President Paula-Mae Weekes is urging parents and guardians to nurture temperate and tolerant young adults.
On Monday, during the President's Medal awards ceremony at President’s House, Port of Spain, Weekes said, “We must attempt to produce assertive, confident students not afraid to question the status quo or speak truth to power.
"Should we not also be raising temperate and tolerant young persons who, when faced with disappointment, challenges or frustration, real or perceived, rather than descend to bullying, manipulation, or intimidation, rise to treat individuals and offices with due regard even as they fearlessly pursue their justifiable cause?”
Weekes advised the SEA top performers to take advantage of physical classes after almost two years of online learning.
“I hope that when you finally, in February, were able to meet your classmates and teachers in person and explore the halls of your new school, the experience lived up to or even surpassed your expectations.
"That socialisation and interaction with your peers is a critical part of your schooling, as it teaches you to play well with others and operate as part of a team."
After a dispute arising out of the SEA placement, the Ministry of Education agreed that Aaron Subero and Ameerah Beekhoo would share the President’s Medal (gold).
Mercedes David and Anjanee Dan were awarded the President’s Medal (silver).
On March 31, Subero, a former student of Maria Regina Grade School in Port of Spain, who passed for his first choice – Fatima College, received an invitation from acting chief education officer Lisa Henry-David to attend the ceremony to receive the President’s Medal (gold) in recognition of being the student with the highest SEA score in 2020.
On that same day, Beekhoo also received a similar invitation but was told she would receive the President’s Medal (silver) for placing “second.” It was announced in 2020 that Beekhoo was the student whop topped the exam.
On request, CXC reviewed Subero's results.
Sometime later, the completed review showed Subero scored higher than Beekhoo.
The ministry said a decision had already been made in 2020 not to adjust the awards list since the top performers are usually identified based on preliminary results.
The issue resurfaced last week when Henry-David adjusted the list without approval.
Within 48 hours, two pre-action protocol letters were sent to the ministry from attorneys representing the Beekhoo and Subero families.
Soon after, a decision was made to have the children share the first-place position.
Weekes called on the children to “navigate the many situations that present themselves in everyday life,” even if distractions and disappointments come in the way.
“You having been tested by and bested the pernicious pandemic, I have every confidence that you will not be deterred from achieving your goals. Press on with confidence, optimism and revolt.”