Queen’s College’s Isha Raman’s focus was “laser sharp” on capturing the 2019 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) top award. To give herself a fighting chance, at the Paul L. Adderley Award, she even took three extra classes – art, graphical communications, and keyboarding – outside of school hours with the sole purpose to sit 11 exams and not eight.
When she realized her dream and received the award on Monday, February 3, Isha said she immediately felt relieved and happy.
“It was more like relief because it was a long process, and happiness in the end, realizing it was worth it. It was encouraging to me because all the effort that I put in was worth it,” she said.
“It all started in Grade 11. I wanted to get top score for sure, so I had to put extra effort and had to take three different subjects … which I took outside school hours. If I didn’t take those three, I would only have taken eight, and even if I had gotten all As, I wasn’t sure if I would have gotten top score.
The 12th grade student scored 10 A grades and one B grade and also took home the Carol Hanna Award for Best Overall Performance 2019 BGCSE Examination across independent schools.
Isha was further motivated to write the 11 senior national examinations because she felt her Bahamas Junior Certificate results weren’t up to her standard. She took 11 junior examinations and missed the opportunity to take the BJC biology by two marks, which did not sit well with her.
“It was just that serious,” she said. “All that anger and hate I turned into motivation to improve myself.”
Isha is the 12th Q.C. student and fourth consecutive Comet student to record the Best BGCSE Examination since the inception of the exam and the recognition of best overall performers.
Since the inception of the exam, St. Andrew’s School has had six students; St. Augustine’s College, five; Forest Heights Academy, two; Nassau Christian Academy, Jordan Prince Williams, Temple Christian Schools, and The Bahamas Home Schooling Association, one each.
With her national exams behind her, the daughter of dad Janikiraman Kesavamoorthy and mom Shamshia Hassain, has turned her focus to finishing high school strong, and is taking a number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses – calculus, French, literature and composition, human geography, psychology and studio art.
And it’s all with a view to ensuring her end goal is once again realized.
“I have, like, a whole plan set up,” said Isha who was born in England, but is Singaporean. She arrived in The Bahamas during her fifth-grade year, initially spent half a school year at St. Andrew’s School before transferring to Q.C. where her mom is an ELC (Early Learning Centre) teacher.
“My end goal is to be a CEO of video gaming company,” said the graduating senior who also says math and art are two of her favorite subjects.
She plans on studying computer engineering for her undergraduate degree, immediately following that with a Master’s in gaming, before taking two years off to work, and then enrolling in an MBA program, which she said has to be at an Ivy League School.
With her results and drive, and the goals she’s set for herself, one would be inclined to think that Isha would be one of those smart kids that always has their nose in a book – to the exclusion of almost everything else. But not so.
“My work ethic is different than other kids. I have a different view on work. I’m smart, but I don’t like doing work when it’s not necessary,” she said.
Isha absolutely abhors homework, an opinion she has that she says is contradictory to almost every other person’s way of thinking.
“I don’t pay much attention to homework, because even if a student gets good grades on homework that doesn’t make them smart, because they can copy answers.”
She also believes there is so much more to life than just school and says everyone needs time for themselves to do more than just schoolwork.
And she likes her AP courses better than high school courses, because she said the focus is more self-study and she’s not forced to do it for a grade.
“They give you topics and you study if you want to, and I still have time to do other stuff.”
Isha is the captain of her school’s volleyball team and plays softball for Q.C.; she also plays badminton at a private club.
The graduating senior has a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) and knows it could be better, a point she says her parents and teachers all reinforce to her.
“Some people think 3.5 is good, but knowing me, I could have done better,” she said.
Despite what people think, Isha also credits her friends with her success as she says they help to push her as they all ascribe to the ‘no one left behind’ mentality during their group study sessions.
“I’m a people’s person and can’t be alone. I need people around me, and we always come together in groups and understand we never leave anyone behind when it comes to learning, and that helped me a lot. Studying with friends is not like learning, it’s like spending time with friends,” she said.
She also credits Q.C.’s teachers with making sure students do well.
“With the extra subjects, Q.C. teachers go out of their way to help you – during lunch, after school, even on Saturdays. Q.C. wants us to do our best, but it’s not like they’re pushing you, they’re understanding and encouraging us to do better. It’s not one person, it’s everyone. They all have the same goal for everyone to do better, whether academics or athletics. It’s a very friendly environment, and someone is always there for you and to help you with whatever you need.
Case-in-point, when it came to her graphical communication exam, she said the subject was introduced the same year she took it, and was difficult because she had to learn the syllabus in less than three months, outside of school. She received Q.C.’s first A grade in the subject.
Forest Heights Academy’s Arianne Doucet with 10 A grades and one B grade was the candidate with the overall best Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) results in the country.
N.G.M. Major High School student, Sierra Turnquest was the Government School candidate with the best overall BJC results with 9 A grades and one B grade.
The Marjorie Davis Award for Best Overall Performance in the 2019 BGCSE Examination Government Schools went to C.R. Walker Senior School student Carmetta Barry with eight A grades, two B grades and two C grades.
H.O. Nash student Rio R. Greene with eight A grades and two B grades was the Government School male student with overall Best Overall BJC results.