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eh, what’s all this high school hype about?Those who have already passed through have all sorts of tales to tell of the things they remember – punishments, special teachers, first loves, hard times, good times, bad food, no food, walking for miles to and from school barefooted. So now, you are on the path and whereas “they” often say that “schooldays are the best days of your life”, you’re having great difficulty putting the two concepts together.

Well, whether it’s five years of sheer uncertainty and hell or plain sailing and sheer bliss, CHOICES Career & Education Advice is here to help to get you through it, and successfully. Then, when it’s all over, you can form your own opinion, 10, 20 or 30 years down the road, as you look back on the experiences.

The aim of CHOICES is to help you to find your way through the education system. After a minimum 5 years in secondary level school you should be academically ready to further your education whether this is in the academic, professional, vocational, technical or any other area. You should emerge with a thorough knowledge of who you are, of your strengths, skills and talents, and be on a sure fire path to career success, and not career funk.

High school, if you really think about it, is thus a building and development process; the building and development of you. That may sound strange now but after a while it all starts to come together and you will see that growth and maturing have taken place, that you know yourself more and more and that you are becoming increasingly prepared for the world after

CREDITS Editor/Publisher – Angela deFreitas Contributors – Joye Foderingham; Debora Hanna Cover design – Rory James Design & Layout - Peter Wright Advertising Sales – Jaimelee Wisdom; Heather Thompson-Brooks

PUBLISHED BY CHOICES All information is included by the publishers in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of going to press. No responsibility can be accepted for errors and/or omissions.


and outside of school.

Your days in secondary school should therefore be seen as the foundation which you are laying for what comes afterwards – further education, work and life. It is also a great mixture of the variety of life’s experiences. It’s where you will make friends, some of whom you will stick with for life; where you will learn many things about not just education but also about life itself. You will be exposed to many different ideas, concepts, ways of thinking and people from a variety of different backgrounds. It is the learning ground for all of the foundation skills which you will need throughout life, not only those like reading, writing, mathematics and listening but also others such as decisionmaking, problem solving, negotiating, leadership, teamwork, self esteem, self management and responsibilities.

If you’re now in secondary school – anywhere between age 11 and 18 – you are now what’s known as a “millennial”. By 2030 when you will be between age 30 and 37 what place do you see for yourself in a country which is “the place of choice to live, work and raise families”? How do you imagine that your life will be? Will you be kicking stones and hanging out on street corners, in a safe place like jail or will you be making progress in the career of your dreams and in life? School days come only once in a lifetime. Make the most of them. Make the right choices now.

Get on the right path and stick to it.


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CHOICES – VOL XV. No 2 – September 2011



hether your school is the one you chose or the one which chose you, you’ve got 5 years to make it work. As a student, that’s what you’re there for. You’ll get the opportunity of doing many many more things while there but as a student your job, your first obligation is to study and study successfully. Opportunity knocks but once, so be ready; be prepared to grab every one of them.

If you’re going to get through and successfully, make sure you have achieved the following in relation to your personal growth, your educational and career goals and your life ambitions. In short: HAVE A GAME PLAN NOW FOR: 1. EDUCATION 2. CAREER & 3. LIFE

Having a game plan means that you can set your goals early and stay focused on achieving them in each of these three essential areas.


1. GET AHEAD IN THE EDUCATION GAME – The best time to set your educational goals in now, while in secondary school. Make it your goal to leave with a solid foundation on which to continue at any stage in life you choose. Get to know what education and training options are open to you locally in your area and beyond at the tertiary level and what they offer; how much courses cost; what qualifications are required for entry.

- CHOOSE SUBJECTS WISELY – Remember, your subjects – CSEC and CAPE - link you directly to careers and institutions so choose carefully. These may be from business, technical, vocational, arts, sciences depending on who you have discovered you are and the school you attend. To finish reading this story and to get more information, get your copy from CHOICES Career & Education Advice. Contact us by email at or by calling (876) 924-7473 / (876) 9695741 / (876) 782-1644 (cell)


by Joye Foderingham


t doesn’t matter what grade you’re in, or going into, you should know by now that secondary school is really important. You’ve just got to ace it or suffer tremendously playing catch-up after – never a pretty option. You don’t have to wait for a new school year, you can come with a new plan at any time – a plan to do your best and study smart. A plan for your success.

OK. Whenever you do that, it’s time to settle in and buckle down. You’re nodding, but wondering “how?”. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Pay attention now. This is really important. In order to make it really simple, we’ll take you through your high school journey grade by grade and give you tips and advice on how to maximise your secondary-school experience while staying stress-free.

