Uotam Heeralall, a teenage boy from Affiance on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam), wants to be a surgeon and a politician- both careers he believes will make a difference in his community and region.
Heeralall is a student of the Anna Regina Multilateral School, also on the Essequibo Coast. Heeralall and a schoolmate, Ramoll Baboolall, share the top spot for the highest number of Grade One passes- 24 to be exact- scored after this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
Those preliminary results were announced on Monday.
But before he could immerse himself in one or both of those careers, he needs to find a way to fund his tertiary education. His family cannot afford it.
“We are not financially stable,” Heeralall said during an interview with the News Room in his hometown.
Uotam Heeralall (right) alongside his two brothers, his mother Chitrikha Heeralall (second from left) and his father Mr. Heeralall (left) (Photo courtesy of Uotam Heeralall)
He explained that he took on the herculean task of writing 25 subjects- 15 more subjects that can be accommodated on his school’s standard timetable- because he needs a scholarship to fund his tertiary education.
“It all started in Form Four, which is Grade 10, I always wanted to do a lot of subjects because I saw the top students being recognised and getting the opportunity to study abroad.
“I started a lot of lessons and a lot of off timetable subjects,” the young man related.
Of course, pursuing that many subjects required enormous support.
His father, Mr. Heeralall (only name, is a trench cleaner and a self-proclaimed hustler. He fishes for hassar in the Essequibo backdams or picks genips and other fruits to sell at the market.
Mr. Heeralall is the family’s sole breadwinner. He says he will do just about any bona fide job to provide for his wife and three sons. And that’s what he has been doing to support his son, who pursued those 25 subjects.
“Me try me best and God show we the way fuh get this little money and send he to school,” the man said.
And since the announcement on Monday, amid the proliferation of kudos and congratulations, Mr. Heeralall has been able to reflect on how much those sacrifices have paid off.
A proud neighbour bought a newspaper to show Uotam Heeralall that he was featured for his CSEC performance (Photo: News Room/ September 6, 2022)
“One man seh, ‘God bless yuh, you ah wan trench cleaner like me and ah lil bit money you ah wuk fuh’,” the top performer’s father related.
Mr. Heeralall added, “Some days, you nah got much good thing fuh eat but you does put yuh son to school cause you can’t send he without money to school… you have to find money for lessons.”
That’s not the only highlight for young Heeralall. According to his mother and the backbone of the family, Chitrikha Heeralall, her son is the first person in their household to complete high school.
She joked that he wrote enough subjects to make up for the rest of them.
With success in hand, he now awaits the final results to see whether he has been successful in his bid. But even before that, Heeralall is sure that has done his family proud.