Hinterland student among top CSEC performers at Camille’s Academy

10/22/20233 min read

– eyes career in medical field

Kaieteur News – Hinterland students are often faced with unique challenges while achieving their academic goals. From having to trek miles to attend school to not having access to basic study materials or teachers that would guide them along the process.

Reon Thomas was named valedictorian of Camille’s Academy Crane location

These were some of the difficulties faced by now Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) top performer, Reon Thomas. Thomas recently copped the most Grade ones in several subject areas at the Camille’s Academy Inc. Crane, West Coast Demerara (WCD) location.

He was awarded the school’s best mathematics and science student, as well as the best athlete of the year. The school’s valedictorian now aspires to become a doctor.

Emerging successful at the regional examinations was not an easy feat for Thomas. Given his challenges, a caring relative stepped up and changed his fate by funding his education.

Thomas hails from a small village called Karaudanau located in the Deep South Rupununi, Region Nine. He explained that his mother is a teacher, and his father is a self-employed farmer.

“I have five siblings and I am the second child. The village that I come from does not have a secondary school. So, I moved away from my village at the age of 11 to live in a dormitory in a village called Aishalton, which had the closest secondary school.”

The teen said that moving away from home was challenging since he was unable to see his family for months at times. However, Thomas’ dream of becoming a doctor fuelled his determination.

“From a young age, I always wanted to become a doctor, since having doctors in my area is scarce. Most times people only have access to doctors through medical outreach,” he said.

The absence of science courses at the Aishalton Secondary School served as another stumbling block to achieving his goal.

“There was a science stream at the school, but it only catered for Integrated Science, Human and Social Biology, and Physics. Biology and Chemistry are yet to be introduced to the school. As the only secondary school in the Deep South, a variety of subjects is not taught, this includes Information Technology which I wanted to do,” the CSEC top performer explained.

Thomas said without biology and chemistry along with financial difficulties that his parents were facing, his dream of becoming a doctor was fading. A visit from his uncle Gaulbert Sutherland who lives in Georgetown changed his fate for the better.

“My uncle stepped in and offered to assist me to get the subjects required to achieve my dreams of being in the medical field. He enquired about my schooling and career plan. I told him my career plan and explained the challenges regarding the various science subjects not being offered at Aishalton Secondary.”

“He encouraged me not to give up and indicated that he would sponsor me since I was interested in the medical field,” he said.

Thomas is pictured with his classmates and teachers at graduation

Thomas explained that the family decided that it would be better if he continued his education along the Coastland.

It was the middle of the school year and getting admitted into a public school proved challenging, thus the family decided to apply to a private school.

“These are all factors considered when deciding to pick a school. At that time Camille’s Academy in Crane offered a variety of subjects including Biology and Information Technology.”

“The school’s location was also close to my new home on the West Coast and given that it is a private school, it meant that teachers would have a bit more time to focus on students and help them in whatever way possible.

“I am thankful and owe my success to the staff of Camille Academy. Most importantly my uncles, and aunt; Gaulbert and Ron and, Gillian. My parents for supporting me from afar…” he added.

Given his academic success, Thomas encourages hinterland students to persevere despite their numerous challenges.

“Stay focused, read as much as possible, practice mathematics, and look at YouTube videos for concepts you do not understand,” the teen said.

Having completed school, Thomas said he is thankful for the opportunities he was given.

“Coming to the Coast, exposed me to careers that I never know existed. As of now, I am teaching at Camille’s Academy while I continue to figure out my career path. My goal is to go to university and apply for a scholarship to offset expenses since I cannot afford it at this time.”