Sion Hill Government celebrates 60 years and best CPEA results in a decade (+Video)
Rhys Hutchinson, Lisa Hutchinson
Front Page
June 20, 2023

Sion Hill Government celebrates 60 years and best CPEA results in a decade (+Video)

This year has proven to be a good one for the Sion Hill Government School in more ways than one as it not only marks their 60th anniversary but it has also seen their best performance in the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) in a decade.

Principal, Verona Richards told SEARCHLIGHT that substandard performance in the past has forced teachers to revise their teaching tools in order to improve students’ academic performance. Richards said over the last three to four years, the performance has been consistently average.

“[In] 2013 we went below the standard and that really shook us up a lot.We came back and we retooled and the following year we rose from the ashes and amassed 100 percent pass rate.We dwindled between there and 2018 [to] 2019; we were still borderline. Our very worst year so far was last year when we had 30 children going for the exam and 14 of them gained a pass mark.”

But the school’s flag has been flying high since the release of the CPEA results last week, barely missing a top 10 spot in the gender rank for boys.

“When the result came I was not surprised but it caught me off guard … when I noticed that we have so [many] double digits instead of triple digits. It just sunk in that we have done well.”

Ten year old Rhys Hutchinson gained an overall pass mark of 94 per cent and tied with the Georgetown Primary School’s Osei Abbott for 11th place in for boys. Rhys’ classmate Kaid’n Manners, placed 47th for boys, while Summer Peters and Vialene Richards placed 35th and 46th respectively for girls. A total of seven students, five girls and two boys, have gained high percentage passes for the Sion Hill Government School.

Richards said teachers worked exceptionally hard with the CPEA students to ensure that the school could “rise above the pass mark”.

“We said that we will not settle for anything less than 80 per cent this year. This year when we got our 83 per cent we knew that we had reached our goal.”

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke with the school’s top performer, Rhys, who copped the Valedictorian Award, the Principal’s Award and award of Student of theYear. The aspiring engineer said while he was confident that he had done well in the exam, he was surprised that he achieved such a high position.

“I didn’t know that I would come so high this year. I thought I would have come around 20th or so.”

His mother, Lisa Hutchinson, said Rhys has always shown exceptional abilities as he was walking, counting and showing interest in reading at an early age.

Ynolde Hutchinson, an educator for over three decades and also Rhys’ grandmother and his teacher, considers her students’ performance in the 2023 CPEA as an “extra special” gift as she prepares to head into retirement.

FROM LEFT: Karama Griffith-Primus (teacher), Rhys Hutchinson, Lisa Hutchinson (mother of Rhys) and Ynolde Hutchinson (teacher and grandmother of Rhys)

“I never knew how people had Sion Hill as so bad until these results came out. This is not the first time Sion Hill has done something like this. Sion Hill is an excellent school.We have excellent teachers . It is like a family we have here.”

Grade Six Mathematics and Science teacher, Kamara Griffith-Primus said one of the advantages of the school is its small classes and student-centred learning.

“I know a lot of parents like to rush to the schools in town. Most of them have very large classrooms, and children with certain abilities could get lost. Here we cater for everyone, whether you are at the top or in the middle or bottom.”