Mohammed, of St Augustine Girls’ High School (SAGHS) and Chantal Abbigail Cave, of St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, are the recipients of the medals.
Mohammed, 18, was at her home in El Socorro with her mother Lystra when someone called and said she had won a President’s medal and the news had been announced on the radio. Unconvinced, Mohammed switched on the radio but missed the newscast. She knew it was real when an official from SAGHS telephoned shortly after.
“I started to scream while my mum started to cry. I felt as though I was going crazy,” Mohammed said, who received nine distinctions in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (O’Level) before going on to pursue Chemistry, French, Literature, Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies at CAPE (A’Level).Mohammed is due to begin a psychology degree with a minor in international relations at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She may however take up the option of studying at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom on the open scholarship she received along with the President’s medal. The scholarship allows her to study at any university of her choice anywhere in the world.
Mohammed’s goal is to work for the United Nations (UN). “I really want to work for the UN but I know that I had to be qualified so I am working towards it. I want to travel the world and work all over the world,” she said.
She remembers admiring past students when they won scholarships while she was in Form One. “I said to myself that I want to be one who would win a scholarship and I wanted so much to talk to the younger ones.”
Mohammed said she had her fair share of challenges at SAGHS.
“I had a difficult time with Literature, in fact, I got a two in Literature — Unit 1and decided to write it over. I studied so much, sometimes I felt as though I was going mad. My parents thought I was going crazy when I told them that I was dreaming of the poet William Wordsworth.”
Her mother, Lystra, first praised Allah for her daughter’s success and then said it was also a surprise gift for herself and her husband Fazeer as they celebrate their 20th anniversary today.
“I would have never thought that someone in my family, my daughter, would have won the President’s medal. Currently, we, are fasting for the holy month of Ramadan but I can assure you that after we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr we will have something very special planned for her for her achievement,” Lystra said.
SAGHS principal Kathleen Anderson congratulated Mohammed and noted that of the 32 scholarships the school’s students received, 11 of them were open.
“The girls worked very hard and this year we have had an exceptional bunch. I predicted 28 but to my surprise we got 32. So I am really happy and share in their bliss,” Anderson said.