Making the grade
by Donna Sealy
Students at St. George Secondary School are shining their artistic talent for all the world to see.
Instead of keeping their success in CXC art to themselves, they invited the media, and by extension the rest of the country, to see the work of their 14 candidates, 11 of whom received Grade 1s – with distinctions and four received Grade 2s.
What great work it is!
Textiles design such as bags, beach wraps, a magic carpet, and leather craft and print making, took pride of place this morning in the Constant, St. George school hall where the proud students were eager to tell all visitors about their prize winning School Based Assessment and exam pieces.
Headboy and artist, Meshach Thornhill, told Barbados TODAY that he was doing art from the age of eight.
“I would draw things like natural disasters. I like to see that kind of action. Based on the work we were doing from First Form I then decided to take it further to start working for CXC. I told Ms. Blackman I was interested and she pushed me forward from there and got more involved in art, and into the world of CXC art,” he said.
In addition to his Grade 1 in Art, he has other subjects at Grade 1 but as his desire is to be a corporate lawyer, he has returned to school to undertake business studies.
He said he will also be improving on his Grade 3s in an attempt to get better grades to enable him to get into a sixth form school or the Barbados Community College.
Head of the Art Department, Leta Blackman, was very proud of her students, who she has been teaching from third form.
‘Done very well’
“I think the students have done very well… [The Grades] were an up. Normally we do 100 per cent passes every year but this year was most outstanding, the students did extremely well. They put in extra hours, during the Christmas vacation, Easter vacation and after school because they had to write a journal that encompassed all the efforts that had gone into each section. That took a bit of time in documenting and compiling.
“The children are given a theme or they select their own theme and then they go out and explore the subject, come back and compile their own compositions. They then transfer it to the block, carve it out and then print it. That takes about two weeks. In doing that they have to look at composition, light and shade, form and design and then they have to print it. The registration must be precise so it means the border has to be extremely clean. It is a very tedious job and a long process but they get it done,” Blackman explained.
“We have a broad theme and then we select sub topics that reflect each assignment. For instance, if we’re doing sea life, it would be things of the sea but if we’re doing textile it would be shells or something to reflect that subject too. There are five for each subject and then five for the next, but it all embodies the big topic which this year was Sea Life and Nature,” she explained.
Blackman told Barbados TODAY that at CXC, the entrants were allowed to do two expressive forms, which could be any part of the syllabus and a journal.
She said that members of the school did the school-to-work programme.
Acting Principal Dennis Browne was very pleased with his students’ achievements.
“I am elated. Words can’t exactly convey how I feel about students who would’ve come to this school with learning difficulties, with the challenges, with the learning disabilities and yet we are able to get them to shine, we’re able to get them to demonstrate such excellence,” he told Barbados TODAY. (DS)SClBWhat the educator also said was that the school would be part of the CVQ/NVQ programme and he was able to use his knowledge and skills get the process started.
“Our students are not academically inclined even though we have a few who usually get Grade 1s in English. Despite that, we try to get each student who leaves here that at least they leave with something, their CSEC qualification or some skill and with the new CVQ programme, we’re trying to [ensure] they leave with skills that meet the standard not only of this country but of the region,” Browne said. email@example.com