St. John’s Antigua- It was the grace of God, a strong support system at home, spending countless hours studying and the help of her grade six teacher that 10-year-old Joni Spencer credits for her achieving the highest grades in this year’s Common Entrance Exams.
The Sunnyside Tutorial School student outshone almost 1,600 of her peers by attaining 368 out of a possible 400 points.
“I feel happy and I feel grateful to my parents Cleofoster and Josieann Spencer and my teacher Ms (Marcelle) Thomas, and my friends and family for helping me,” Spencer told OBSERVER Media.
Spencer, who is aspiring to be a teacher because of her love of children, also wants to be a doctor.
She said she spent seven hours daily studying, in addition to extra classes.
Spencer scored 94 for English, 96 for Math, 84 in Social Science, and 94 for Science.
While studying at the Antigua Girls’ High School, Spencer said she intends to pick back up her extracurricular activity, tennis.
Proud mother Josiann said Joni is not only academically gifted but also a well rounded student.
“In addition to her academics, what has really prepared her for this moment is spiritual values and the principles we would have taught her. Those are the things she will have to stand on now. She is well rounded but we know this is a gift from God,” the mother said.
Of the 28 students who sat the exams, eight ranked in the top 100 and Joni, who has been exceptional throughout school and is described as a team player, is well deserving of her achievement.
Principal of the school, Howard Warner, said he was not surprised with Spencer’s ranking as the top student as she “was intelligent right throughout her schooling”.
“The teachers have done a great job. It is not just grade six, it is a chain reaction and I want to commend them because they have been very supportive and they work together to make sure that the school will always do well,” Warner added.
Meanwhile, Alicia Paul, of the Mary E Pigott, is the top student from a government school, with five students placing in the top 100.
Principal Whitfield Brown said teachers’ commitment and dedication was evident in the pass rate.
“We try to motivate our students and encourage them to study long and hard. The teachers take a lot of time, even after three o’clock to work with them, and I want to commend them for the time they have shown,” Brown said.
Baptiste Academy, which has been the top school for several years running, had the highest number of passes from a private school, with 16 of the 26 placing in the top 100.
St John’s Catholic Primary School, Grace Christian Academy, Greensville Primary and Seaview Academy Foundation are amongst the schools attaining 100 per cent passes.