Lakshmi President's Medal winner: ‘I did it without lessons’

Pres­i­dent’s Gold Medal win­ner Am­ri­ta Singh is urg­ing all of Trinidad and To­ba­go’s young girls to keep push­ing and nev­er give up on their dreams.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia last evening af­ter cop­ping the high­est award for the Ad­vanced Pro­fi­cien­cy Ex­ams (A Lev­els), Singh said, “There is noth­ing that a woman can’t do that a man can do. We are equal­ly as strong and pow­er­ful and we are mak­ing our mark in the world in the way that we are go­ing.”

The for­mer Lak­sh­mi Girls’ Hin­du Col­lege stu­dent shared the ac­co­lade along­side for­mer St Joseph’s Con­vent, San Fer­nan­do stu­dent Sad­hana Bal­ladin.

Singh ad­mit­ted she was still in shock over the news de­liv­ered by Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­tho­ny Gar­cia dur­ing a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

“I feel so over­whelmed. It’s still sink­ing in. Maybe by to­mor­row it would re­al­ly hit me but I am hap­py, over­whelmed and all of the good emo­tions,” she said.

Singh said she was asleep when she was awak­ened last evening by sev­er­al calls from her for­mer teacher and moth­er who told her the news.

“My teacher called me and my mom was walk­ing in the door so they sort of told me at the same time,” Singh said with a smile.

A proud moth­er Maria Singh al­so couldn’t be­lieve it.

“It’s very over­whelm­ing, it’s still a shock, a sur­prise. We weren’t quite ex­pect­ing this. A schol­ar­ship, yes - but not this.”

But the achieve­ment, Am­ri­ta said, did not come with­out its sac­ri­fices.

“I don’t think I can quan­ti­fy it. It was a lot of long nights and a lot of ef­fort, and writ­ing es­says and mak­ing notes be­cause that was my method of study­ing. It was a big, long, hard process but it def­i­nite­ly paid off in the end,” she said.

Am­ri­ta proud­ly said the achieve­ment came with­out any ex­tra lessons.

“I did no ex­tra lessons what­so­ev­er for these past two years. Any work that I would have learnt would have been in school from my teach­ers, who taught me and from the text­books that we had and the notes I would have made from that. No lessons!’’

Her moth­er al­so said she had her fair share of sac­ri­fices as well, but it was nec­es­sary.

“It goes hand in hand. A child will do the work but they need sup­port in the home and with­out get­ting that love, care and at­ten­tion and 100 per cent at­ten­tion from the home, I be­lieve it would be very dif­fi­cult for a child to suc­ceed at this lev­el,” the el­der Singh said.

Maria told oth­er par­ents to con­tin­ue sup­port­ing their child, give them love, care and at­ten­tion and al­ways talk to them to find out what’s hap­pen­ing in their lives and they too can be suc­cess­ful. “

Al­ways keep that con­ver­sa­tion go­ing. You al­ways need to en­cour­age the child and let him or her know they can achieve any­thing they put their mind to,” she said.

Am­ri­ta is cur­rent­ly pur­su­ing a de­gree in Busi­ness Man­age­ment at the School of Ac­count­ing and Man­age­ment (SAMS), af­ter which she has her sights set on do­ing a mas­ters de­gree in ei­ther the fields of tourism or hu­man re­source man­age­ment. She is the fourth per­son to re­ceive the award for her al­ma mater, Lak­sh­mi Girls’ Hin­du Col­lege and will be join­ing her past class­mates at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny on Wednes­day.

- by Rishard Khan. Photo by Anisto Alves.

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