GRADE 7 (1st. FORM) Every transition is tough, and the one from primary to secondary school is no exception. It’s a whole new journey. After the stress – and we know it’s been real stress to ensure that you get through GSAT - many students are tempted to take it easy and just exhale in the first term of grade 7. Bad idea. Begin this grade with the good habits you want to keep for your entire high school life! Sort yourself out now and start strong and positive! Use this first term to get organised. Set your goals (no biggee, your goal could be as simple as doing the best you can in and out of the classroom if you have no clue of what you want to do with CHOICES

your life yet). Make a schedule of all your activities at school and otherwise – everything you do, and stick to it. Get into the habit of using your time wisely through timetabling and time management. Familiarise yourself with your new school - its rules and activities - and join clubs that you are interested in.

Grades 7 through 9 unquestionably form the foundation of your educational life. No good foundation, no strong building. CSEC exams may seem to be planets away, but they’re not. Two years down the road, you will be choosing subjects based in large part on your performance, which can make a huge difference to you in terms and of your life and future career. Start off on a good foot.

It’s also important to get informed about how the entire school system works now. Now is the time to find out what the pass mark for the school is, the overall grading system and other facts such as how the merit system works, what you need to do to become a prefect, class monitor, the requirements for sixth form and so on. As much as possible, it is important for you to start focusing on the big picture and visualising where you will be situated in all of this.

To finish reading this story and to get more information, get your copy from CHOICES Career & Education Advice. Contact us by email at or by calling (876) 924-7473 / (876) 9695741 / (876) 782-1644 (cell)

SUBJECTS They’ re r e w h a t hi h ig h school i s a l l a bo b o uutt

“Which subjects are you doing?”


“What can I do with the subjects I’m taking?”

ne of the most important aspects of high school life is “subjects”. And those questions are some of the most oft-asked questions by students at the secondary level.

The subjects which you choose will be an important part of your school life and also your career choice. If you are serious about going far and being the best in your chosen career, you must have the “subjects” needed. Subjects will open the doors to employment and also further education in the field of your choice. “No subjects; no progress”.

The subjects which you select to do at CSEC and CAPE levels should relate to your particular educational and career paths and your particular aptitudes, skills and interests. While in secondary school you will get the opportunity of visiting career, education and college fairs such as The CHOICES Career & Education Expos from which you will begin to know what programmes, courses, majors particular institutions offer, what the programmes include, what are the entry requirements and how much the courses cost.

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is the organisation that administers and oversees examinations for the Caribbean region. The subjects offered are usually taught intensively in secondary schools over a two-year period, from 10th grade to 11th grade. At the end of this time, CHOICES

students sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exam for their chosen subjects.

The CXC also offers the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) for students who wish to further their studies beyond the CSEC level. CAPE subjects are taught in 6th form (Grades 12 and 13) and also prepare students to enter the world of work, or to continue their education at the tertiary level. The subjects offered under the CSEC and CAPE programmes cover a wide range of areas. Most of them can be categorised under four headings:

The Sciences: This group of subjects deals with human efforts to discover and increase their understanding of how the world works. Science subjects usually take an in-depth look at the systems, processes and materials that comprise and control everything we see, feel, smell, hear and touch in our world. These subjects include chemistry, biology, physics and geography.

The Arts: These subjects focus mainly on human culture. The arts explore the ways in which we communicate with each other, how we think, move, feel, and express ourselves. Under this category are subjects like linguistics, the languages, drama, dance and music. To finish reading this story and to get more information, get your copy from CHOICES Career & Education Advice. Contact us by email at or by calling (876) 924-7473 / (876) 9695741 / (876) 782-1644 (cell)

Surviving Surviv ing High School Da ze Daze


igh school can be really confusing sometimes, right? There are all the people you have to see and deal with everyday: teachers, parents, vendors and random persons coming and going, plus classes, subjects, timetables, clubs, sports, text books and course outlines L. Sometimes it can all seem like a big, overwhelming maze! But if you have the right tools, perspective, attitude and support system, successfully navigating your high school journey can become a simple, manageable task. You just have to learn to take it one step at a time.

Here are some tips for how you can use your tools to optimise the highschool experience. THE RIGHT TOOLS

Can you imagine how silly it would be for someone who has never been in a kitchen to claim to be a good cook? Or for someone who has never even seen an aeroplane to say he/she is a great pilot? Every good workman must know and master his tools. The same is true for good students. They must have the right tools in order to be properly prepared for school.

