Susannah Thompson is embraced by her mother Suzanne Baptiste-Thompson after it was announced that she placed first in the SEA examination in Tobago yesterday.

Casandra Thompson-Forbes

Eleven-year-old Susannah Thompson is the top SEA student in Tobago. Susannah is a student of the St Nicholas Private Primary School. A ceremony was held at the penthouse of the Victor E. Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough yesterday to celebrate SEA successes in Tobago.

A very reserved Susannah told the media that topping the examination was a long time dream of hers.

“I feel very happy because I wanted to be in the top one for a long time,” she said.

Like many students in Trinidad and Tobago Susannah utilized zoom classes during the pandemic in preparation for the SEA and she had this message for students doing the examinations next year.

“Work hard, but not too hard because you would overwork yourself. Even though it might be tough they could keep on fighting, you might not feel to do it or to just give up, but they should continue doing it because the reward is good,” she said

Susannah’s mother Suzanne Baptiste-Thompson said she was elated over her daughter’s achievements.

“I’m elated and she is reaping the rewards of all her hard work, but we are overjoyed and we give thanks to God. She consistently worked, so it was not very hard. She worked well into the night until she solved every single problem perfectly, she never gave up, she worked hard, she said there was always a solution to every problem,” Baptiste-Thompson said.

Susannah has not asked for any specific reward for her achievement and in light of COVID-19 there are no special celebratory plans. However, her mother said, it would be a family affair of gratitude.

We celebrate every day of our lives, we are thankful but today just being with family and being thankful. (We) give God thanks and I just want to add her dad has been a big support,” she said.

Susannah passed for her first choice Bishop’s High School.

Reyanna Thomas of Lambeau Anglican placed second and Jada Gibbs of St. Andrews Anglican Primary School placed third.

Meanwhile, speaking at the simple ceremony, Secretary for Education, Innovation and Energy Kelvin Charles said the COVID-19 pandemic had changed celebrations significantly, but no matter the circumstances the top 10 students had to be recognized.

“The challenge was how do we organize to celebrate those of you who have done well in the context of what we are facing today, this pandemic of unprecedented proportions. The usual way we did it, was that we would go to each school that represents those students who did well and came in the first 10,” Charles said.

School Supervisor III Karen Boatswain commended the student for their commitment to hard work and their resilience during challenging pandemic. She also gave them some sound advice.

“Keep focused, choose your friends wisely, obey and respect your teachers. You would be leaving the primary school and you would be going to your secondary schools where you will be meeting many, many teachers and obey your parents most of all,” Boatswain said.

A total of 997 students sat the SEA examination in Tobago of whom 510 boys and 487 girls.