Assured Duncan dominates
Romeo Duncan, the modest Ardennite, has emerged as the top student in the Caribbean for computer science and economics, unit one, in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) for the 2017-2018 academic year.
This accomplishment underscores Ardenne's impressive performance in this year's examinations, as two other students, Sebastian Lawrence and William Brown, placed third in economics, respectively, with Brown also placing ninth in the Caribbean rankings for computer science.
Duncan credits his extraordinary accomplishment to his love for information technology.
He explains that "In grade nine when we started doing IT as a subject, I realised that I was very good with computers and I really enjoyed programming".
This passion also extended to economics, where he said: "Sixth form was my first experience with economics and I really found the subject interesting as it explains how the economy works." Therefore, his aspirations to be an Artificial Intelligence researcher in order to help aid the economy represents a marriage of these two passions.
Duncan is no stranger to stellar academic performance and extracurricular involvement. He undertook mathematics at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level from fourth form, a year earlier than average.
This experience served as a preview for his ambitious goal to undertake pure mathematics, coupled with additional mathematics, in fifth form. This daunting undertaking proved no match for this collected student.
"I like math so it was not really anything. Pure mathematics made additional mathematics easier for me," he remarked. He is also an active member of the Model United Nations, the Photography Club and serves on his school's student council.
Belief is key
As you might expect, this unassuming young man is led by the belief, "With hard work you will always get the results you want."
However, he notes that even with this, "It was not easy to achieve ... You have to practise the past papers, take good notes in class and also use various secondary sources to help you." He adds, "I use my syllabus and try to get notes from various sources to ensure that they are correct. In addition, I also practise checking my answers with teachers at school to ensure that I answer the questions properly."
He reveals that he initially received disappointing grades in economics, as he "found it difficult, at first, to understand concepts".
Regardless, his strategy to remedy the situation was to go home and watch economics videos on the Internet. He posits that he had to work hard in order to improve.
This improvement,characterised by increased studying, occurred as mock exams approached in February and served as a watershed moment for his eventual love for the subject. His motivation can be summarised thus: "I compete with myself and try to do better from last year. That was my motivation for this year, to try and do better than last year."
In addition to that, Duncan also adhered to the principle that, 'Iron sharpens iron'. He is supported by a number of his friends, who not only offer moral support and motivation, but also provide competition for him during school.
Friends, such as the aforementioned named high performers, assisted through their own efforts. Moreover, his parents supported him along monetarily or otherwise. The results of this support was evidenced even before his examination, as one of his economics teachers, Mr Gilbert, was amazed by his ability to answer questions and even complete his own sentences in an exam-preparation seminar.
He encourages students to be willing to work hard as 'Practise makes perfect'. He further challenges students to do better each time they practise, also ask questions and most importantly learn from your mistakes.