What are some of the tools you use in school? Pens, pencils, rulers, notebooks, text books, book bags L these are all critical elements that are necessary for you to be fully equipped and functional in the school environment.

1. Ensure that you have all your text books. This is very important, because the text book is where most of the CHOICES

material you will be required to know for exams and other forms of assessment comes from. Whether you choose to buy, borrow or rent, you should make sure that you have all the prescribed texts at the time required. 2. Get good stationery. Instead of just buying the prettiest ruler, or the most popular brand book bag, purchase stationery and accessories that you know will last and serve you well. 3. Follow school rules regarding dress code and decorum.

• Be neat. Uniforms may be boring, but they should not be untidy. Ensure that your uniforms are well ironed and keep them clean throughout the day. Cleanliness and grooming say a lot of good things about you. • Shine those shoes. Yes, you heard right. Keep your school-shoes clean and well-polished. THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

So, how do you get the right perspective for high school? Simple. You start by looking at the big picture. School is all about education. That’s your most important goal. What are some of the things you must do to make sure you fulfill that? We list some for you below.

To finish reading this story and to get more information, get your copy from CHOICES Career & Education Advice. Contact us by email at or by calling (876) 924-7473 / (876) 9695741 / (876) 782-1644 (cell)


Rig ht & Wrong Hig h School Qui z

ere’s a short, easy way to test your judgement and decision-making skills in different circumstances you might face in high school. Just choose the answer that best depicts what you would do in each situation. Make a list of them, then see the recommended answers at the end. 1. You see two students fighting. Do you: a. Start yelling ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ and call down a crowd. b. Try to pull them apart. c. Run to get a teacher to help. d. Ignore them and get outta there!

2. It’s class time and you and your friends are having fun. Your friends suggest that you all skip class. Do you:

a. Agree. The class will be boring anyway. b. Agree to finish the game then go in for class. You won’t miss anything too important. c. Refuse. You’re in school to learn. d. Go and tell the teacher that your friends are trying to skip class. 3. Your teacher has disciplined one of your friends. Your friend is pretty angry and starts to give the teacher lots of attitude. Do you: a. Start to give the teacher attitude too. He/She dissed your friend. b. Talk to your friend. He is wrong to behave badly toward a teacher. c. Talk to the teacher. She just needs to understand your friend better. d. Ignore it. That’s none of your business!

4. You’re about to do a test you didn’t study for. Do you:

a. Copy from a friend, duh! b. Ask to go to the bathroom, and do some quick revision. c. Take the test, do your best and vow to study next time. d. Give up. Makes no sense doing a test you didn’t prepare for. You know you won’t pass. 5. You take a particular bus after school. You find out that they’re smoking, drinking, playing lewd music and doing lewdness on the bus. Do you: a. Stop the bus and get off, after giving them all a fine talking to, of course! b. Take the bus-ride to your stop, but never take that bus again. CHOICES

c. Report the matter to your teacher or another responsible adult. d. Ignore it. It wasn’t during school hours anyway.

6. That cute guy/hot girl you’ve had your eye on invites you to a party on the same night that you have an important school meeting. What to do?

a. Go to the party, of course! Did you see how hot that dude/girl was? b. Explain that you already have an engagement and suggest another time for an outing. c. Go to the meeting and just forget about the guy/girl. d. Go to the meeting for half the time and go to the party for half the time.

7. You are on break and one of your friends introduces a cigarette to you and encourages you to try it, but you know that would be against school rules and your parent’s wishes. Do you:

a. Try it, what possible harm can trying it do? b. Refuse but watch your friends try it. c. RefuseL and also encourage your friends not to try it. d. Go and tell someone about it.

8. You and your friends are on the way to school. Your friends decide to stop off somewhere before going to school, but that would make you late for school. Do you:

a. Follow along. You don’t want to feel left out. b. Tell them to go ahead, and you go on to school, so as not to be late. c. Decide to go on to school, and encourage your friends to do the same. d. Go to school and tell the teacher where your friends are.

9. You have not done your homework. You know the teacher will punish you. Do you: a. Copy from a friend before school begins. b. Tell a lie and say you left it on the bus. c. Tell the truth and hope/beg for an extension. d. Not go to school.

RECOMMENDED ANSWERS: Here are the answers we recommend for each situation. 1. c 2. c 3. b 4. c 5. b or c 6. b 7. c 8. c or d 9. c

CHOICES Career & Education Magazine | Guide to High School Success  
CHOICES Career & Education Magazine | Guide to High School Success  

Excerpts of the 'Guide to High School Success' issue of Choices Career & Education Magazine. To finish reading and to get more information,...