Charlestown-Nevis—There were scenes of jubilation at the Vance Amory International Airport on the afternoon of Monday 7th March.
Headmistress of the Maude Cross Preparatory School, Miss Cherry Anne Walwyn utilized two school buses and other private vehicles, to ensure that the entire school was present, to welcome home, their grade five hero, Hrishikesh Srinivasan.
Young Hrishikesh returned home that day after winning the COURTS sponsored OECS reading competition.
According to his grade five teacher, Miss Shelina Williams, the competition was held at the Arawak House of Culture in Dominica and consisted of two rounds.
In round one, the competitors were required to read a narrative piece and in round two, they were required to read a news report from a country in the OECS. The competitors were asked to pick a country on which the report was based, the day before the grand finals.
Miss Williams stated that Hrishikesh was extremely confident in the first round and read with expression, even using varying voice tones to bring the story to life.
He was equally comfortable in round two and being the only boy in the contest, somehow won the loud support of the local boys present, who cheered him on.
She actually referred to him as gaining immediate ‘local celebrity status.’
The six countries represented in the finals were: St.Kitts and Nevis; Antigua and Barbuda; St.Lucia; Dominica; St.Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
Father of the outstanding student, Dr. Srinivasan Rangarajan, noted that it was a nerve jangling experience, because some of the other competitors were loud and obviously confident, prior to the start of the contest. However, when he realized how confidently his son was reading the required material, he felt in his heart that he had won but ‘being a competition,’ he anxiously awaited the judges’ decision.
He noted that the announcement that his son had won, was well received by the huge audience and some of the local boys even posed for photographs with the new ‘star.’
As Hrishikesh, his younger brother and his parents made their grand entry from the arrival lounge area, they were greeted to their surprise, with shouts of “Surprise! Congratulations!’
Balloons were waved and the students, teachers and Education officials present, all cheered the local hero who only smiled approvingly in return.
Well-known local musician, Junior Parris, then appropriately struck up the chords of the well known ‘Celebration’ song on his pan, much to the delight of all present.
A brief ceremony was then held, which was ably chaired by Mrs. Terres Dore, Education Officer responsible for literacy and commenced with a prayer of thanksgiving by Education officer, Mr. Shefton Liburd.
Education officer, Mrs. Ermilita Elliot, in congratulating Hrishikesh, noted that the next contest slated for 2017, is scheduled for the winning country and opined that in terms of the ‘fair share’ philosophy, Nevis should be the host island. This was received with loud cheers.
Principal Education Officer, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin, then presented an undisclosed gift to the young winner, complements of the Ministry of Education.
The Maude Cross Preparatory School representatives, led by Terron Webb aka INVINCIBLE, performed an original song under the guidance of teacher Williams, which was well received.
Education officer, Mrs. Cynthia Grenyion, then eloquently delivered the vote of thanks and those present then enjoyed the wonderful sounds emanating from the steel pans of Junior Parris.
Student of the Maude Cross Preparatory School, Brianna, noted that she was very proud that Hrishikesh had won the competition.
Headmistress Cherry Anne Walwyn indicated that she was at a loss for words but was very proud of her student and was happy that he had brought back home not only the trophy but $5,000.00 EC for himself and another $5,000.00 EC for the school.
PEO, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin was also extremely proud of the OECS champion and noted that St.Kitts- Nevis had won the competition in 2012 with a representative from the Belle Vue international school.
In 2015, St.Kitts-Nevis placed second, with a representative from the Nevis Academy and now the Federation gained the grand prize again in 2016.
She pointed to the significance that this time around, it is a BOY who had won and she hoped that it would serve as a motivator for all of the boys within the federation.
The humble, quietly spoken Hrishikesh, for his part stated:
“In Dominica I was very nervous– excited and I was just happy to be there.
After I won, I felt happy. I felt on top of the world.”