The first Guyanese valedictorian at the University of Southern Caribbean (USC) is Calvern Haywood, a mother of one and a teacher.
Haywood who hails from Calcutta, Mahaicony in Region Five, earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education after studying for three years.
She told the News Room that she was setting the bar for her young daughter who inspired her to complete her studies.
“I wanted to set an academic bar for my daughter and also my family by extension.
“I have always thought to myself that if I go to step one, that will propel her to go to step two, so setting the standards high for her was very important for me,” Haywood related during an interview.
The programme was done fully online and it is essential to note that Haywood is also the first extension student to be valedictorian.
“Being the first student from an extension site and Guyana to receive such an accolade goes to show that we have a lot of potential lying in our communities and it is also a testimony to others who may not have the best support system, the best financial situation or even the best life plan for themselves just to get started, you will reach the finish line,” Haywood told the News Room.
Haywood who secured her secondary education at President’s College is a teacher at the Novar Nursery School in Mahaicony and had to balance her family life and work during her studies.
“Then, closer to the end I was tasked with mentoring a new teacher at my school.”
But the support from Haywood’s fiancé and other relatives kept her going.
“I learned to manage my time between work, family, and academic demands by scheduling and planning everything. In school, I got down to business as soon as I got in.
“As I got home, I would tend to chores and take care of my daughter the best way I knew before logging into class,” Haywood related.
She enrolled in the university within one month of deciding to pursue her studies.
“I chose USC because they don’t always focus on academics they also help to build your character.”
Haywood is now aiming to pursue her post-graduate diploma in literacy studies or curriculum design through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning and later pursue her master’s degree.