we were encouraged to try to get to the best of where we want to go,” she told the gathering.
After graduating from President’s College, Minister Parag went to the University of Guyana (UG) and was an English, History and Law major. She later obtained her LLB from the university and went on to achieve the Certificate of Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School.

“But what I want to tell you is that education will get you everywhere. It’s something that you will hold as a valuable possession that no one else can take from you…Your circumstances, your environment does not define what you can do,” she said.

The minister advised the awardees to not fall victim to peer pressure and other societal challenges they might face along their journey.
“I am looking forward to the next four or five years, to seeing you excel at the secondary level and excelling doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have 20 grade ones. For those persons who want to do it, that’s great, they have the capability. But you do what you’re capable of doing but ensure that you do it to the best of your ability. That is what is important,” Minister Parag said.

The community, she related, remains an important stakeholder in ensuring children could receive the best guidance and support in their pursuits, educationally and otherwise
“It takes a community to raise a child… and in your community who push you and challenge you, and even when you think they’re punishing you, they’re challenging you to do your best. The community can do all it can do to support you. But you the individual got to do the work and get there…” Minister Parag said.

Meanwhile, Gurrick, who will be attending Queen’s College, gave a brief testimony of his academic journey thus far.
“This journey has not been easy going through my school years. It has had its ups and downs, joyful moments and stressful moments,” he said.
The aspiring doctor said that all the long hours have paid off, and while the journey was hard, the progress will continue.

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