No child left behind: Academy records 100 percent passes

POSTED: 12/21/12 2:14 PM

GREAT BAY- The St. Maarten Academy (FAVE) graduating class of 2012 recorded 100 percent passes and at the top of the prestigious list of outstanding students is Linedia Masson, who has been on the school’s honor roll from Form 1. Masson led a group of stellar students most of whom were from 5A-1 Science stream who demonstrated academic prowess in the most recent sitting of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams. In the process the school maintained its reputation of producing scholars that excel at the regional examinations and also go on to higher learning in rewarding disciplines. Masson has hopes of becoming a pediatrician and the 18-year-old, who lives in Cayhill, passed 11 subjects, with grade 1 in Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Human and Social Biology, grade A in Dutch, grade 2 in English Language, Social Studies, French, Information Technology and Art.

She shared top honors with Suaad Mohammed (1st runner up) and Julique Hodge (2nd runner up).

Under the theme “Striving for Excellence, Aiming for Success,” the institution held its annual graduation and prize giving ceremony on Tuesday night.  Adorned in their gowns and cap which covered their personal style choices in clothing, the achievements of the 75 students were celebrated.

During her tenure at the St. Maarten Academy, the fiery orator also headed the school choir.

In giving the valedictory address, Masson, reflected on what she called “high school’s bumpy memory lane” but said that she was proud to have persevered and overcome the challenges in her high school career.

“Yes we made it! We aimed our minds and hearts at the place called success. We strove for excellence, aimed for success, believed in our success and undoubtedly we achieved success. Soaring to heights would not have been possible without wings of supporters,” she said of parents, the school board, principal, teachers, counselors and ancillary staff who molded the students daily.

She charged her fellow graduates to remember that the road to success is not straight.

“There is a curb called failure, a loop called confusion; speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies and caution lights called family. You will have flats called disappointments. But, if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, and a driver called God, you will make it to a place called success,” she said to thunderous applause from the audience.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Mohammed, who while extending gratitude to the school, cautioned her classmates.

“Just as we have worked hard to meet here today, we must continue to work hard. No matter what happens you must move forward even if there are ups and downs. Exercise patience and always be grateful for what you have achieved. Most of all never forget to be thankful for the fact that you have made it this far means that you can make it even further tomorrow,” Mohammed said.

Principal Shareed Hussain said that he was proud of the school’s tradition of class and excellence and shared memories of competing with the senior students in Physics and Mathematics contests to enhance their potential.

When graduate Malaika Richards took to the stage to belt out “One Moment in Time” she received a standing ovation for her vocals as did a select group of graduates, who led by Masson, sand an original composition called “One Step at a Time”. Student Esther Dede performed a dance in mime to the song “Jesus, Born On This Day.”

The keynote speaker the acting head of the Public Education Department Sidonia Hodge-Lacorbiniere delivered stirring and inspirational to the graduates. She urged them not to forget their humble beginnings, recognize that to whom much is given, much is required and that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Hodge-Lacorbiniere, herself an alumnus of the St. Maarten Academy reflected on the challenges she had to overcome to acquire a sound education and told the students that they are a very important part of the development of this small island nation.

“We challenge you to build upon this accomplishment….be progressive, chart a course that is uniquely your own, set goals, pursue them and resolve each day to make tangible steps towards the accomplishment of these goals.”

Head of the Division Educational Innovations (DEI) Patricia Lourens spoke on behalf of Education Minister Silveria Jacobs who was absent.

“We as a community we are very proud of you,” she stated, adding that the graduates ought to create a habit of excellence in small matters which will eventually develop into an attitude of excellence in every endeavor that they undertake.

The Parent Teachers Association awarded Hodge and Masson for consistently making the honor roll from the advent of their high school career.  Other special awards included the most athletic male and female; Junior Mills and Celine Martina respectively and outstanding contribution to the Student Government Association; Nevillon Forde.

The school board also handed out monetary prizes to the parents of the three top students for their years of investing in their children’s education.

Other students graduating with honors (Cum Laude) included Anil Baretha, Jamila Boirard, Catherine Denis, Sahaira Hughes, Nevillon Forde, Rayette James, Romelda Maynard, Junior Mills, Andre McKenzie, Nikita Mukhi, Romario Pertuz Munoz, Deshawne Richardson, Ann Salvador, Leandra Santos, Ernika Van Putten, Phil Victor, Kedisha Vidal, Glory Waakzaam, Shawn Williams, Thurmas Thomas and Deidra Murphy.

“If it was not for St. Maarten Academy and God I would have been lost. I had so many struggles getting to this place of success and when no one would take me in, they did. I know now that I have already been prepared for the world ahead. I made it this far without money, fame or fortune so I will make it all the way,” Murphy said.

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