Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Top CSEC student: Music helps me focus
17 year-year-old Saraswati Girls’ Hindu College student Simone Persad not only distinguished herself academically by attaining four distinctions and five ones in the CSEC 2013 examinations, but she is also an accomplished musician who plays four instruments and sings. She credits music with helping her to both relax and focus during her studies when she gained four distinctions in Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, grade one in English Language and three grade twos in Geography, Information Technology and Biology. Persad plays the keyboard, bansuri (Indian flute), harmonium and the violin. She said her favourite instrument was the violin, even though she is a novice. Persad said she persuaded her parents to purchase a violin for quite a long time as she dreamt of playing it ever since she was very little. She is an advanced level vocalist at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Co-operation and also a member of the Warren Road Shiv Mandir Youth and Singing Group.
Persad spent part of her August holidays in Margarita, where her family took her to celebrate her CSEC passes. She said: “From my experience, music has helped me a lot in my focus toward my school work. “Anytime I’m studying and I feel stressed, I would play a karaoke track on the computer and sing along or just turn on the keyboard and play some crazy beats and make my own tunes and sing along. Even if I’m not good at it, I pick up the violin a bit because success has got to start somewhere. “Since the Mozart effect works on me, then I really do believe in it.”
Persad, who lives close to the school in Bejucal, Cunupia, said she loves spending time with her family and attending the Warren Road Shiv Mandir, where her talent for singing and playing musical instruments were nurtured under the guidance of her guru/teacher Madho Mohan. She said she must thank God first for giving her the strength and courage to keep on going and make her dreams come through. Persad said she also had to thank her parents, mother, Carol Persad, a housewife and father, Takoor Persad, a ship-to-shore crane operator on the Port Authority for assisting her financially and also for keeping her spiritually and culturally strong.
Kudos to many
She thanked her siblings for being there to carry her to every show to perform and also to all the extra lessons classes. Persad thanked her teachers for being there for their students by giving up their lunch breaks and even staying back after school to ensure all projects were completed. She said the teachers also took the time to inspire and encourage their students to achieve. Persad also thanked her music teacher at Saraswati Girls’ Hindu College, Reshma Beepath, for giving her the opportunity to perform at most of the school’s cultural activities by playing the keyboard or singing. Her inspiration, she said, was her elder brother Kevin, who was an extremely hard worker who knew exactly what he wanted. Persad said he always attained his goals by working hard and never taking the easy way out. Persad’s two older brothers are her role models. Kevin has a BSc in Chemical and Process Engineering, while Sheldon is currently pursuing his BSc in Engineering. Her younger brother, Shaun, is writing SEA examinations in 2014. She said studying for the examinations was very tough, but the desire for her to reach further in life kept her going.
She said it was challenging for her because every time she was offered a chance to lime with her family or friends, it would either be during her study time at night or during lesson hours, but with the support of her family, friends and teachers she made it.
It’s only the beginning
For Persad, it’s only the beginning of her academic life. Her plan after CSEC is to pursue CAPE examinations in Pure Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Persad said she was prepared to work extremely hard for those two years, and hopefully after, she will pursue her degree in either Chemical and Process or Aeronautical Engineering. She said this was so because she enjoyed Mathematics with a passion and her secret to doing well in mathematics was to practise every chance she had. Persad said there were so many sayings that discourage students from Mathematics that are not true. She said her Mathematics and Additional Mathematics teacher, Sunita Ramkumarsingh, taught her to keep an open mind and not be quick to judge every complication that came across since it can be solved one way or another. Persad said her family and faith had a lot to do with her success, and she could not thank her family enough for all the support they gave her. During the past two years, her elder brothers kept their weekend schedules clear just to transport her to and from lessons. Persad had kudos for her little brother, Shaun, for keeping her stress-free during those times by always challenging her to play fights which he always won. She said everything she asked God for—strength, happiness, courage and health—she always received. Persad has been accepted to Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College to complete sixth form and CAPE examinations.
Advice for students sitting exams:
• Have faith in God.
• Have a support system, parents, family, friends, teachers and mentors.
• Stay grounded, stay focused, set a goal and desire it.
• Budget time to study as well as relax, become involved in cultural activities, competitions.
• Nothing comes easy, hard work is the key.
• Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.
• Set long and short term goals and work toward them.
• Do not give up what you want most for what you want now.
• Some of you may not like it when your parents are rough on you and constantly urge you to study. I know it’s annoying, but trust me, all the grown-ups who are cool today are the ones who were disciplined by parents and guardians.
• Never forget where you come from, no matter how successful you are.
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