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Mother of top student takes news with joy and sadness

Mother of top student takes news with joy and sadness


When she got the news that her son had placed first in the 2013 Common Entrance Exams, Nicole Bonadie-Baker cried tears of both sadness and joy.{{more}}

Bonadie-Baker, who is the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education said when she was informed by Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel about the performance of her son Gian-Paul, she knew what would be the response of some people.

“It hurt me as a parent; I knew they were going to say it: ‘I am the PS Education’,” Bonadie-Baker said, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday.

“When the Minister told me, I cried tears of joy, and it was mixed with sadness. Because … you know what is going to come with it,” the PS said.

And as expected, Bonadie-Baker said negative comments, including that she had the test paper under her bed, have been posted on social networking site Facebook.

So, did her position in the Ministry of Education place her son in an advantageous position?

Bonadie is emphatic that it did not.

She said that for several years, before she came to the Ministry of Education, there has been a policy of disseminating to all primary schools the past Common Entrance papers.

“So, all the schools get all the Common Entrance papers, so that the teachers can work with their children.

“He had no advantage, to say that he has access to past papers, that others don’t have,” Bonadie-Baker said.

She also said that since her son entered the Kingstown Preparatory School in 2006, he has consistently placed first in his class, for the majority of the promotion exams.

“I came to the Ministry when he was almost through grade four. So he had been coming to the top of his class, with an average that was above 90, really between 92 and 96, sometimes higher,” the PS said.

“When I came here, in the middle of grade 4, he was again acing his tests, which are set by the school.”

She said while she is proud of her son and happy about his accomplishment, she feels a bit uncomfortable speaking of his performance over the years. However, some people have forced her to get down to that level.

“I am not speaking as a PS here, but a mother, who really has to shield her son.

“So, I am saying that now he is at the end of his primary school career… he has placed first 14 times, in school tests, and number 15, which was his target, he has placed first at Common Entrance.”

She also said that the school expected him to do well.

“When the principal told me that they were banking on Gian-Paul to come first, I told her not to say that, as it would put pressure on my son.”

She said the headteacher said Gian-Paul was one of three pupils identified by the school to be among the top 10.

Despite this, she said she was not sure that her son would be number one.

“He wasn’t sure, I wasn’t sure, because there are high flyers in all the other schools.”

Bonadie-Baker, however, said when her son and classmate Nneka McMillan, representing the KPS, placed first in the Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union (KCCU) Primary Schools Quiz, in November 2012, she thought maybe he had a chance at the top spot. She said preparing for the quiz assisted him tremendously with his General Paper.

“I know that between God and me and the Ministry, no hanky-panky went on. My son performed just as he has been performing all those years in Prep School.

“I don’t deal with the exams; it is the chief education officer.

“He has his report book, and the school has his record,” Bonadie-Baker said.