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Phoebe Garner

Seventeen-year-old Phoebe Garner of Betsy’s Hope is the only student in Tobago to earn two top places on the 2020 Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)-Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate(CSEC) examinations’ Merit List.

Hailing from Bishop’s High School, Tobago, she earned spots 6 and 7 respectively for performances in Principles of Accounts and Food, Nutrition, and Health.

She obtained six other subjects at the CSEC level. They are Maths, English Language, English Literature, Principles of Business, Spanish, Biology, and Economics.

She told Guardian Media she was shocked and excited when she heard the news.

“I knew I had put in the work, but I was not sure I would make it this far.”

She said to excel, she placed emphasis on doing different examination questions repeatedly.

Garner is also excited about her future as she pursues her Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations(CAPE) by “putting God first and everything in His hands.”

She said she plans to attend a tertiary-level institution after completing CAPE. There she wants to gain the knowledge to own and operate a food franchise catering business.

Her father Robert Garner said he will continue supporting Phoebe and his other three daughters as best he can.

Garner, who works as a Tourism Officer with the Tobago House of Assembly, said he does not believe in ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child.’

But he quickly added that he has never had to use the rod.

The proud father said he is more concerned about his children’s spiritual wellbeing than their academic performance as he deems spirituality more crucial for their development than academics.

In fact, he credited the spirituality gained from the family’s attendance at the Bethel Tabernacle as contributing to Phoebe’s CSEC success.

“My daughters grew up in church. Phoebe plays music in the church. It has helped her remain focused and quieted her spirit.”

Three of his daughters have attended Bishop’s High School. One has completed her studies there.

He said he has been attentive to what is happening at school and believes fathers should play a crucial role in their children’s life.

“ Since my daughters first entered Bishop’s, seven years ago, I have missed only two of the Parent Teacher Association’s monthly meetings,” he said.

The father praises the work of the teachers and principal Cindy Ramnarine at his daughters’ school.