Significant improvements recorded this year
By Solomon McGarrell
Pupils of Aroaima Primary School Region 10 (Sub-Region two), who recently sat the 2021 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examinations, were all honoured for their improved performances, at the school’s graduation walkthrough on Friday, November 5th.
A total of 11 pupils sat the exams back in August; seven of whom gained over 400 marks. According to the Headmistress, this year’s performance was an outstanding one in comparison to recent years. She said she is proud of every pupil based on the fact that they were faced with the hardships of having to adapt to a new learning environment as a result of the pandemic, insufficient staffing and poor internet connectivity. It was challenging and in some cases, impossible, for some parents afford data for their cellphones, to facilitate online classes for their child/children, since many persons are now unemployed following RUSAL’s downscaling of operations back in 2020.
The school’s outstanding performers are: Orin Garnette, who copped 442 marks; he was followed by Valencia Daniels, who copped 438 marks and Julianna Hinds who copped 434 marks. The other students who performed well are Javid Chetram, Deonja Benjamin, Cynthia Persaud, Mia Williams, Keeron Phillips, Selwyn Benn, Kevon Caesar and Sherlyn Barkoye.
Renita Reece, a teacher for some 20 years and the school’s Headmistress (ag), during her report, urged parents and pupils gathered, to continue persevering and while they would have not acquired a top school or gained the marks they would have desired, their improved performance, is a testament that a bright future awaits them. “We may not have had an outstanding performance but we would have definitely improved in our achievements. Success is not always about being first, it is knowing you are doing much better than before and knowing that you are doing better, you will work to achieve success,” Ms. Reece encouraged.
According to statistics, in 2018, out of eight pupils who sat the NGSA, three were able to attain over 400 marks; in 2019, three from seven pupils gained over 400 marks; in 2020 , the school saw four out of nine pupils gaining over 400 marks; hence, amidst all the odds, seven from 11 pupils copped over 400 marks at the 2021 NGSA.
Since schools were closed to face-to-face learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers managed to disseminate learning materials to the phones of parents, using WhatsApp. This too pose as a challenge, as the majority of parents due to the lack of internet connectivity, could not receive the learning material. The dedicated teachers of Aroaima Primary, footed the unpaved, dusty roads to distribute learning packages to students.
This went on for a while, until schools reopened their doors to face-to-face learning in April 2021. Sadly though, this too was cut short when the worst flood hit the Upper-Berbice District, forcing students out of school, since many of the 11 students reside at Ladern’s Ville, and it was impossible to navigate the floodwaters. The unprecedent flood resulted in the school being converted to a shelter for approximately two months, to house families whose homes were inundated.
Classes resumed some three weeks later in the community at a church ( MapleTown Sanctuary), even as the community remained inundated.
PTA body and parents stepped up
The school which is entitled to a number of eight teachers, is only provided with six, out of which, five attends CPCE in Kwakwani, leaving miss Reece to run the school all by her self. She worked selflessly for some time until her mother fell ill back in October, 2020, forcing her to leave to attend her then sick mother.
The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) body and public spirited residents, stepped up to the plate and teach the pupils who were regrettably left without teachers .
Miss Reece is calling on the Ministry of Education to provide adequate staffing for the school.
Ecstatic and proud parents showered their children with unconditional love and words of encouragement.
“Have that strength to always follow your dreams, it would never be easy; nothing comes easy in life, just hold on to your dreams and keep going,” Celena Thomas, the mother of Cynthia Persaud encouraged.
The emotional Thomas reassured her daughter of her unconditional love for her . “I tell you this everyday, you are deeply loved, no matter where you go, somebody loves you, your parents love you,” she reassured Cynthia, as she prepares for her secondary schooling away from home.
Pupils overcame the odds
Deonja Benjamin, who scored 403 marks, was named the second most improved pupil. Her mother, Sonja Benjamin, a mother of three, told INFO 10, that the journey was not an easy one for Deonja, due to the economical relapse inflicted upon the community, when RUSAL ceased operations, coupled with COVID-19 and then with the worst flood to hit the community. Sonja said as a result of this, she was unable to guide her daughter in her studies since she placed more emphasis on her son who is in Grade Four and working with her daughter who is in nursery school. “It was tough to manage all the children, I am proud of her; I was unable to help her period because of all that was going on,” Sonja related.
Meanwhile , Cynthia’s mother, Celena Thomas from Hururu’s mission, is optimistic that her daughter could have done extremely well under better circumstances. “Battling all these hardships all together was a setback, Cynthia would have been more productive if there was face-to-face learning,” Thomas told this media house.