The Daily Herald – 95 graduates from St. Maarten Academy

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The St. Maarten Academy class 2021.

~ 100 percent school, 96 percent college passports ~

CUL DE SAC – Ninety-five students from St. Maarten Academy graduated from Adversity on Thursday, December 16, at a ceremony on the school campus entitled Triumph.

Of the 95, 72 were Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) graduates and 23 were Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE).

The graduates were commended in speeches by Rector Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool, President of the School Board Roland Duncan, CSEC Graduate Khushal Punjabi, and CAPE Graduate David Beek. The feature address was held by alumnus, Soca Artiste and media personality Darren “King Vers” Hodge.

During her welcome speech, Baly-Vanterpool said the class’s academic journey of 2021 was made into an epic novel. “Right from the start, you had to overcome challenges that would have perturbed and defeated people with a weak mind,” she said.

She said the class of 2021 faced and overcame many challenges, including Hurricane Irma, which hit the island when they entered second grade, and shared the campus of sister school PSVE for 19 months, an agreement that will shortened lessons and classes that lasted into the evening; then COVID-19, which resulted in the abrupt suspension of classroom teaching and the transition to online teaching overnight in March 2020.

“You’ve dutifully logged into your virtual classes for almost a year and also taken the initiative to set up your own virtual study groups through Zoom, and used platforms like Discord to network with like-minded students in the Caribbean,” she said. She also attributed the students’ success to the hard work and dedication of the academy’s excellent teachers and supervisors, parents, sponsors, and friends.

In his engaging speech, Hodge encouraged graduates not to let the opinions of others dissuade them from their dreams. “Don’t let other people’s fears stop you from doing what you want to do,” he said.

Punjabi congratulated the members of the Class of 2021 on completing this leg of their academic journey despite their challenges. “The lessons we’ve learned here at our school, the successes and failures we’ve seen, show that we have the ability to learn, the ability to succeed, and the ability to triumph in the face of adversity,” he said.

It was a feeling that Beek repeated. “Our adversities, though many, will mold and mold us into victorious persons if we choose to fight and not give up,” he said.

Baly-Vanterpool announced during the ceremony that by 2021 the CSEC class had returned 100 percent school IDs and an impressive 96 percent college passports, and got grades 1-3 in at least five subjects, qualifying them for enrollment in most colleges in the Caribbean and Beyond.

A total of 72 candidates took 19 subjects at the CSEC level this year and achieved 100 percent high school diplomas (Grades 1-4), while nine of the 19 subjects returned 100 percent college degrees: Biology, Human and Social Biology, English A, English B, Geography, Social Studies, Physics, Fine Arts, and Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPM). EDPM, taught by Kester Small, had the highest score in first grade at 84 percent.

Academy students again outperformed their regional counterparts in math, returning 97 percent school and 79 percent college passports. The information technology department also delivered excellent results, returning 100 percent school cards and 90 percent college passes.

Notable achievements were also made in Integrated Science, which returned 100 percent school cards and 97 percent college passports, and chemistry, which returned 100 percent school and 73 percent college passports.

Punjabi wrote 13 subjects, one of which was CAPE Communication Studies. He returned eight passes in first grade, five straight “A” profiles, three passes in second grade, and a third in CAPE Communication Studies, which he wrote in fifth grade after having written English A in fourth grade and had returned a grade of one.

The salutator Aquilla Pemberton passed 11 subjects, including seven grade one, four with straight “A” profiles, three grade two and one grade three.

The runner-up and best of the year Joselyna George wrote 11 subjects and returned eight classes, four with an even “A” profile, one class four and one class three in CAPE Communication Studies.

The four best students are rounded off by Desmond Jones, who wrote 10 subjects and returned nine grades one, three with an even “A” and a second grade.

Of the 23 CAPE graduates, seven have degrees as Associate of Science, nine have degrees as Associate of Arts, six degrees in tourism, information and communication technology, entrepreneurship and science, and a certificate in mathematics.

Beek holds an Associate of Science degree specializing in mathematics. He received five of the ten lessons he took, while Salutator Shuling Luo, an Associate of Arts degree in Business Studies with a specialization in accounting, received two of the twelve lessons he passed.

The Board of Directors of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE), to which the school reports, congratulates all students, their parents, teachers and the management team on another year of excellent results and continues to work to ensure that all entrusted students receive a high quality education to offer in the care of the school.


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