Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Portland students excel in CSEC despite challenges

Published:Monday | September 26, 2022 | 12:09 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

Two students of Titchfield High School, Ariel Wright and Riami Richards, are the top-performing girl and boy, respectively, in the Caribbean Education Secondary Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Both students said they had to overcome a lot of challenges, especially due to closure of school and doing online classes. They informed that there were times when they came under immense pressure during the lockdown periods, as they were unable to see their classmates, engage in social gathering, chit-chat, or to spend quality time on the phone.

But overcoming it all, Wright got nine distinctions in nine subjects, including additional mathematics, biology, chemistry, English language A, information technology, mathematics, physics, principles of accounts, and principles of business. She said that she was grateful for the three-week extension, which allowed her to better prepare for the exams.

“Preparing for CSEC had its challenges. It’s a two-year preparation, and in the middle of that preparation came a pandemic. The whole dynamic of school had changed. Things were now online and I had to adjust my way of learning,” Wright said.

“The Internet would sometimes go and I would have to ask my dad for data. Any concepts missed, I would have to ask friends for the notes and try to understand. The teachers weren’t just a walk to the staff room away anymore, but they were still very helpful. They would respond on Google Meet or via WhatsApp message. It was just a bit delayed because they had to help other students, too.

“Honestly though, once I got used to being online I started making the best of the platform, despite the challenges. I had to come to terms with this new reality and just make the best of it, and was really grateful for the three-week extension, which gave me more time to prepare,” she added.

Principal of Titchfield High Richard Thompson said that the success of Wright and Richards comes as no surprise, as they have always exhibited good mannerism, patience, tolerance, and leadership qualities, which made it rather easy for them to perform at the highest standard in their exams.

Richards, who gained seven distinctions in biology, chemistry, English A, electrical installation, information technology, mathematics and physics, along with a two in additional mathematics, also faced challenges, which led to periods of frustration due to prolonged lockdowns.

“Classwork and assignments was a challenge and I had to balance that with extracurricular activities, just before COVID-19,” he said.

“During COVID, online schooling was definitely a challenge for me. I was getting frustrated being online for seven hours a day nonstop. I had red, itchy eyes as well as headaches, and my mental health was affected.

“I wasn’t going outside, and I hadn’t seeing my classmates in about two years. It was a very life-changing experience. It was very hard to complete classwork, especially labs (school-based assessment) for science subjects. Labs are actually technically supposed to be done in the physical space. I did, howeve,r complete my labs and assignments. I believe that I overcame this challenge by scheduling my time and balancing work and play,” he said.