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Mon Repos Roman Catholic School pupils express joy after receiving their SEA results yesterday.

KEVON [email protected]

For many students who wrote the 2020 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA), COVID-19 made preparation a headache. But a cooperative effort between students, teachers and parents ensured another year of excellence at the San Fernando TML Primary School.It was this small school along Farah Street that top 2020 student Ameerah Beekhoo and her parents drove into yesterday to collect her slip, which confirmed that she would attend her first choice Naparima Girls’ High School.Confident of her ability, Ameerah opened her results before a Guardian Media crew, expressing her excitement at acing the challenging feat. Her parents said they will reward her with a Pompek puppy.

Standard Five teacher Rabia Mohammed said when COVID-19 forced the closure of schools, they continued classes via Zoom sessions. It was difficult at first, but Mohammed said parents pitched in along the way and students understood the importance of the exam.“It was a little hard in the beginning but eventually they settled because they knew they were going to write an important exam. They settled down, they geared down and they did what they were supposed to do,” Mohammed said.Acting principal Wahida Mohammed-Narine said this year’s performance was similar to recent years. “Based on the results we have this year, it is similar to what we had in the past years as most students got their first choice picks – Naparima College, Naparima Girls’ High School and ASJA Girls’.“This year was quite different, where the children were not here face-to-face with the teachers. Despite that, teachers continued to work with the students, ensuring that the curriculum was delivered. Of course, they went on the virtual forum to ensure that the work was delivered. The teachers ensured that whatever had to be delivered to the school, in terms of collecting the scripts and correcting it and looking at the areas where the students had problems with the concept, those were delivered and they were taught to the students to ensure that they were prepared for the exam.”

COVID-19 also forced a change in the way students and parents collected results. Like fast food pick-ups, parents drove into the school where staff handed over result packages and the parent drove back out the compound. From early yesterday, anxious parents and students lined up outside Grant Memorial Presbyterian School in San Fernando for results. St Gabriel’s Girls’ RC School gave parents and students appointments to collect results. At San Fernando Boys’ RC School, there was a smooth flow with parents and students walking in and leaving in under two minutes to avoid congregating.There were more jubilant faces than sad ones outside schools and for many, it was a relief to overcome the hurdle that COVID-19 made higher.Sveva Bissessar was worried about results but was elated at passing for Naparima Girls’ High. Sveva’s father, attorney Ronnie Bissessar, was not surprised, as he said his daughter worked hard for her placement.

“She is a very strong, disciplined, incredible child and she deserves all the best. I am very, very happy with her result. She is grateful to her teachers; the TML family and the school that has provided everything for her. I think, all in all, it really demonstrates excellence and competence, so we are very pleased for her and we are pleased to be part of all of this,” Bissessar said.