By Isanella Patoir
Twenty-year-old Ateisha Brandt emerged as the best graduating student at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) this year but it did not come at an easy price.
The young teacher endured hours of travelling to the college’s branch in Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast from her home in Grant Apple Vale, Lower Pomeroon River in Region Two.
This put a severe strain on her finances which led to fatigue but somehow, Brandt survived the two years and came out on top – the college’s Valedictorian from the 377 who graduated on Friday.
Brandt travelled from the Pomeroon to Charity via boat, then took a bus to Anna Regina at an approximate cost of $2,500 per day in order to attend CPCE.
She returned home late in the nights and on some occasions she had to charter boats.
“I travelled every day to attend college, it was challenging, fatiguing and depressing at times but I survived,” Brandt told the News Room during an interview.
She urged the Government to provide easier access to education for teachers in the hinterland regions.
“Speaking as a teacher in the hinterland area, I believe that the Government need to see how best they can provide CPCE centres closer in the hinterland areas so teachers won’t have to travel so far to be able to access a college to get their education,” Brandt said.
Brandt was always a top performer during her school years so it was no surprise when she was told she was this year’s valedictorian.
She said she was confident of performing well because she excelled throughout her studies both in academics and extracurricular activities.
She graduated from the Anna Regina Multilateral School with 15-grade ones and 2-grade twos when she wrote the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations and was also placed in the top ten of the country.
Brandt told the News Room that while she never intended to become a teacher, she has developed a love and passion for the profession.
After completing high school, she had her heart set on becoming a psychologist, however, her family could not afford to send her to university and so she turned to the teaching profession.
Meanwhile, Brandt says she intends to further her studies.
“I have plans of furthering my education because I have this goal of acquiring a PhD at least before I am 30.”
The most satisfying part about teaching Brandt explained is equally learning from the children.
“You learn lots of important life lessons from small children like forgiveness, you learn patience, you learn a whole lot of things that many do not have in their careers,” Brandt said.
Brandt is a Grade Four primary school teacher at the Marlborough Primary in Region Two – the same school she attended and where she was also the valedictorian when she wrote the National Grade Six Assessment.
She noted that there is a need for certain resources at the school to assist the student.
The school has no science equipment to do experiments and also does not have much access to computers.
“Even though teachers may want to improvise there is only so much that you can do and I think that’s limitation they [students] face.”
Brandt advised other teachers to work hard and when they are faced with challenges they must trust that everything will work out for the best.