TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Matthew d’Abadie did no extra lessons and played water polo right up until he wrote the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination this year.
He ended up scoring the highest mark of any male pupil writing the examination, placing fourth overall behind three girls from South Trinidad schools.
Both Matthew’s family and his alma mater Dunross Preparatory School in Diego Martin were elated when the Express broke the good news to them yesterday.
School’s principal Giselle Rostant later confirmed the information with the Ministry of Education.
Matthew will now be attending Fatima College in Port of Spain when the new school term opens in September.
His father, Douglas d’Ababie, said he and wife Nicola knew their eldest child did well and was expected to place in the country’s top 100.
Matthew said he was “happy” on hearing the news he had placed fourth. His dream is to work towards becoming an engineer.
Douglas d’Abadie said, “Matthew is very focused on his academics and he is self-motivated to do well. He applied himself and worked very hard without very much encouragement from us or anyone else. Really and truly the results were all up to him.”
He added, “His mother has been very influential in always sitting down and doing homework with him and assisting. We are very involved in the children’s lives and I think that was an important factor as well. We are involved with the school and we are involved in the children’s lives”.
Matthew was also encouraged by his school to continue extra-curricular activities even during exam time, his father said.
Douglas d’Abadie said, “Dunross has always prided itself on allowing the holistic development of children and encouraging them to take part in extra-curricular activities even during the SEA time. Dunross’s philosophy had a lot to do with Matthew’s success as well.”
He added: “He did not really give up anything. When the time came for him to do the actual work he needed to do, he sat and did it. “
Rostant said of the achievement, “We are very thrilled and extremely proud. We feel very proud of Matthew. He was our top pupil this year. He was always academically competent but he also involved in other activities.”
She said Matthew was part of the school’s water polo team, involved in swimming and tennis and played the pan.
Rostant said the school was delighted to have one of their pupils place in the country’s top 100—the first time ever. It was also the first time that 98 per cent of pupils passed for their first choice schools.
She said 46 pupils wrote the exam and only one child was placed in a second-choice school.
Supportive parents and dedicated teachers were the reasons that pupils were successful, Rostant said.
She said, “We are so proud of all our pupils. It is our goal to have as many of them do as well as they can.”