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SJC Scholarship winner tells secrets to success: faith, family and tutelage

By Klysha Best

On March 2, 2023, the Ministry of Education announced the award of 100 scholarships based on the results of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) 2022.

These scholarships were in ten cognate groups and awarded solely on academic performance. Of the 100 scholarships, 32 were Open and 68 Additional.

Alexia Trim, a former student of St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, (SJC) was among the 32 awarded an Open Scholarship. Trim, now 20 years old, attributes her success to the love and support of her close-knit family and her strong faith in God.

One of three children – she has an older brother, Shaquille, and a younger sister Aaliyah – Alexia said they, along with parents Marsha Ali and Wayne Trim, are the keys to her confidence and drive.

Trim was born with a medical condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and said she has dealt with and continues to deal with staring and sometimes even rude comments from individuals.

However, she said she was taught never to let the opinions of others keep her down or affect her self-image.

“My family is very supportive, and my parents helped to instil confidence so that I can ignore the negative reactions to my appearance,” Trim said.

“I have been fortunate to have kind classmates and teachers all throughout my academic life who all treated me as they would anyone else.”

Speaking of classmates and teachers, Trim said her time at St Joseph’s Convent was also pivotal in her becoming a scholarship winner. “My time at SJC was fulfilling and memorable. I have very fond memories with my friends, classmates and teachers and I was active in school events and clubs, which allowed me to go out of my comfort zone and develop holistically,” Trim said.

“Some of my favourite memories include participating in Parang in a Pot, and attending Sports Day. SJC provided me with great opportunities such as partaking in competitions, such as NSSEC (National Secondary School Entrepreneurship Competition) and even travelling. I was fortunate to travel abroad twice with my school’s UNESCO club; on the more recent occasion in 2019, I participated in Model United Nations in Argentina.”

She added: “Not only was SJC intellectually stimulating, [but] my alma mater also encouraged students to develop their religious lives through Masses, retreats, and religion classes. I also gained leadership skills at SJC as a Student Council Representative and Prefect. All these factors made me into an all-rounded individual.”

On learning that she had won an Open Scholarship, Trim said: “Initially, I was very shocked. Even though I had worked hard and had even placed on the regional merit lists for some of my subjects, I never expected to become an Open scholar.

“When scholarships were reduced in 2020, I had just begun Lower Six, and it became much more difficult to attain one. So, my goal was to simply do my best. Of course, I was also overjoyed and thankful for receiving a scholarship since it is the culmination of all my effort and hard work.”

So, what were the subjects she excelled in? “At Form 6, I studied Management of Business (MOB), Accounting, and Spanish, along with Communication Studies, and Caribbean Studies.”

Trim said: “Form 6 was challenging in the beginning since there was a late start due to CSEC results being released in September 2020. Additionally, I had to adjust to the heavy workload while doing online school.”

As someone who preferred in-person classes, Trim said this was a struggle since she missed physical interactions with her classmates and teachers and found it difficult to focus while at home. “However, as time progressed, I was able to develop a successful study routine and balance the workload.”

Her advice to those aspiring to attain a scholarship would be to “develop a routine that works best for you” and be consistent. “For me, this included regularly completing past papers, which I’d have corrected by my teachers. Further, making flashcards and reviewing them often was very helpful, especially for my theory or vocabulary-based subjects, such as Management of Business, and Spanish.”

Trim added, “Having balance was also important, especially during the pandemic. Throughout my secondary school life, I was involved in non-academic activities and clubs, such as volunteering with the REACH Foundation and partaking in my school’s Legion of Mary, UNESCO, and Modern Languages clubs.

“Furthermore, I also engaged in hobbies in my free time. I believe that allowing yourself the time to unwind and relax, whether on your own or with loved ones, is crucial in achieving your goals since rest and self-care are necessary for your health.”

Trim is currently pursuing Law at the University of the West Indies and is aspiring to become a lawyer either in Corporate or International Law. As a Catholic, Trim said she believes that her strong faith in God and prayer were instrumental in her success. “In fact, before my CSEC and CAPE exams, I prayed the novena to St Joseph of Cupertino.”

“My mother encouraged me to become a member of the Legion of Mary in Form 1 at SJC and this helped me to further cultivate my prayer life. I am also a lector at my parish, St Francis of Assisi in Belmont.”

“The environment at SJC is very much conducive to achieving success. The teachers are very motivated and committed. The methods that the teachers used such as frequent testing, providing feedback to students, and using supplemental material in teaching, aid in preparing for external exams.”

“My teachers regularly went above and beyond to ensure that we were adequately prepared, and they were always willing to help. Ms Rodriguez, my Accounting teacher from Form 5 to Upper Six, and Ms Morales, my Form Six MOB teacher, made themselves available to help me whenever I needed it.

“They took time outside of class to correct the past papers that I completed and to explain any topics that I had difficulty with. Their guidance extended beyond academics and for them and their assistance I am truly grateful.”

St Joseph’s Convent POS had a total of four scholarship winners, with Trim being the only Open Schol.

The Add Scholarship winners are Kyla Joseph, Caitlin Gaulteau, and T’chelle Cedeno.