Their hard work is done, and now it is time for some celebration. Belize’s brightest students got their due at the annual national award ceremony for the 2016 Primary School Examination (PSE), held in Belize City at the Ramada Princess Hotel. Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Honorable Elodio Aragon, Jr., deputizing for boss Honorable Patrick Faber, noted some of the almost clichéd statements top-scoring students made in press interviews in advance of today’s ceremony. But he also noted that, like most clichés, there is a grain of truth, and a uniform result – success:
Elodio Aragon Jr.- Minister of State, education, culture, youth and sports:This week, I listened to interviews of students who have excelled on this years PSE, and this is what I heard some of these students say, Kenly Young stated the most important thing is believing in your selves because if you believe in yourself then you know that you could overcome any barrier, any battle that comes you way and then of course you have to work hard, you have to study and you have to listen to your teacher and make sure you are on top hard work pays off. What a valuable lesson we celebrate today. The hard work of these students, their parents or guardians, their teachers and school communities has certainly paid off in their success, and for this I congratulate you and encourage you to continue on the path of putting in the work and of pushing yourselves to achieve the great things that you want to achieve.
As for the recipients of the Jane and Michael Nembhard Award – Kenly Young of St. Andrew Anglican Primary School in Cayo, and Angelina Urbina of La Inmaculada R.C. in Orange Walk – each brought a different perspective to this most prestigious of graduation ceremonies. Urbina spoke to the dominant emotion she and her peers felt in taking this examination, and how it spurred her forward:
Angelina Urbina- Co-Top performer, PSE 2016: Nervous, it’s a word that many used to describe how they felt while sitting the PSE. I felt nervous too, but why do we feel this way because of an exam. For some of us, the PSE made us feel as though we were being attacked by sharks. I don’t quite remember the morning for the first half that I sat the PSE. In all honestly I was too consumed by nervousness that I found it difficult to remember whether or not I’d even spelt my school’s name properly. Initially, I went on question after question and doubting every answer I has decided on, but as time went on my nerves finally calmed down and I then realized that I had nothing to worry about. I was well prepared for this.”
Meanwhile, Young chose to highlight the impact of her school’s administrative corps
Kenly Young- Co-Top Performer, PSE 2016: As quoted by Mrs. Debby McMillian it was a long cement building that housed classrooms today the school looks different but the quality of education and the pursuit of the teachers that worked there have not changed. Our school was great at sports in fact, it was regular to hear people refer to us as all we could do was run and win races, but St Andrews has always had other great qualities. The Primary School Examinations (PSE) results are a testament of the other things that St Andrews school is skilled at, performing well academically. They have never faltered in that and I am proud to say that I have attended that school, as a matter of fact anytime someone asks me what school I go to I puff my chest up, clear my throat and say proudly I go to St Andrews Anglican school, the best school. The reason we do so well is because of them, they taught us the right steps and gave us the right material so that we could succeed.
Both young women received various prizes including a scholarship to the high school of their choice. Other top 25 performers from across the country also received their prizes.Separate regional award ceremonies will be held across the country in the coming week.