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Jun 6, 2017

Curt Smith, Bernice Yorke’s and Belize’s Best in P.S.E.

Curt Smith

Students are breathing a sigh of relief tonight, following the release of this year’s P.S.E. results. Seven thousand two hundred and seventy one students registered for the exam that assesses students in the areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.  English and Math always pose a challenge and this year was no different.  We can also say tonight that students from Punta Gorda excelled, placing in the list of top twenty-five scorers. But the number one scorer is Curt Smith from Bernice Yorke Institute in Belize City. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The top performing student in the Primary School Examination is twelve year old Curt Smith. The violinist and member of the Pallotti Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Belize added another accolade to his name with the highest mark in the exam. Curt is a student of the Bernice York Institute of Learning – a private primary school that has performed consistently well over the years in the P.S.E. And for this young student – he depended on that legacy of quality teaching, as well as his parents and his own hard work to beat out thousands for that first place. But even so, he was still pretty surprised to learn that he ranked number one in the country.

 

Curt Smith, Top Performer PSE

“I did not expect to come in the top twenty-five. I knew I would do good, but not that good. But I was taken aback when I got the news of coming in first.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What did it take to prepare for this first place?”

 

Curt Smith

“Well, nights of barely any sleeping. I had to wake up early because I live in Ladyville also and so I had to study before coming to school, pay attention in class, focus, do your work properly, make sure you bring your homework on time, try not to skip school and stuff like that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How did the teaching here impact your results, and you overall, as a student?”

 

Curt Smith

“The teachers put us into study partners and so we would help our study partners to bring them up and that really helped others and it also helped me. The school has also employed technology in the classroom, so there are games on the tablet which helps us to study. We use Quizzlet to expand our vocabulary.”

 

Behind Curt are his parents – equally proud and involved in their son’s education.

 

Lloyd Smith

Lloyd Smith, Father

“Complete surprise. Not that we were not looking at him to excel some parts of it, but to top it all off is a surprise and a job well done by his mother. She spent countless time, late hours in the night and still get up three thirty- four and so she did a sterling job.”

 

Senaida Smith, Mother

“I am very, very proud. Didn’t expect it nuh and I guess he didn’t even was thinking about it. But, thank God that he has pulled through.”

 

Senaida Smith

Andrea Polanco

“Mister Smith, what does it take to raise a son, to excel this well in school?”

 

Lloyd Smith

“It take a lot. Think first of the cost and then the time spent. And as I said, she has been right behind him to ensure that he did whatever he had to do.”

 

Curt, while the top performer of his school, is but only one of such top students. The Bernice Yorke Institute sent seventeen students to sit the PSE and eight of them ranked in the top twenty-five in the country. The small but academically formidable institution uses a combination of methods for teaching, including the use of technology. Principal Sherri Ali says the seed for success is planted at an early age.

 

Shery Ali

Shery Ali, Principal, Bernice Yorke Institute

“We were pleasantly surprised once more. I know they would have done well because we try to continue and push to maintain excellence. So, I was really surprised and pleased as well.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Principal, what it takes to produce the type of students such as yours to perform well in P.S.E.?”

 

Shery Ali

“Well, it starts all with the early childhood education. That is the most important aspect of children learning; so we have a tendency to focus very firmly to have the children develop a good strong foundation beginning at the pre-school and the infant division within our school.”

 

Another top performing school in the Belize District is the Belize Elementary – with a total of five students in the top twenty-five; and the second highest performer overall.

 

Suamien Palacio, 2nd Overall, P.S.E.

“My family was very involved in my P.S.E where we had a secret goal where we tried to top the P.S.E. and we achieved it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What advice would you give to students who are going to sit the P.S.E.; what do they need to do?”

 

Suamien Palacio

Suamien Palacio

“Well, obviously they need to study every single day, at least two months before P.S.E. Like in your worse subjects, just study that you have and then just study more your favorite subjects.   My advice is to take constant breaks because you have to balance work and the play time.”

 

Majiba Sharp

Majiba Sharp, Principal, Belize Elementary

“We are extremely proud and extremely humbled. We worked very hard and for us it was team work; teachers, parents, students. We all have to do our part and we start from very young.”

 

Other top performing schools in the city include Humming Bird Elementary with three students in the top twenty-five. Two public schools that showed up on the list are Ebenezer Methodist and All Saints Primary. Making it on the top twenty-five is an achievement for William Staines and Danielle Moguel, who, by extension, also ranked first for the P.S.E. in their respective schools.”

 

William Staines

William Staines, Ranked 13th, P.S.E.

“I kind of expected it but I was still surprised when I got the results. I was actually surprised that I made it there.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What did it take to earn this space in the top twenty-five?”

 

William Staines

“I had to listen to the advice of all my teachers and parents and do the work to be able to prepare for this.”

 

Danielle Moguel

Danielle Moguel, Ranked 19th, P.S.E.

“I was very glad when I got the news. My friends are very happy for me and so are my teachers.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you expect it?”

 

Danielle Moguel

“Not really. I didn’t really expect it. I knew that I was gonna do good, but not this good.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What was the most challenging area for you?”

 

Danielle Moguel

“The most challenging area was the Math 2 because I had a lot to think and work out the problems.”

 

The third and fourth highest marks went to Punta Gorda Methodist and Saint Peter Claver in Toledo.  Corozal took three of the other top spots, while Orange Walk took four, and Cayo took three. Noticeably missing from the top twenty-five was the Stann Creek District. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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