Reid encourages parents as top 1,000 GSAT students recognised

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 22, 2018

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SENATOR Ruel Reid is urging parents and guardians with children entering high school in September to continue supporting them throughout their educational journey.

The minister of education, youth and information made the appeal during the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Awards Ceremony for the top 1,000 performers islandwide at the National Arena in Kingston, yesterday.

“Parents and guardians, you have a key role to play in the continuous success of your children onwards. Even as you support them, be mindful of their changing needs. Be willing to listen, and learn how you can better fulfil your responsibility to your children. And now you have Google, you can google and find out all the different things that you need to learn about how to support your children as they transition into adulthood and into adolescence.

“Be open to criticism, but ensure that you also set the right examples for them on how to handle challenges, because sometimes, even at this level, at first you may not succeed,” Senator Reid said, adding that they should not give up but try again.

The minister also urged parents and guardians not become complacent and allow the achievement of their children in GSAT to cause them to slack off on their supervision.

“I see it happen so often, coming out of this difficult, challenging period, preparing ourselves for these final exams, that we feel such a sense of awe and achievement that all of a sudden we are no longer interested in our students academic progress. We no longer follow them up with their home work. We no longer go to PTA (parents-teacher association) [meetings], we no longer enquire from the teachers how our students are progressing,” Senator Reid said, adding that it is a continuous partnership.

In order for the student to do well beyond the primary level, the minister said parents and guardians must extend the formula on their journey to success.

The minister argued that the students have not yet reached their destination, and told them that their achievement was the beginning of the next journey on the path to success.

At the same time, the minister urged the awardees to remain focused.

“You must celebrate the fact that you have had this achievement and, as you celebrate, it must be an inspiration that you have achieved so much that much is even expected of you. Much more is expected of you, and you are going to be exemplar of excellence, because you must become role models that we want every youngster, every other student in Jamaica, want to aspire, want to achieve your success. You cannot let us down. Jamaica is depending on you,” the minister implored, to the amusement of the attendees.

Among the 1,000 awardees who scored 95 per cent and over averages were this year's top six GSAT students: Joel Barnett, Kayla Wright, Shaniel Miles, Xia Francis, Zane Glenister, and Jayden Clarke, who scored 100 per cent in all subject areas.

Zane and Xia are from Emanuel Christian Academy, Joel is from Meadowbrook Preparatory, Kayla is from St Hughs Preparatory, Shaniel and Jayden are from Stella Maris Preparatory and Kensington Primary, respectively.

The minister, while noting that he is confident that the students will master high school, also encouraged the students to “humble” themselves and listen to their parents and guardians.

“I charge you also awardees, that what is going to be important to you as you transition into high school, and I know parents had more control over them while they were going to primary and prep schools, but you know they are going to go through that metamorphosis. They are going to be changing, their voices will be changing, they are going to change physiologically, and they are going to find new friends, and their friends, as part of their peer group, become more important to them and they are going to want their space and their independence. But I want to tell you awardees that you will forever be mommy's and daddy's child, never forget that,” he said.

He continued: “Your parents are far more experienced, don't turn your back on them. Some of you, because you feel like you are so bright and you know everything, you don't know everything... If I asked you about 1972 or 1977, I bet you, you don't know, but your parents are likely to know what happened in Jamaica and the world in 1977 or 1962, or 66.”

The minister also advised the students that the transition from primary school to high school will come with great challenges, but said they will have to be mindful and flexible in their approach to overcome the challenges.

“Your future is in your hands, and the fact that you are being awarded here today means that you have the potential to achieve greatness,” he added.

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