(PRESS RELEASE) — Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud North, Hon. Dr. Gale T C Rigobert, on Friday, July 31, 2020, honoured the top two Common Entrance (CE) students from the various primary schools in her constituency.
The ceremony, which was chaired by Ms. Marcellina Newton, principal of Mon Repos/Patience Combined, was held in Micoud North and was attended by the students, accompanied by their parents and guardians as well as teachers, principals and well-wishers.
The honourees are Niah Derose and Roquel John, formerly of the Micoud Primary School who will be attending Leon Hess Secondary School and Vieux Fort Secondary School, respectively; Darnel Joseph and Nyhandra Louison-Augustin of Mon Repos/Patience Combined School transitioning to Vieux Fort Secondary School and St. Joseph’s Convent, respectively, and Rihanne Amsterdam and Murkayla Xavier of the Mon Repos SDA School who will both be attending the St. Joseph’s Convent in the new school year.
Ahead of her short address Friday, Dr. Rigobert called for a resounding round of applause for the students.
“Last year at a ceremony similar to this one, we did not only honour the students who had excelled at the Common Entrance exams, but we also recognized other students who had performed well in other areas and those who received bursaries or scholarships at different levels in the education system. Because of COVID-19 and the need to observe the various health protocols, we have had to split the various ceremonies so to speak. So today’s ceremony, so as to manage the numbers in this space, we focused exclusively on those students who excelled at the Common Entrance exams this year,” Dr. Rigobert shared.
“Today is about you the top two performers from each of our primary schools in the constituency of Micoud North. And why is it necessary to honour you, to recognize the good work that you have done and to sit here in a space shared with your parents, your teachers, your guardians and your principals? Because it tells the entire story, your success is largely attributable to their collective effort – your parents, your teachers, your principals and a very supportive community. So let us all together acknowledge that collective effort as we celebrate today’s awardees,” said Dr. Rigobert.
Describing the celebration as “particularly poignant and moving” the minister for education and MP for Micoud North stated that the students had succeeded against very extraordinary odds stacked high against them.
“Because we know what COVID-19 has done to the world, we know why we were forced to close schools early, we understand too why we had to open schools partially to reintegrate Grade 6 (the Common Entrance class) and the 5th formers so as to assist them with that final leg of preparation for their respective exams. But having to do this in a COVID-19 environment was no easy feat. So your performance speaks not only to your intellectual aptitude but your emotional and psychological strength as well and I want to acknowledge that,” she emphasized.
Dr. Rigobert went on to recognize “the herculean effort” of the ancillary staff – the cleaners, caretakers, gardeners, watchmen – who she said went in weeks ahead to ensure that the schools were prepared.
“They did the additional plumbing that was necessary and I saw tremendous creativity and innovation – in an effort to satisfy the requisite health protocols. And there are schools where the caretakers, cooks and all the ancillary staff stood at the gates to ensure that we were all compliant with the protocols and I want to publicly acknowledge that effort,” she said.
The teachers were also applauded; some she said had to double up as teachers to the classes assigned to them and teachers to their own children at home.
In closing, Dr. Rigobert stated that the students graduating this year is a class that historically will stand tall for years to come: “Because every facet of their being was tested, their very mettle was tested and they proved to be resilient, to be strong and to be intelligent.”
During the ceremony, words of encouragement also came from Mrs. Fern Dornelly, principal of the Micoud Primary School.
“This ceremony is really a testimony of the strength of our Lord, his faithfulness to us, but very importantly how we cannot underestimate the strength of our children,” Mrs. Dornelly said. “I truly can experience the joy of a mother this afternoon because there is a certain pleasure that comes from knowing that your child would have done exceedingly, abundantly above all that you would have imagined. And this is what this class of 2020 represents…they have demonstrated to us that they know what it is like to collaborate, they know what it means to innovate, they know what it means to be creative and above all things, their resilience.”
Addressing the parents who she says were also tested during the learning at home experience, the school principal stressed that more than assisting with their school work, the students needed an encouraging mom, a supporting dad and someone who believes in them.
In closing, she asked the students to continue to believe in God, believe in themselves knowing that they can do all things through Him, to be leaders and choose their friends wisely.
Dr. Rigobert presented the six students with certificates and laptop computers for their achievement. The grade six teachers were also presented with laptops while the principals were rewarded with gift certificates for spa treatments.
Ms. Rihanne Amsterdam delivered a very gracious vote of thanks and all attendees were treated to refreshments.
Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert would like to acknowledge her staff at the constituency office for their assistance in organizing the ceremony as well as the generosity of corporate sponsors such as B&B Money Savers Inc. and Computer World.