CUL DE SAC:--- Twenty students at the St. Maarten Academy's academic campus were on Monday presented with Honour Roll certificates for outstanding performance during the first term.
To be on the Honour Roll students cannot fail any subject, and must achieve 76 per cent and higher in 10 subjects. Among the awardees were eight first formers who maintained an excellent academic record in all 14 mandatory subjects. Success for these high school freshmen came after hard work.
According to Kyle Regis, he studied hard in advance for exams and received great support from his parents. He credited them for always supporting and encouraging him to do well. With their continued motivation, Kyle hopes to become a pilot one day.
His classmate, Candace Ford, too, credits her success to her parents, Christopher and Ann-Marie Ford. Her sister, Christine, also encouraged her to work diligently.
"My parents teach me the importance of education and how much I can achieve with it. They accept nothing but my best in everything. They teach me to thank God for all my achievements. My teachers, both past and present, also encourage me to do my best. Seeing both of my parents' success urges me to pursue my goals," the 12-year-old said.
Like any other first former, Candace faces challenges, but she has her way of dealing with them. "First, I pray and ask God for His wisdom. Then I say Philippians 4:13. I think that challenges are to be faced head on, not ignored."
She plans to maintain the Honour Roll, improve in Physical Education and Information Technology and be promoted to form two. "My tips are self-discipline to get the job done, determination, hard work, perseverance, focus, self-confidence, patience and, most importantly, [to acknowledge that] failure and rejection are temporary."
Another first former who is not afraid of hard work is Fordicha Balborda. She made the Honour Roll by "working hard in all my subjects, studying as hard as I can, and completing all class assignments on time."
Like her contemporaries, she credited her parents for her success.
"My parents' attitude towards their work influences me. They are both dedicated to their work, always on time, and give their all towards whatever tasks given. That really inspires me," the 13-year-old said.
Whenever she is faced with challenges, she goes to an older God-sister and can count on getting good advice that helps her overcome challenges.
Two other first formers who made the coveted list were Jovany Arrindell and Genora Jankee. The self-motivated Jovany reaches out to his teachers when he cannot complete a task and that has been his secret to being an Honour Roll student.
"When you see that a task is difficult, never say you cannot do it. Always try your best. My mom always tells me to do best in school," said Jovany, who wants to become a pro-ball player.
His classmate, Genora, on the other hand, has her goals set a little closer to school. She wants to become valedictorian of Class of 2016. "My mom always influences me to do great in school so that I can become a successful person," the 12-year-old Genora said. So when she does not understand a concept, she does not hesitate to ask the teachers to explain.
"Never say you cannot do something and always believe in yourself," is her motto.
Other first formers who made the Honour Roll are Tuwanna Jones, Fatimah Karim, and Ciaram Staber.
However, at the second form level, only one student, Tatiana Narine, copped the top award for excellent academic performance. Her message for success is simple: "Focus on school and stop idling." The 12-year-old credits her parents for motivating her by showing her the positive side to challenges.
"I think of something that has got me through other challenges, and I remember how that worked out for me." Her ambition is to remain an Honour Roll student and be the best she can be.
At the upper level, two sets of senior sisters continue their reign on the Honours list. Sisters Suaad and Manar Mohammed continue to shine academically, as well as twins Janice and Jenice Forbes.
Manaar, an honours science student, wants to be an accomplished author and poet. It is no wonder then that her favourite subjects are Physics, English, literature, and French. Like many other top-performing students, she always studies ahead of time, but still remembers that there is a time for fun and a time for work.
When asked what motivates her, the 14-year-old replied: "Every time I think of all the stereotypes against black people, I want to try harder to prove them wrong. My parents [also] encourage me to do better all the time."
The middle child of five, Manaar said if children in her third form class are making too much noise, she can endure it because she can study with noise around her. But whenever she does not understand certain things, she asks another student or the subject teacher.
In the same class as Manaar, is Janice Forbes, who was the top-performing second form student at the end of the last academic year. The 15-year-old, who listed Mathematics, Chemistry, Spanish, Physical Education, Additional Mathematics, Music, and English as her favourite subjects, knows that in order to excel one should "never procrastinate on doing your homework, projects and assignments. Make your time useful."
When asked what motivates her, she said the thought of making a difference, being a great person, and knowing that she will make it no matter what may come her way.
"My parents influence me, especially my mother. She is very powerful. Sometimes when I get a certain grade, she will often say that I could have got higher. [So] I do not let my task or work pile up. I sometimes ask my teachers in private after class for extra work for a better understanding of the work," Janice explained.
These challenges, Janice said, she overcomes with the help of God. Her goals in life are to make history in her generation and give hope to all those who think that they are failures and cannot make it in life.
But she is not the only one with such ambitions. Her twin sister, Jenice, too wants to be great in every area of her life so that she "can be able to create a generation of success."
