Ar­denne boasts ‘for­mula’ as stu­dent tops re­gion in CAPE

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Syranno Baines Gleaner Writer syranno.baines@glean­

AR­DENNE HIGH School’s aca­demic prow­ess is con­tin­u­ing to show, with 17-year-old grad­u­ate Varna Thomas be­ing the most re­cent stu­dent to top the Caribbean Advanced Pro­fi­ciency Ex­am­i­na­tion (CAPE) across the re­gion.

Such tri­umphs are not new to 10 Ar­denne Road, in St Andrew or the Thomas house­hold for that mat­ter. It was Varna’s elder sis­ter, Dea Thomas, who copped the pres­ti­gious top prize for CAPE in 2013.

Speak­ing to The Gleaner about the feat yes­ter­day, she was still in shock at the news de­liv­ered to her via phone call by Ar­denne’s prin­ci­pal, Na­dine Mol­loy.

“She just said con­grat­u­la­tions. I was still very con­fused. She then ex­plained and I did not be­lieve it. I then called my mom. I felt very happy, blessed and grate­ful, but hon­estly the main feel­ing was shock.”

Varna achieved grades one with straight ‘A’ pro­files in: pure math­e­mat­ics, physics, chem­istry, bi­ol­ogy, ap­plied math­e­mat­ics (units 1 & 2), caribbean stud­ies and com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies.

Of her sub­ject choices, the soft­spo­ken stu­dent said: “You have one and two an­noy­ing top­ics, but it’s al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to learn new things in sci­ence. Study­ing be­comes a lot eas­ier when you are ac­tu­ally in­ter­ested in the top­ics. I have al­ways loved math and sci­ence.”


Born in In­dia, her par­ents, two sis­ters and her­self migrated to Ja­maica in 2007.

She sat the Grade Six Achieve­ment Test (GSAT) at Frank­field Pri­mary and went on to Ed­win Allen High School in Claren­don where both par­ents taught. She then shifted to Mo­rant Bay High School for a year where she com­pleted sec­ond form.

She be­gan her ten­ure at Ar­denne in Septem­ber 2011 at third form.

A 2016 re­cip­i­ent of the Univer­sity of the West In­dies’ Open Schol­ar­ship, she’s now a first-year med­i­cal stu­dent at UWI, looking to con­quer her first batch of fast-ap­proach­ing ex­ams.

She cred­its her strong fam­ily ties for her firm foot­ing aca­dem­i­cally, stat­ing: “I am very grate­ful to have had par­ents who took such an ac­tive in­ter­est in their child’s learn­ing.”

She fur­ther added: “My mother is so happy right now. My dad passed away two years ago, and hon­estly, this is for him.”

Speak­ing with The Gleaner on her star pupil’s achieve­ment, Mol­loy said: “I am just ab­so­lutely ex­cited for a great stu­dent who is so hum­ble with her bril­liance. We are a real school with chal­lenges and suc­cesses and we give thanks for that bless­ing. I think of Dea, her elder sis­ter who brought the same glory to Ar­denne.”

Asked if she fore­sees the pat­tern of aca­demic ex­cel­lence con­tin­u­ing at the in­sti­tu­tion, Mol­loy said: “It is very pos­si­ble that we can ex­pe­ri­ence this again. We have a good for­mula for that. We tell our stu­dents daily that we ex­pect ex­cel­lence of them and do our best to pro­vide the re­quired sup­port.”


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