Cul de Sac, St. Maarten — Ninety-five students of St. Maarten Academy graduated under the theme: “Out of Adversity Comes Triumph”, held on the school’s campus on Thursday, December 16, 2021.
Of the 95, 72 were Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) graduates and 23 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE) graduates. The graduates were praised during addresses from Principal drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool, President of the school board Roland Duncan, CSEC valedictorian Khushal Punjabi and CAPE valedictorian David Beek. The feature address was delivered by alumnus Darren Hodge, aka “King Vers”, soca artiste and media personality.
During her welcome address, school principal drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool said that the academic journey of the Class of 2021 had all the makings of an epic novel. “From the outset, you have had to overcome challenges that would have left those of weaker mental constitution distraught and defeated”.
She added that the Class of 2021 had faced and overcome many challenges, including Hurricane Irma, which hit the island just as they entered second form, sharing the campus of sister school, PSVE for 19 months, an arrangement which led to truncated periods, and classes that went well into the evening; then Covid-19, which, in March 2020, resulted in the abrupt suspension of face-to-face instruction and the overnight transition to online classes.
“For nearly one year, you logged on dutifully to your virtual classes, and also took the initiative of creating your own virtual study groups via Zoom and used platforms such as Discord to connect with like-minded students around the Caribbean”, she said. She also credited the success of the students to the hard work and dedication of the exceptional teachers and support staff, parents, supporters and friends of the Academy.
The feature address was delivered by Darren Hodge, aka “King Vers”. During his engaging address, he encouraged graduands to not allow the opinion of others dissuade them from their dreams. “Do not let other people’s fears stop you from achieving what you want to do”, he said.
CSEC valedictorian Khushal Punjabi congratulated the members of the Class of 2021 on completing this leg of their academic journey despite their challenges. “The lessons learnt here at our school, the achievements and failures we experienced demonstrate that we have the skills to learn, the aptitude to succeed and the ability to triumph in the face of adversity”, he said. It was a sentiment echoed by the CAPE valedictorian David Beek. “Our adversities, though many, will shape and mold us to become victorious persons if we choose to fight and not give up”, he said.
During the ceremony, principal drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool revealed that the CSEC Class of 2021 had returned 100 per cent school passes, and an impressive 96 percent college passes, obtaining between Grade I-III in at least five subjects, which qualifies them to matriculate at most tertiary institutions both in the Caribbean and further afield.
This year, a total of 72 candidates sat 19 subject offerings at the CSEC level this year achieved 100 per cent school passes (grades I – IV), while nine of the 19 subject offerings returned 100 per cent college passes: Biology, Human and Social Biology, English A, English B, Geography, Social Studies, Physics, Visual Arts and Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPM). EDPM, taught by Ms. Kester Small, returned the highest number of Grade One at 84 per cent grade ones.
Academy students again outperformed their regional counterparts in Mathematics, and returned 97 per cent school passes, and 79 per cent college passes. Also returning stellar results was the department of Information Technology, which returned 100 per cent school passes, and 90 per cent college passes. Notable performances were also returned in Integrated Science, which returned 100 per cent school passes, and 97 per cent college passes, as well as Chemistry which returned 100 per cent school passes, and 73 per cent college passes.
The valedictorian, Khushal Punjabi, wrote 13 subjects, one of which was CAPE Communication Studies. He returned 8 Grade One passes, 5 with straight ‘A’ profiles, 3 Grade two passes, and a grade 3 in CAPE Communication Studies, which he wrote in Fifth form, having written English A in Form Four and returning a Grade One.
Salutatorian Aquilla Pemberton secured passes in 11 subjects, including 7 grade ones, 4 with straight ‘A’ profiles, 3 grade twos, and one grade 3.
Second Runner-up valedictorian, Joselyna George, wrote 11 subjects, and returned 8 grade ones, 4 with straight “A” profiles, one grade four, and a Grade 3 in CAPE Communication Studies.
Rounding out the top four students is Desmond Jones, who wrote 10 subjects, and returned 9 grade ones, 3 with straight “A” and a grade two.
Of the 23 to graduate from the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Seven earned their Associate of Science degree, nine their Associate of Arts degree, six earned diplomas in the areas of Tourism, Information and Communications Technology, Entrepreneurship and Natural Science, and one a certificate in Mathematics.
CAPE valedictorian, David Beek, graduated with an Associate of Science degree with a specialization in Mathematics.
He copped 5 Grade ones out of the 10 units he sat, while salutatorian, Shuling Luo, who pursued an Associate of Arts in Business Studies, with a specialization in Accounts obtained two Grade I passes out of the 12 units she sat.
The Board of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE), under which the school falls, also wishes to congratulate all students, their parents, teachers, and the Management team for another year of outstanding results, and remains committed to providing a quality education for all students entrusted to the school’s care.