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Jun 7, 2017

The Best of P.S.E. from the Deep South

The highest performing district of the Primary School Examinations, from an average point of view, is Corozal and the lowest performing is Toledo. The southern part of Belize has consistently ranked after Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Belize – and so it is not often that Stann Creek and Toledo make it on the list of top twenty-five performers in the exam.  Stann Creek didn’t make it at all this year on that list, but Toledo did.  Two girls from Punta Gorda scored third and fourth overall in the country.  It is a big achievement for them and their families, but perhaps even bigger news for their schools. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was in P.G. today and files this report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Devyne Lopez and Leeanne Palma have always been model students. But since the release of the P.S.E results, they have become household names in the Toledo District. It is not often that students from this District make it in the top 25 for the national exam.

 

Devyne Lopez, 3rd Place Overall, P.S.E.

“I was a bit disappointed at first because I thought I could have done better, but I still got the grade that I worked for.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now that you have thought about it, how are you feeling now?”

 

Devyne Lopez

Devyne Lopez

“I am a bit excited now because I got third out of over seven thousand students.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Are kids here more motivated and thinking, ‘hey, it doesn’t matter where I come from, that I can do this because Devyne did it?’”

 

Devyne Lopez

“The Standard Five students, they are planning to try to beat my grade next year. The teachers are very excited and my parents are excited as well.”

 

Leeanne Palma

Leeanne Palma, 4th Place Overall, P.S.E.

“Right now it is a state of shock. It is unbelievable to be one of the top twenty-five students on this list. But I feel very proud and honored to be a part of this list especially coming in from Toledo and ranking in the top five.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What do you think this means for your school and your friends who attend this school?”

 

Leeanne Palma

“Right now it is a very big deal because I am the first from my school to ever make it on the top five. And to all my friends, to them it is inspiration and they have been motivating me from standard four to now about P.S.E., so it is something I am using for them.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you set out with a goal to say, ‘I am going to aim for the top five?’”

 

Leeanne Palma

“No. I did not. My aim was the top twenty-five, but with the help of God and my family members and teachers, it became possible.”

 

Twelve-year-old Devyne attends P.G. Methodist Primary School. She has been a consistent ‘A’ student and her family couldn’t be prouder of her third place finish in the P.S.E.

 

Doris Lopez

Doris Lopez, Mother of Devyne Lopez

“I was very excited. I think I was even more excited than her. I heard the news and I was in my bedroom, so I ran outside and I wasn’t even dressed properly and I said, ‘Devyne, you did excellent.’ And she said, ‘Why are you so excited?’ I said, ‘well you go the first highest in Toledo –that is excellent.’”

 

Winston Lopez

Winston Lopez, Father of Devyne Lopez

“I always ensure that I am there for them 24/7. I give them what they need – the support physically and mentally. And giving them the environment that they deserve. Most fathers do not have the chance or they do not want to do that – they want to be here, there and everywhere. But I try my best to be there for my kids. Positive discipline is very important in the home. If you do not have that, then the kids will fall astray.”

 

Doris Lopez

“Preparation begins from the womb. From the time I was pregnant with my children, I would read to them. I set the tone from a very early age; no social media, social time for them is Fridays, limited internet access also. So I always monitor them.”

 

Thirteen-year-old Leeanne is a student at Saint Peter Claver. Her aim was to get one of the coveted spots on the top twenty-five list. She came fourth overall – an achievement that left her mother short for words.

 

Lilietza Tellez

Lilietza Tellez, Mother of Leeanne Palma

“I can’t explain my feeling right now. So proud; happy; umm…beyond recognition. I feel so good. I am beyond very, very happy and excited for her because she is a very dedicated student, humble.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What kind of work did you put in as her mother in terms of studying, staying focused on school?”

 

Lilietza Tellez

“Well, I always, whenever I come from work I stay back and help her with her homework. I always inspire her; motivate her to do her work to her best.”

 

For both schools, this achievement has been a long time coming and it is being celebrated by the entire community.

 

Florence Ramclam

Florence Ramclam, Principal, P.G. Methodist School

“It means a whole lot. It means greatness for our school. It means history for our school. It means history for our district. It has been something that we have been anticipating a long time. We have always been in the top ten for our district, but we have been keeping our eyes on the prize for us to reach the twenty-five. We saw Devyne as one of those potential students from standard four and so we knew that we would have made it to the top twenty-five or so but definitely I did not think on the top five. So, we are grateful for her.”

 

Phillipa Williams

Phillipa Williams, Std. 6 Teacher, P.G. Methodist School

“We will use all that we have had and all that we have learned over the years. We are going to continue doing those things. All we ask, all I ask is for the cooperation of the parents because we have the teachers, the students, and the parents on task – then everything. We look forward to first place, which was the prize at the end. But we got third, so we are satisfied with that.”

 

Telesforo Paquiul, Principal, St. Peter Claver School

“It was unbelievable. We were really not expecting it; however, one of the things we have been targeting from last year was to be in the top twenty-five for the country. Last year it didn’t really materialize, but we are that this year we went above expectation.”

 

Telesforo Paquiul

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think this achievement will inspire your other students to say, ‘well, Leeanne did it; so I can do it as well?’”

 

Telesforo Paquiul

“Certainly. From the time we got the news yesterday that was the thing right around here. And the students are really, I think, very much motivated by the performance of Leeanne. And I think, you know, knowing now that we can be there, it is just a matter of trying to maintain it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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