President's Medal winner: "It was unexpected"

Expressing elation having tied for the Presidents Medal award, Sadhana Balladin said she was surprised when Education Minister Anthony Garcia announced her name for the coveted award on Thursday afternoon.

In an interview, Balladin said, "It was unexpected and I was honestly quite surprised. I want to thank God, my parents, my family, my teachers in school and lessons and all those who supported me."

Balladin said even though she never expected to get to that pinnacle, her parents always had faith in her.

"My parents had told me that it was more than possible," she said.

Asked what she did to achieve the award, Balladin said,  "My special preparations included prayer, late nights studying and unwavering support from everyone in my life."

Balladin is currently pursuing her studies at the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences at the St Augustine campus.

Meanwhile, there was a celebration at Balladin's alma mater as Upper Six students jumped for joy upon hearing the news.

Principal Jennifer Manwaring said it was the first time to her knowledge that St Joseph Convent won the President's Medal even though numerous students have won additional and open scholarships over the years.

 "We are elated and we will be making an announcement to students at the Assembly tomorrow," Manwaring said.

Describing Balladin as a quiet and diligent student, Manwaring said, "She was a very hardworking and committed pupil. She worked consistently and had a very methodological approach to her studies. She was very self-motivated."

Manwaring said she always knew that Balladin would do well.

"This Presidents Medal is the icing on the cake for her. I am not surprised that she won. I have not called her as yet to express congratulations. I have not seen her since graduation so I am not sure whether she is studying here or abroad," Manwaring added.

She said over the years St Joseph Convent has produced outstanding students.

"We did not do anything different this year. Our girls worked very hard and very well so this year it's our turn and for that we are thankful,  Manwaring added. She said Balladin will be honoured at the school's upcoming achievement award.

She said the values imparted to students at Convent were grounded in spirituality.

"We also ensure that students are involved in extracurricular activities as well as spiritual development. The school offers a little of everything," she added. A total of 376 scholarships have been awarded; 186 Open Scholarships and 190 Additional Scholarships.

Amrita Singh from Lakshmi Girls' Hindu College also won the Presidents Medal.

The lion’s share of scholarships went to St Joseph's Convent- Port of Spain, which received a total of 41 scholarships: 24 Open and 17 Additional.

- by Radhica De Silva

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