Somara Mitchell was not surprised that he had aced his Caribbean Secondary Examination Certification (CSEC) examinations.
Neither were his parents or his Denbigh High School community. In fact, the outstanding student, who comes from a long line of academic achievers, was expected to do well.
"I knew I was going to get a lot of ones so it wasn’t really a surprise. The only shock for me was English, but overall, I was really pleased with my performance," he tells JIS News.
The quiet but confident 17-year old, attained nine subjects in this year’s CSEC, all with distinctions. The subjects are: English Language, Mathematics, Principles of Accounts, Information Technology (IT), Chemistry, Spanish, Physical Education (PE), Electrical and Electronics Technology.
Somara's performance and that of his classmates Shaneika Howard and Robert Williams, have given them hero status at the school, having achieved the institution’s best ever CSEC haul.
Shaneika also received nine subjects, all with distinctions, while Robert was successful in 10 subjects. It is the first time that any one student has achieved nine ones in the school’s history.
Some 305 students sat the CSEC exams this year at the Clarendon-based school. From that number, 41 passed nine subjects, 33 received eight subjects and 38 were successful in seven subjects.
Denbigh, an upgraded high school, has always had excellent results in external examinations, outperforming some traditional high schools. For the last four years, the institution has been the number one ranked upgraded high school in Mathematics and English Language.
Newly appointed Principal, Kasan Troupe, tells JIS News that the school’s success is not only the result of much hard work on the part of the teachers and students, but also the result of extensive planning and preparation.
She notes that the school had set out to improve the quantity and quality of grades in external exams this year, with teachers and students putting in the hard work through additional tutorials and extra classes.
She notes that while the dedication of the teachers must be lauded, the students also exhibited a level of commitment that must be commended. "They had the motivation – the internal drive to achieve," she says.
In addition to his nine ones, Samora received a complete 'A' profile in four subjects – Electrical Technology, IT, PE, and Biology. He was however a bit disappointed that he did not attain a complete 'A' profile for his favourite subject Spanish – missing out on the perfect mark by just one 'A'.
Samora, who is the youngest of three boys, credits his success not only to his "good memory", but also to his family’s exceptional “gene pool”.
"It's a family tradition; it’s been passed down from generation to generation. I know my parents are bright and my brothers, they excelled at school as well," he says.
He further admits that, "I really don’t stay up late or spend sleepless nights studying. The way how I do it is, once I take my notes, everything just comes flowing back to me and on the exam I can easily remember what to write."
The self-assured student also gives much praise to the dedication and support of his parents and teachers at Denbigh High, whom he says, have been a pillar of strength.
Samora starts sixth form at Denbigh High today (Sept. 17), where he will pursue five subjects at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level, namely, Chemistry, Computer Science, Management of Business, Accounts and Communications Studies. He is eyeing a career in accounting.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Shanieka, who credits her achievements to hard work, says she is glad her efforts have paid off.
Shanieka received nine distinctions in Agricultural Science, Physics, Human and Social Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, English Language, PE, Food and Nutrition and IT.
The very astute student informs JIS News that the key to her success is dedication and preparation. “It (CSEC) was like any normal end of year or mid-term school exam. The teachers were there to help me with preparation beforehand, so I didn’t really have to do any late night studying,” she says.
"I pay attention in class, and grasp the topics from there, so when I come home or when I’m at school with nothing to do I just look over the work," she adds.
She further tells JIS News that this positive attitude towards her school work has always served her well, even at the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) level, where she achieved a 93 per cent overall average.
Shanieka will also start sixth form at Denbigh High today, and will be pursuing five CAPE subjects. These are: Environmental Science, Food and Nutrition, Communication Studies, Chemistry, and Biology.
She is hoping to move on to the University of the West Indies, Mona after completing sixth form to pursue further studies in the field of medicine. Her goal is to become a pediatrician.