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for 13TH OCTOBER, 2016
Priya Maraj of Lakshmi Girls' Hindu
College and Raquel Le Blanc of St Joseph's
Convent, Port-of-Spain, are this year's
President's Medal winners.
Minutes after the announcement was
made by Education Minister Anthony Garcia
yesterday, both girls said they were "blessed
Praising God, their teachers and family
members, in that order, for their outstanding
success, both Maraj and Le Blanc agreed
that "it had not yet sunk in."
Maraj said it was a "surreal feeling" while
Le Blanc said: "I am a little shocked and
overwhelmed but ever so grateful."
Maraj, who is already enrolled at the Uni-
versity of the West Indies, St Augustine
Campus, pursuing a double major in chem-
istry and bio-chemistry, said she was hoping
to pursue a career in forensics.
The elder daughter of Geeta and Puran
Maraj, the 18-year-old's family said they
were not surprised she won a scholarship
as she had placed in the top 100 students
when she wrote the Secondary Entrance
Assessment (SEA) exam.
Aunt Asha Harripaul said she was pleas-
antly surprised to learn she had copped the
President's Medal, but added: "This is a
child who came from a humble background
but she did not let this deter her. She is a
very simple child."
Proud of her very hardworking niece,
Harripaul said Maraj had maintained her
excellent academic record from SEA through
secondary school as she achieved eight dis-
tinctions at the Caribbean Examination
Council (CXC) Ordinary Level exams and
topped the Caribbean in Unit One in the
areas of physics and chemistry.
Harripaul said: "We expected a scholar-
ship but were uncertain if she would win
the President's Medal."
Maraj's younger sister, Vishti, is a Form
Five student at Lakshmi Girls'
, so her family
is already joking that she has some very
large shoes to fill.
Principal of Lakshmi Girls Hindu College,
Sonia Mahase-Persad, excitedly congrat-
ulated Maraj on her success as she said it
was second consecutive win for the school
in thar category. Shivrani Prabhudial was
a President's Medal winner in 2015.
Mahase-Persad said: "We knew she could
do this as her performance right through
indicated this. Priya is a well-rounded stu-
Over at the Le Blanc house in Long Cir-
cular, it was a similar scene of jubilation
as friends and family gathered to congrat-
ulate the excited young woman.
Honoured and overwhelmed by the level
of her success, Le Blanc, 18, said she intend-
ed to continue pursuing law at the Uni-
versity of the West Indies, S. Augustine.
Revealing her secret of prayer and hard
work, Le Blanc's parents said the support
from teachers and family was also citrical.
Proud parents, Mera and Andre Le Blanc,
said they worked hard to ensure Raquel
and sister Justine had a comfortable envi-
ronment in which to study.
It was almost a mirror image of the Maraj
household, in that Le Blanc's sister is a
Form Three student attending her sister's
Excited, happy and thankful about her
achievements, Le Blanc said the family was
experiencing a range of emotions which
had left them feeling breathless but happy.
SAGHS, Lakshmi, Naps shine
Garcia and Minister in the Ministry of
Education, Dr Lovell Francis, were present
at the hastily arranged press conference at
the Ministry of Education, Port-of-Spain.
Vowing to cap off the scholarship ceiling
at 400, Garcia said Cabinet had decided
to award a total of 389 scholarships to stu-
dents who excelled at the 2016 Caribbean
Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)
He explained that seven spaces had been
left available for students who may seek to
query marks later on and who may be grant-
ed upgraded scores. Noting that the overall
student performance this year was "gen-
erally good," Garcia said it was in keeping
with past results.
Providing a breakdown of the result in
the Unit One module, Garcia said 94.6 per
cent of students had been successful in
achieving Grades 1 through 5. Of the 33
subject areas in this unit, students achieved
a 90 per cent pass rate in 24 subject areas.
Noting students were continuing to per-
form very well, Garcia said in the Unit Two
module, 94.1 per cent of students success-
fully achieved the requisite pass marks,
which represented a slight increase from
Girls sweep President's Medals
the previous year of 93.9 per cent.
With 91 open scholarships and 298 additional
scholarships being awarded, Garcia said it would
cost Government approximately $61,600,000 in
Acknowledging that girls continued to outperform
boys at all levels, he said 247 scholarships were
awarded to females compared to 142 being awarded
He said that development continued to engage
the policymakers, as systems were now being devised
to increase and improve academic performance in
Government schools, especially in light of the con-
tinued success being enjoyed by denominational
primary and secondary schools.
The award of scholarships in various areas were:
Business Studies (three open, 42 additional); Creative
Studies (two open, two additional); Environmental
(four open, 49 additional); General Studies (four
open, two additional); Humanities (two open, one
additional); ICT (50 open, three additional); Languages
(11 open, five additional); Maths (34 open, 29 addi-
tional); Natural Sciences (16 open, 164 additional);
and Technical Studies (one additional).
Admitting the results confirmed most students
in the area of sciences, Garcia said Cabinet was con-
cerned at that continuing development, as more
efforts needed to be made to steer students in other
subject areas, especially in keeping in line with the
country's developmental agenda.
He said the criteria used to select this year's win-
ners did not vary from the process used last year.
He said he was proud students from five Govern-
ment schools managed to secure a total of 17 schol-
Among the government schools that managed to
secure scholarships was Queen's Royal College (six);
Couva East Secondary School (six); St George's Col-
lege (three); St. Francois Girls' College (one) and
Manzanilla Secondary (one).
Asked to say if the ministry had begun recouping
monies from past scholarship winners, Lovell Francis
Leading the charge in copping the most of schol-
arships for 2016 were:
St Augustine Girls' High School (45); Lakshmi
Girls' Hindu College (42); Naparima Boys' (41);
Naparima Girls' (37); St. Joseph's Convent, PoS (29);
Hillview College (28) and Presentation College,
President's Medal winner Raquel Le Blanc, of St Joseph's Convent, Port-of-Spain, is lifted
by her father Andre, mother Mera and sister Justine at their home in The Meadows, Debe,
Long Circular, after receiving her results yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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