Ardenne boasts 'formula' as student tops region in CAPE
Ardenne High School's academic prowess is continuing to show, with 17-year-old graduate Varna Thomas being the most recent student to top the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) across the region.
Such triumphs are not new to 10 Ardenne Road, in St Andrew or the Thomas household for that matter. It was Varna's elder sister, Dea Thomas, who copped the prestigious top prize for CAPE in 2013.
Speaking to The Gleaner about the feat yesterday, she was still in shock at the news delivered to her via phone call by Ardenne's principal, Nadine Molloy.
"She just said congratulations. I was still very confused. She then explained and I did not believe it. I then called my mom. I felt very happy, blessed and grateful, but honestly the main feeling was shock."
Varna achieved grades one with straight 'A' profiles in: pure mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, applied mathematics (units 1 & 2), caribbean studies and communication studies.
Of her subject choices, the soft-spoken student said: "You have one and two annoying topics, but it's always fascinating to learn new things in science. Studying becomes a lot easier when you are actually interested in the topics. I have always loved math and science."
Migrated to Ja in 2007
Born in India, her parents, two sisters and herself migrated to Jamaica in 2007.
She sat the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) at Frankfield Primary and went on to Edwin Allen High School in Clarendon where both parents taught. She then shifted to Morant Bay High School for a year where she completed second form.
She began her tenure at Ardenne in September 2011 at third form.
A 2016 recipient of the University of the West Indies' Open Scholarship, she's now a first-year medical student at UWI, looking to conquer her first batch of fast-approaching exams.
She credits her strong family ties for her firm footing academically, stating: "I am very grateful to have had parents who took such an active interest in their child's learning."
She further added: "My mother is so happy right now. My dad passed away two years ago, and honestly, this is for him."
Speaking with The Gleaner on her star pupil's achievement, Molloy said: "I am just absolutely excited for a great student who is so humble with her brilliance. We are a real school with challenges and successes and we give thanks for that blessing. I think of Dea, her elder sister who brought the same glory to Ardenne."
Asked if she foresees the pattern of academic excellence continuing at the institution, Molloy said: "It is very possible that we can experience this again. We have a good formula for that. We tell our students daily that we expect excellence of them and do our best to provide the required support."