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Nov 30, 2018

E. P. Yorke High is 1st & 2nd in 2018 CSEC Exams

Hundreds of students from across the country gathered at the auditorium at Muffles College in Orange Walk Town for the annual national awards ceremony for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificates. The CXC National Committee of Belize recognized the most outstanding performers in the exams – with over five hundred receiving certificates of excellence and over eight hundred with certificates of achievement. This year, Edward P. Yorke High School took top two honors. Andrea Polanco was in Orange Walk Town today and shared more from the event.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The country’s best and brightest in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams were honored today at a ceremony in Orange Walk Town. Proud parents, teachers and other education officials were on hand to see more than five hundred students receive certificates of excellence According to Brenda Armstrong of the National CXC Committee this year’s results surpassed last year’s and puts Belize above the regional average.


Brenda Armstrong

Brenda Armstrong, Chairperson of the National CXC Committee

“We weren’t prepared for this year’s results, which far surpassed last year’s performance. We have indeed raised the bar. There are five hundred and eighty-eight certificates of excellence recipients and our certificates of achievements which are given to their schools exceed eight-hundred and odd.”


Andrea Polanco

“How did we do compared to the rest of the region?”


Brenda Armstrong

“Belize has done exceptionally well in many subject areas. We surpassed the Caribbean average in many subject areas. As I said, English B is one of the areas we are working on and the Caribbean has done better on that. But we are way above the regional average in English and many other subject areas.”


And the most outstanding student in Belize is Alexandria Fermin of E.P. Yorke High School in Belize City. Fermin was recognized for capturing first place with sixteen grade ones and one grade two. She says that while she did all the work needed, it was the support that pushed her to the top.


Alexandria Fermin

Alexandria Fermin, Most Outstanding Candidate

“It was a lot of work like I am sure anyone would have assumed. It was ridiculous. A lot of sleepless nights when coffee was definitely needed. But I can’t say that it was just hard work, a lot of it was just support. Because I could have put in all the hard work I wanted but if it wasn’t for my mom and all my friends and some of my friends parents who sat there and say that they know I am tired and feel like I can’t do it but they know that I can and that I am brilliant and can work hard I can do it. And I did. And even when I got my results, I was like yeah sixteen grade ones that is exciting but I wasn’t thinking that I would ever be first place. I was thinking that there would be someone better. Everyone that’s known me, that’s contributed to this, can take pride in my achievement. Yeah I did it but it is not just my achievement, it is all of theirs because I could have never been here without every single one of my educators, my friends, my parents, my little sister. They are everything and this is for them.”


Fermin, who wants to become anesthesiologist, says she sat seventeen exams because she wanted to secure funding for her education. And today she received a full scholarship as a part of the first place prize package.


 Alexandria Fermin

“At first, I wanted to do the fifteen for the grant that was gonna be allotted to me for my education. My mom is a single mother and she has two daughters. Education is expensive. It is not the easiest thing to come by, the opportunities. So, in the beginning this was for her. I wasn’t too confident in my abilities, so the other two that I did was like to fall back and I was gonna do just the extra one. My principal says there is a record you know, sixteen grade ones is the most that has ever happened and I want you to get like seventeen and break that record because I know you can do it.  I fell just a little bit short.”


Ashton Tillett, also of E.P. Yorke, took second place in the CSEC exams. He sat seventeen subjects – and obtained fifteen grade ones and two grade twos. This overachiever says that it took a lot of sacrifice to get the outstanding grades.


Ashton Tillett

Ashton Tillett, Outstanding Candidate

“I was a little bit disappointed because I am too competitive. I am extremely grateful to get such an award and I am extremely grateful for all the people who have been behind me all these four years.”


Andrea Polanco

“Seventeen CSEC exams – how did you prepare for all those exams?”


Ashton Tillett

“It was a lot, honestly. We had regular classes, afternoon classes, and evening classes but for me to be completely ready for the exams, I had to do a lot of personal studying and preparation.”


Tillett’s life story is one of hardship and sacrifices – but with his hard work he persevered. He says this achievement brings him one step closer to become a neurosurgeon.


Ashton Tillett

“I want to be a neurosurgeon. I know it is a lot of studying and years of school but I am willing to put in the years to get that.”


Andrea Polanco

“What perhaps sparked that interest in you to pursue studies in Science?”


Ashton Tillett

“Ben Carson is my role model. He is one of the most famous neurosurgeons and I just look up to him. His struggles remind me of my struggles. The things he went through reminds me of the things I go through and went through.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, talk to us about some of your struggles?”


Ashton Tillett

“So, I live so far away from school and so it is an extra sacrifice to get up early and to sleep late. You know, just that extra push and I wouldn’t say that my life is perfect and that imperfect is what pushes me to excel. You know that that through education that I can make something better for myself.”


And like Fermin and Tillett, Armstrong says that the CSEC report shows that more and more students are sitting exams outside of subjects they do in class and overall they have been performing well.  But while CSEC exams show that Math has been improving, the grades in Literature are still lagging.


Brenda Armstrong

“Although our performance in Mathematics improved greatly, we continue to push in that area as a country and region. But we were also encouraged by the improved performance. We also have some challenges in English B, which is Literature, which I believe is from the fact that many of our students don’t read as much as we did. So, I would encourage all students, from primary, secondary and above, to make reading a hobby; make it a pastime.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


The top performers in the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE) were also recognized today’s ceremony.

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