High School dropout turns new leaf, obtains prestigious oil and gas scholarship

10/8/20233 min read

Waterfalls Magazine – About seven years ago, Dianna Persaud was given the opportunity to turn a new leaf after dropping out of high school at age 15. She did not waste the opportunity and today is one of two Guyanese women who have benefitted from a prestigious scholarship to undergo oil and gas studies for Noble Corporations at the University of Massachusetts USA.

The young woman told The Waterfalls that though her journey was challenging, she hopes her story would offer hope to other people in similar situations. She expressed gratitude to those who helped her along her journey.

“ To the teachers of my alma mater, Camille’s Academy Inc, especially the CEO, Ms. Camille Deokie Gorakh who did not hesitate to give a second chance after I dropped out of school for two years, without them, none of this would have been possible,” the scholarship awardee said.

Persaud said if one looks at her life today, no one would believe that she was once a teenager struggling to find her place in the world. Due to financial difficulty, the Soesdyke East Bank Demerara (EBD) resident said she left school early and entered into a common-law union as a means of assisting her family.

Dianna Persaud shares encouraging words with the graduating students of her alma mater Camille’s Academy Inc. in 2020.

“My family was struggling and my parents were under the impression that I could get married because the guy I was marrying would be able to better take care of me,” Persaud said.

She soon found out that it was all a façade. “He couldn’t give me a better life so I returned home to my parents,” she said. By this time, Persaud had aged out of the school system.

Dianna Persaud is decked in her uniform as she undergoes training in oil and gas studies in Massachusetts USA.

“I was older than the average high school student but my mom is a seamstress and she did work for Camille’s Academy Inc and the CEO, Ms. Camille allowed me to attend classes there as part of the payment,” the young woman said.

She revealed that Ms. Camille did not hesitate to give her a 2nd chance to finish high school and as a result, she served as an inspiration throughout her school years.

“I remember when I returned to school, she didn’t look at me as if I was older than the others, she didn’t judge me, she welcomed me with open arms, helped me to grow.”

Persaud recalled that there was a point in time when she wanted to give up on writing all Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects but the CEO wouldn’t let her. As a result, she became the 2017 valedictorian of Camille’s Academy Inc. after copping sixteen subjects at the CSEC exams.

‘”She let me believe that I can do it and refused to allow me to do what I wanted to do. I never regret letting her play that part in my life, I’ll forever be grateful to her. I’m also grateful for the opportunity I was given, to become the person I am today.”

Today, Persaud and her fellow awardee, Kavita Singh are the only two Guyanese who earned scholarships to pursue higher education at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a public university located in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Noble Corporation, a critical drilling company for Exxon’s Guyana operations, awarded the two young talents fully paid four-year scholarships, paving the way for them to earn bachelor’s degrees in Maritime Transportation.

The selection process for this prestigious scholarship was rigorous, with over a hundred applicants vying for the opportunity. To secure their spots, candidates had to meet specific qualifications and submit compelling essays outlining the purpose of their candidacy.

As a result of the award, Persaud and Singh will have the chance to gain hands-on experience as interns next summer, with the Noble family.

Noble Corporation had announced, earlier this year, four fully paid scholarships for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Maritime Transportation or Maritime Engineering. In addition to covering tuition fees; the award extends to providing comprehensive support, including room and board, books, and round-trip travel to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Upon graduation, these talented individuals will join the Noble team, bringing their expertise and knowledge back to serve Guyana.