Fri | May 24, 2019

Elated Elletson Primary - GSAT passes thrill students, teachers, parents

Published:Friday | June 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Karen Gowie-Williamson (centre), grade six teacher at the Elleston Primary School in Kingston, being hugged by her students shortly after they received the results of their 2018 GSAT.
Rihanna Ellington, who was stricken by illness during the March sitting of the GSAT, is embraced by mother, Tasheka Skyers, after receiving the results of the GSAT at the Elleston Primary School, yesterday.

By her own admission, Karen Gowie-Williamson, one of two grade six teachers at Elletson Primary, was discouraged by class performance during the months leading up to this year's sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

But yesterday, as she distributed to her students the strips of paper bearing individual exam results and watched as their faces lit up with glee, she felt only a sense of accomplishment and pride.

"Overall, their averages were very low, and I wondered what to do, but I consulted with the Lord, and I taught them to pray and seek Him, as through Him, all things are possible," shared Gowie-Williamson, noting that the school had achieved averages in the 90s, with several students gaining places in traditional high schools.


Cried, fought, and worked


The educator said that prayer, Bible verses, and the teachings of Marcus Garvey supplemented months of free classes on Saturday evenings and extra lessons during the week.

"Many of them who are jumping for joy here today told me then that they didn't feel they could make it. They cried, fought, worked assiduously and were able to articulate it in the exam. Some did not get into the school of their choice, but based on where they are coming from, 25 and 30 per cent averages, to now, in the region of 70 per cent, it's excellent," Gowie-Williamson said.

High achiever and deputy head girl Rihanna Ellington, who was stricken by illness during the March exams, could hardly contain her joy at having earned a place at one of her preferred choices, Convent of Mercy Academy, better known as Alpha.

Ellington, who registered a 90.6-per cent average, was full of not only praise for her teachers, but words of encouragement for her colleagues who felt hard done by with their school placement.

"The teachers were very patient with us, even when we were not at the level that they wanted us be, and that played a huge part. I just want my classmates to know that it is not the school that you to go to, but what you go to the school to do. We can all succeed. We must succeed," she articulated.

Ellington's mother, Tasheka Skyers, used the opportunity to impart words of wisdom to fellow parents.

"We must be the primary support system for our children. They cannot achieve without our guidance, support, and most importantly, love. So don't tear them down if the results didn't go how you want it to. Build them up instead," she charged.