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Scholarship winner, Anjuli Ramnathsingh says ‘Balance is key to life’

The Ministry of Education announced the recipients of national scholarships March 16. A total of 100 scholarships were distributed based on the results of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination 2021 (CAPE). Holy Faith Convent, Penal (HFCP) is celebrating their scholarship winners Navita Rampersad, open scholarship Environmental Studies, and Anjuli Ramnathsingh, open scholarship Modern Studies/Humanities. The Catholic News spoke to the two young women who are both pursuing further studies.

Anjuli Ramnathsingh is currently in her first year of law at The University of the West Indies. She told the Catholic News that earning a scholarship was a surprise. “I worked hard during the two years, I just wanted to be successful, I just wanted to do well…it was something you hear people talking about which I never, never, never believed I could have done it.”

Ramnathsingh, 19 years, got 1s in Environmental Science, Geography, History, Caribbean Studies, and Communication Studies. After completing her studies at the UWI she hopes to further her law studies in England doing a Master’s degree and sitting the bar exam. “I want to become a politician and come back to Trinidad and really make a meaningful contribution to society”, she said assertively. She is aware of the negative side of politics. “I think politics today is so dirty, it is so infested, and we really need a new vision, a new set of persons to transform the political situation in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally as well.”Ramnathsingh already knows the issues which she thinks needs to be tackled. She listed, care for the environment, race, gender, class, lack of access to justice, and education. Her mother Annesha and “father figure” Orrin John Baptiste always made sure she and her brother Daniel had awareness about what was going on in the country. “Despite growing up sheltered, my parents always pointed out this and that and the other. We spent most of our life doing a lot of charity…I did a lot of charity work through the Church.”

She was a parishioner and altar server at St Anthony’s, Pt Fortin up to Form Five. Ramnathsingh said studying during the pandemic was difficult and every day felt like repetition. The Covid-19 prevented extra-curricular activities and young people socialising and being in close contact. When the pandemic started, she was in Lower Six. Her first set of exams for CAPE Unit 1 “was a disaster”. For the July 2020 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), the Caribbean Examinations Council decided on a modified examination process for the award of valid grades.

A combination of Multiple-Choice Assessment for Paper 1, School Based Assessment, and where applicable additional assessment components along with appropriate modelling accounting for historical data and teacher predicted information as important calibration/quality check. “I would have done poorly in my first Unit. For my second Unit, I was writing about six subjects, and it was Covid-19… my mental health was not there at all, it was pretty, pretty difficult.” Responding how she coped, Ramnathsingh said studying with friends helped remove the isolation of studying alone. Holy Faith’s other scholarship recipient, Navita Rampersad is a close friend. Together with other friends, they studied together on Skype. They tried to maintain their school clubs such as the French and Eco clubs in the digital space. She admits during her first year of Upper Six, she was not praying as much, reading her Bible, and saying the rosary. “The turning point was when I did horribly in exams…in 2020— it was a wake-up call. Ever since then, I try to wake up early and pray before school.

When school starts, I was so consumed before I go to bed. I would read my Bible every single morning and I would try to read the scripture and interpret in a way that was applicable to my life and try and make myself a better person and also being a student. You have to deal with so much. The Bible really calmed and gave me wisdom.” Ramnathsingh said being at home allowed her to spend more time with her family and she learned many lessons. “Balance is key to life; academics aren’t everything. You need to be an all-rounded individual, put God first in your life and venture to Him when you are in need of help. During my final year of Form 6, I faced many obstacles. However, my parents always advised me to do this.”

Ramnathsingh said she missed physical Masses during the pandemic and loved attending St Anthony’s. “I love that parish so much; it was very energetic. I did First Communion, and Confirmation, down there.” When they relocated to Debe, she began attending Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando. She currently lives in north Trinidad. Asked to give three tips for studying/preparing for exams she said: Time Management is key, discipline is also very important, and “prioritise your goals…for me, I always put my education first”.