To be successful, she stays focused and gives her best. "Most of all, never give up. If you should ever fall, just get back up and get going because there is always hope," Jenice said.
Asked what motivates her, she said: "My mother motivates me. I am also motivated by the idea of being great. My mom constantly tells me not to be contented with where I am, but to strive to reach higher heights, and to never settle for less."
She deals with challenges in class by confronting them in order to do her best. Like her twin, she prays about issues and asks the Lord to give her the strength.
Meanwhile, Roan Soriano, who is motivated by family, friends and music, likes to avoid problems and thinks communication is important. According to the 15-year-old third former, students must be focused on their education and always listen to their parents. She wants to become a musician or an accountant. The fifth third former who made the Honour Roll was Jeffeny Fidel.
At the fourth form level, Devesh Laungani and Aldair Petronilia share the spotlight. Devish, a science major, loves Mathematics, Physics and Physical Education. According to the 15-year-old, the best tip for success is to start working hard from the beginning of the year.
"Do not relax during the year. Keep in your mind that you want to get Honour Roll. Every time you do something new in class, you should practice it at home. This will help you to understand the topic totally. It will then be just a matter of reviewing. If you do this, then the test will be very simple for you because you have already studied everything. When you have done excellent in your test then that means your grades are high. High Grades will definitely mean you will get on the Honour Roll student list," Devesh explained.
The thing that motivates him the most is the idea of being successful in life and having a sound education. He lives by the motto, "Education is the key to success."
Like other students, when he does not understand, he seeks his teachers' assistance, or research online.
"My parents influence me by reminding me that having a good education is important in life. My career goal is to become a computer engineer. My ulterior goal in life is to live life to the fullest. As they say, 'You have only one life, so live it to the fullest.'"
Meanwhile, Suaad Mohammed, who is in her final year at Academy, has always maintained stellar grades because she studies hard, concentrates in class and pays keen attention when the teacher is explaining something.
"It is best to study way beforehand and to study to understand, not to memorize. My parents always encourage me to do my best even when it seems too hard to accomplish. They give me stories of how they used to handle things at my age, so I could get a proper understanding of how to do things myself.
"My mom, especially, gives me good advice on certain things, while my father encourages and pushes me to do well in school. My siblings, especially my older sister, tell me that I have the potential and tell me that I am smart enough to excel," the 16-year-old explained.
Like others in her category, when she does not understand, she seeks help from her teachers.
"I also ask the other students for help and their views and advice about certain things." Her goal is to be the valedictorian of Class of 2012.
"I know it would not be easy. There are others willing to be the valedictorian as well. I can say my competition is great," said the teenager of her peers, among them other fifth form Honour Roll student Linedia Masson.
Two other fifth formers also in the running for the top spots at this year's Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams are Glory Waakzaam and Sahaira Hughes. The 16-year-old Glory is motivated by God and is working hard now in order to attend a good college and be successful in the future.
Among her favourite subjects are Dutch, Spanish and English, all of which will serve her well when she becomes a lawyer and has her own law firm.
"If you know you are not trying hard enough, then study and work harder. If I do not understand something, I ask either the teacher or someone else who understands it. If other students have problems with me, I just ignore them and do what I have to do to succeed in school," the demure teen said.
She credits her parents for greatly influencing her.
"They are always telling me to study hard so I can have a better and more successful life than they have."
Sahaira, too, is advising other teens to work hard to achieve their goals.
"The best tip for achieving success/ Honour Roll is to have self-determination and perseverance. You must also study, work hard and remain focused toward your goal. Once you put your mind to do something, it can be done because nothing is impossible; you just have to work hard to achieve it."
For motivation, she looks to her parents, other family members, friends, and her teachers.
"They encourage me constantly to stay focused and to keep my head on. I am also a very self-motivated person. I like to challenge myself to be above the average, to do better, to be the best."
Presently, she is working on doing very well at the May/June CXC examinations. Thereafter, she plans to head off to The Netherlands, where she will further her studies.
As an incentive for such commendable performance, all students received an Honour Roll certificate, an Honour Roll bumper sticker for their parent's vehicle and other individual class awards from their homeroom and subject teachers.
Parents were also commended for their part in ensuring that their children performed well. During the morning assembly Monday, at which the certificates were handed out, other students were encouraged to work for the accolade. Parents and guardians are also being encouraged to monitor, guide and assist their children to this end.
The school's principal, Mr. Shareed Hussain, said he was extremely happy. He said that students continue to excel at the school because of the diligent efforts of teachers and parents. He further mentioned that the students always do a fantastic job, and he encouraged them to keep the St. Maarten Academy's Honour Roll flag flying high.
All of the students are encouraged to strive to attain the Honour Roll. It is hoped that the number of students who will attain the Honour Roll will increase tremendously at the end of the second term and the end of the 2011-2012 school year.