By Rupa Seenaraine
Nirvana Wimal of Success Elementary School at Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD), has copped the top spot at this year’s National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), securing 524 marks and achieving a place at the prestigious Queen’s College.
The results were announced by Education Minister Priya Manickchand at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal, on Friday in the presence of officials of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), top performers and other officials.
Bearing ecstatic emotions, some students were yet to process the news of their performance. Wimal, who was among 13,822 students who sat this year’s assessment on August 4 and 5, was surprised with her results.
The aspiring teacher told media operatives, “I feel very happy and glad that my hard work paid off. I had many sleepless nights. After school, I would have lessons, then homework and then study my work at night. I went to bed at 12 and then I had to sleep and start over all again.”
She added, “My mom was very happy for me. She knew I was in the Top Ten but she did not expect me to be first and my dad was very happy too. I know there were other children in class who did better than me so I wasn’t really expecting it.”
The top student said it was a conscious effort to remain focused in online classes – an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, it was not an easy feat.
Her advice for the upcoming cohort was, “It was very hard for me because we didn’t get to go out a lot…It was very hard because we didn’t get to go to real school and you can get distracted…My message is to work hard, study and get every bit of information you can. Use your time wisely because as soon as you get into Grade Six, there isn’t a lot of time.”
Sharing the second position with 523 marks were Deja Datt of the New Guyana School and Paris Timmerman of Chateau Margot Primary.
Datt was visibly excited as she expressed, “I just found out today. I was really shock. I started crying from my seat. I’m happy. It wasn’t just me working. It was a whole team behind me so I must give thanks to God for there are number of things that could have gone wrong and he prevented all of it… Just to experience this today and realise how far I’ve come; it has been a big stepping stone in my life and I couldn’t be happier.”
Preparations for her started since 2020, she said, adding that it has always been her “dream” to secure a place in the top category. However, she described the pandemic as a “wrecking ball” as it disrupted and restricted learning to some extent.
“It comes with a lot of struggles, sacrifices and even tears. You do have to put in the hard work and effort and trust me, if you put in the effort, you will sow good rewards,” the Industry, East Coast Demerara resident shared.
On the other hand, a composed Timmerman who was beaming with excitement, highlighted that her performance has boosted her self-confidence. Credit was given to the Education Ministry’s platforms, such as the Guyana Learning Channel, Booster and QuizMe, for contributing to the groundwork in her journey.
“I worked very hard but I didn’t think I was smart enough. Surprisingly, I did it and I’m getting more confident now that I’ve achieved this. In addition to many late nights and the help of my teachers, I used the Ministry of Education’s platforms like QuizMe and the Guyana Learning Channel. That played an instrumental role,” Timmerman detailed.
Moving into her secondary school journey, she is seeking to pursue the business subjects in keeping with her plans to become an accountant.
Coming in fourth place was Jada Persaud of Success Elementary. She spoke with Guyana Times, reflecting on the sacrifice to put extracurricular activities on hold to study for the NGSA.
“I did not expect this. I didn’t go to school and we had online learning in front of a computer. Other than that, my parents and I did revision. For two months, I had to put dance on hold due to the NGSA…I would like to become a lawyer or start my own school,” she expressed.
Aditi Joshi of Mae’s Under 12 was Guyana’s fifth place student. According to her, she was confident that she would score well, having lauded the Ministry’s efforts to provide enough resources.
“I’m not really surprised. With all the effort I put, with all the resources the Ministry would have installed, the two mock exams, the textbooks, the Learning Channel, I expected to get this place. So, I am very happy.”
Joshi said she wasn’t impacted significantly by the pandemic, since the online learning mechanisms were very “beneficial”.
Five persons secured the fifth spot with 521 marks. They were Chelsea Persaud from Dharmic Rama Krishna, J’Kell Whyte from Success Elementary, Khevin Sandy from Lowe’s Academy, Joshua Mc Arthur from Vryheid’s Lust Primary and Shakaba Yisrael from Success Elementary.
Regionally, the top performers were Troy Roberts from Port Kaituma Primary for Region One (Barima-Waini); Shreya Ramnarine from CV Nunes Primary for Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Gizelle Nicholson from Leonora Primary for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); Nirvana Wimal from Success Elementary for Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); Tiana Hughes from Rosignol Primary School for Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Raphael Omarao from Skeldon Primary School for Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Sebastian Khan from Potaro Primary School for Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); Ishmaiah La Cruz from Mahdia Primary for Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), Aisha De Freitas from Arapaima Primary School for Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); and Akeira Campbell from Watooka Day Primary for Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). Region 11, the category for Georgetown, saw Deja Datt from the New Guyana School securing the top spot.
This year, the cutoff mark for Queen’s College was 510, 505 for The Bishops’ High School, 501 for St Stanislaus College, 498 for St Rose’s High School, 494 for St Joseph High School and 484 for President’s College.