This year, several students of the Anna Regina Multilateral School on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam) opted to pursue quite a number of subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
They were motivated by the desire to further their studies and believed that stellar academic performance would see them copping scholarships.
That was the case for Daniel Dowding, one of the school’s and country’s top performers who scored 22 Grade One passes and three Grade Two passes this year.
The aspiring Marine Biologist or Veterinarian (he hasn’t decided just yet) hopes that he can clinch a scholarship that will help him pursue these dreams. That was a huge part of what fuelled his drive to spend early morning and late nights getting his CSEC work done.
But there’s more.
While talking with News Room just hours after he found out his achievement, he highlighted that this academic pursuit was also just a challenge that he wanted to take on and prove that he could surmount it.
“Since Grade Six, I planned to write 25 subjects,” Dowding highlighted.
And there’s a story behind this intention. He explained that in 2017, when he was in Grade Six, a Queen’s College student Michael Bhopaul stunned the country by sitting 25 subjects in one go- the most that had ever been at the time.
While many debated whether Bhopaul should have written that many subjects, a spark ignited inside of Dowding. He wanted to be just as good and show the country his capabilities.
“I wanted to accomplish that too,” he said with a soft smile.
And so, he spent the next five years determined to do just that. Even when it meant reducing the time spent reading Wattpad or playing volleyball.
This laser focus on his academic pursuits is one that his mother Sarah Dowding said the family thoroughly supported.
The woman, a retired headteacher, knows all about the benefits of studying hard and she believes that this was well instilled in her only son.
“He has always been a determined child and disciplined to the extent that you never had to tell him what to do,” she said.
Daniel is her only son and the fourth of five siblings. Even though there were times when they thought that he could have done fewer subjects, it was clear that he wanted to pursue that golden number and they knew they had to support him.
Surrounded by two of his sisters and his mother, Dowding said he is proud of his accomplishments and overjoyed that he is among the country’s top performers.