Twelve year-old Shanice Codner is among the thousands of youngsters, who made the transition from Primary to High School at the start of the 2009/10 academic year in September, having been successful in this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), which was held in March.
Shanice, who currently attends the Holy Childhood High School in Half-Way Tree, St. Andrew, emerged with the highest average for Mathematics, 91 per cent, of all the students at her former school, Belmont Park Primary School, in Greater Portmore, St. Catherine, who took the examination this year. It came as no surprise that she names Mathematics as her favourite subject, in an interview with JIS News.
A spirited and articulate youngster, Shanice stands out as one of Belmont Park Primary’s most outstanding students, having copped several awards for academic excellence during her time there.
“I got trophies in Grade Three for Communication Tasks and academic awards for first place (in my class). In Grade Four, I got a trophy for (overall) second place, and in Grade Five I got a trophy for academics and second place in Grade Six,” she says.
In addition to these awards, Shanice copped prizes for most outstanding results in mathematics, and overall academics, after scoring high averages in the 2008/09 end of year examinations at Belmont Park Primary, in June. She was presented with those awards during the institution’s graduation ceremony in July.
Shanice’s preparation for the GSAT could, perhaps, be described as systematic, given the activities that were involved. These, she outlines, incorporated extra classes on weekdays and Saturdays, organised by her teachers, including Principal, Ms. Edna Hibbert, in Mathematics; “strict” monitoring by her mother, Ms. Tricia Emmanuel, as well as assistance from her father, Mr. Dwight Codner. These, she further points out, were complemented by studying methodologies which she initiated.
“I used past papers that my daddy gave me and… he and my (stepmother), Aunty Farrah (Walker), would go through (them) with me. My mommy drilled me Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays,” she explains.
Outlining her methodologies, Shanice informs that, “I studied by myself. I love to (read through) the pages of my books. So, when I’m doing a test, I try to remember what I saw on the pages, and that helped me very well,” while pointing out that she refrained from watching television listings, such as cartoons, opting instead for information oriented programmes, such as the news.
The perceived challenges brought on by impending examinations, more often than not, will invoke a certain degree of apprehension, fear even. Not so for Shanice, as while her friends and classmates were seemingly unnerved during the period preceding the GSAT, she says she was unperturbed.
Shanice Codner (left), and her mother, Ms. Tricia Emmanuel, displaying some of her academic awards.
“I wasn’t nervous.I just felt normal. I did it like a normal test,” she tells JIS News.
Oddly, she admits to being nervous as the date for the examination results drew near, which she shared with her mother. “Before the results came out, I said ‘mommy, I feel like I have failed (the) GSAT, and she said ‘don’t say that, you have not failed’,” she says.
Ms. Emmanuel tells JIS News that when she was informed that Shanice was successful in the examination, she was extremely happy.
“I felt excited, and I jumped for joy. But when I went to her classroom, I saw her crying, and I said ‘you did well, so don’t cry. You did your best and you gave it your all’,” she says.
Shanice is confident that she will do well at Holy Childhood. “Well, I’m very excited. I’m going to do my best to fulfill my dreams of becoming a medical doctor. I can and will do very well in high school,” she assures.
Ms. Emmanuel is equally confident in her daughter’s ability. “I know she will continue to do her best, and I know she will excel while attending Holy Childhood. I do encourage her in her career choice. Well, sometimes she has so many choices, she wants to be a medical doctor; sometimes she says she wants to be a veterinarian…sometimes she tells me she wants to be a teacher. She tells me she would do part-time teaching,” she informs.
Ms. Emmanuel, who is an Administrative Assistant at the Kingston-based construction firm, Cosmit Limited, tells JIS News that apart from her teachers and the immediate family, Shanice benefitted from assistance extended by several other persons. These include her boss and Cosmit’s Managing Director, Mr. Cosmo Smith, whom she said, “helped her throughout the school year a whole lot”.
While attaining and displaying academic success and excellence, Shanice and her mother are also mindful of those youngsters who were not successful in the GSAT this year.
“I’m encouraging those children who did not pass this year,… to continue to do their best…and they will fulfill their dreams,” Ms. Emmanuel says.
She encourages understanding, patience, and deep input by parents, and greater application by the youngsters.