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Princess Margaret on right path

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Princess Margaret on right path

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THE PRINCESS MARGARET Secondary School has made a drastic turnaround in its Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate results.
?Acting principal Wayne Willock said the school had recorded a 61 per cent pass rate this year compared with 37 per cent last year. Seven of their ten departments had recorded 100 per cent success.
Speaking at the school’s annual speech day and prize-giving ceremony on Friday, Willock said one student had achieved five passes; four returned four passes; 19 three passes and 26 two passes.
Of the 293 students who took the exam last year, 180 of them had passing grades, he said. The school’s music department recorded three students with distinctions and six with merits.
Willock also reported positive steps in deportment, morale, discipline and sport and commended the teaching staff for their dedication.
He said it was his dream for Princess Margaret Secondary to become the “[National Vocational Qualification] [Caribbean Vocational Qualification] university of secondary education in Barbados”.
“Already we are the farthest ahead in our endeavours, being audited and certified by the [Technical and Vocational Education and Training] Council from September of this year. We currently offer cosmetology, commercial food preparation, masonry and amenity agriculture, and barbering has even eased in without even thinking about it.
“In addition, we intend to add plumbing (and) autotronics as soon as we can raise the necessary funds to make this dream a reality. . . . Our infrastructure also needs to be strengthened in order to make this happen,” he said.
However, Willock said they continued to grapple with issues concerning students caring for ailing grandparents, lack of communication between parents, punctuality and the possession and use of cellphones and other forbidden items as well as lingering issues with deportment despite the positive steps taken.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the keynote speaker and a past teacher at the school, echoed some of Willock’s statements, praising the students’ efforts as well as those of staff. He said he was happy with the direction the school was taking.
“I am delighted to see Princess Margaret Secondary School emerging as a centre of excellence in technology and business studies. These skills will be helpful as Barbados strives to promote business enterprise and the use of the latest technology as a means of pulling the economy out if the current downturn,” he said.
In giving the students advice, Stuart said he too had to navigate peer pressure as a youth and encouraged the students to make smart choices.
“Fifty years ago, I was a secondary school student like all of you. And I remember, very clearly, both the good and bad advice I received. Some of my peers tried to put pressure on me to do what they thought would be fun [and while] I was no saint, I knew how to distinguish between right and wrong based on the values which were instilled in me by my mother and father and which were buttressed by the church and school.
“I had the common sense to listen to what others were saying to me, then make up my own mind . . . but, like me, you will need the constant support of your parents and school and you will also need to nurture a core of spiritual and moral values,” he said.
Stuart urged the parents, teachers and students to continue to build on the rich history of the school according to the school motto sublimiora petamus: Let Us Seek Higher Things. (CA)