Twelve-year-old Emily Bhola of St Andrews Anglican School copped first place in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination in Tobago while the top boy is 11-year-old Luke Trim of Hope Anglican School.
Eight hundred and thirty-nine pupils sat the exam in Tobago.
Bhola, who said her dream is to be an electrical engineer, has received a number of accolades in the past. In 2011, she was the European Commission winner in the international women’s drawing competition.
Thankful for the support from her teachers and parents, she had this advice for pupils who may not be happy with their results. “I would like to say don’t be ashamed of themselves; just do your best and try to make the best out of it as you can,” Bhola said.
Her mother, Susan Samuel-Bhola, originally from Gasparillo, said she remains overwhelmed with her daughter’s success but emphasised that a number of factors contributed to yesterday’s end result, such as focus, dedication and, most importantly, hard work.
“My son is 19. I did the very same thing for him, and I always encourage them where their education is concerned—take it seriously, trust in God,” she said.
Trim, the top boy in Tobago, said he did not believe he could have made it but remains overjoyed. He had this advice for fellow male pupils. “So boys, even though you can’t study in the night, try to study very hard in the morning. Try to practise, practise, practise.”
Despite a drop in the number of pupils who fell below 30 per cent, Education Secretary Gary Melville said all efforts are being made to have programmes in place to assist pupils who continue to struggle with mathematics.
“Again, our students from Tobago, the average was about 53 per cent, is little below what they got nationally, about four per cent below what the national average was. It is a concern for us. We are hoping to put in place some programmes to address that,” Melville said.
All pupils in the top 25 qualified for places at Bishop’s High School.