Camille Deokie-Gorakh’s ‘love affair’ with education

By Stabroek News

1/17/20203 min read

If there is an iota of contrived modesty somewhere within Camille Deokie-Gorakh, it is smothered beneath a persona that appears instinctively warm and outreaching, a disposition that compels her to tell her own considerable story without overdoing and yet without failing to include the pertinent details, however small those may seem.

At the end of a story littered with witticisms and anecdotes, it eventually dawns on you that in her own particular way she makes a compelling case for being, arguably, one of Guyana’s most accomplished businesswomen, a point that could elude you at first, given her sometimes overwhelming warmth. For over more than two decades, Camille has transformed a childhood enthusiasm for imparting knowledge – as she puts it – “a mission to help the neighbours’ children… into a broader passion for educating the nation’s children.”

Her passion has metamorphosed into Camille’s Academy, a two-campus operation located at Soesdyke and at Diamond, which, even now, is undergoing further expansion. Currently, there are around 1,000 students benefitting from academic exposure at Camille’s Academy. They range from playgroup and nursery to the sixth form levels. Extra-curricular activities including pursuits in sport, field trips, the performing arts and fitness are thrown in for good measure in an effort to offer the institution’s charges a rounded education.

Reflecting on the accomplishments of the Academy, Camille ‘ticks off’ its securing of positions in the top 1% of performers in the National Grade Six Assessment and consistently producing 80% passes overall at the CSEC examination, with students acquiring 15 subjects or more. Last year the Academy secured three places amongst the country’s top performers at the CSEC examination with one student, Shania Sobers, securing nineteen passes including fourteen Grade Ones.

That, however, is only part of Camille’s story. She is in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art Academy Complex at Diamond, on the plot of land that used to house the one-time Diamond Sugar Estate Junior Staff compound. This investment, she says, is consistent with her vision for the Academy to establish itself as an unquestioned leader in the delivery of education at all levels in Guyana.

Her good fortune lies not just in her success in creating a successful business in the country’s critical education sector but also in having sculpted an entrepreneurial venture out of a childhood passion. Caught up in her reflection on the strides that the Academy has made, her mind goes into a swift reverse motion, recollecting her childhood days as a senior at Charlestown Secondary School when she became fixated with ‘playing teacher’ to those of her less academically-gifted colleagues. Since then and even in the midst of building her business she has moved on intellectually. These days she is the holder of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is currently reading for a PhD in Management at Texila American University.

Beyond the good fortune of having created a successful business out of a childhood passion, Camille speaks warmly of a family which she says has been both protective and supportive, singling out her father, a seemingly tireless building contractor named Chandralall Deokie, from whom she continues to receive a mix of gentle prodding and unrelenting support. Preoccupied with her own current academic pursuits and the management of the Academy she is, she says, ever grateful for the fact that her father’s expert professional oversight will afford the new complex at Diamond every opportunity to become an eye-catcher in the local education sector.

The satisfaction that Camille says she derives from the knowledge that the Academy is contributing to the development of education in Guyana is complemented by the accolades that the effort of herself and her qualified staff of educators have attracted. The most recent of these has been complemented by a recent notification of a distinguished Achievement Award from the United States-based entity BizX (formerly, the Business Excellence Forum and Awards – BEFA)

BizX brings together, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, experts, and executives in one exhilarating event. This expansive expo, conference and networking extravaganza lets attendees explore and examine new ideas, strategies, and best practices to expand their opportunities. BizX2020 offers an opportunity to learn from dynamic speakers. The event is anchored by a black-tie gala where business awards will be handed out in more than 25 categories hourning businesses throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Camille’s investment of material and intellectual resources has brought her some particularly satisfying rewards. The most recent of these is the current BizX Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for entrepreneurs aged 40 years and younger.