Preparing for the Big Day! – Secondary Entrance Exams (S.E.A.) 2012

Students across the Caribbean are in preparation mode for their rites of passage. Who is more stressed while preparing for SEA, CXC, CAPE, A’Levels etc – the Parent or the Child? What would you do if after all you’ve invested in your child, he/she performs poorly in these exams?

Join Petra as she shares how she has chosen to manage this critical time in her daughter’s life.


“This is what we have spent the last eight years preparing for” was Imani’s response to the question, “Are you ready?”  My little preemie-fighter, born two months early… was about to go through the rite of passage into Secondary school.    In my day known as “Common Entrance” for her it’s SEA 2012.

As a parent of a child preparing for SEA, my feeling is one of concern, mainly because of the long nights and endless hours of homework she had to endure, with the pressure to perform and the “competition” that the examination has become.  Imani has expressed that she feels excited to do it and nervous to enter a new environment, leaving behind old friends and friendships.

Most schools offer extra classes after school for SEA candidates so my husband and I officially joined the sleep-deprived parents’ club, the criteria of which included waiting to take her home after ‘doing lessons’ three or four times a week – dependent on the amount of work to cover – and once home, ensuring she was well fed, had a bath before she fell asleep on the homework books and eventually awaking our budding lawyer, teacher or entrepreneur at the blink of dawn to complete it.   I also attended church as normal in order to keep a regular schedule for her.   Imani has been allowed recreational time as usual, at her discretion. Her iPod, Nintendo DS and Princess Diaries remained important on the schedule.

One piece of advice I would give to parents of children currently preparing or in line to complete the examination in the near future, is, support your children prayerfully and emotionally.  Let them know what you expect from them is their best but remind them there is life after SEA. At the same time as a parent, take this advice.

The process of parenting through SEA has given new meaning to the scripture verse Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Had it not been for the Lord who is on our side where would we be?  We increasingly became thankful for the group of family members  with which we have been blessed and for our friends who had gone this way before.  Their counsel and funny stories helped us to transition the course easier than we would have.

May 10th is fast approaching. Whether we want it to come or not, it shall come and then part 2 of the thrill begins – awaiting the results! We are persuaded that God’s plans for Imani shall lead to an expected end. In closing, according to Jeremiah 29:11, His plans are and will always be to prosper her and give her hope and a future.   The long nights were not punishment from an unreasonable teacher but preparation for a future Leader.

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7 thoughts on “Preparing for the Big Day! – Secondary Entrance Exams (S.E.A.) 2012”

  1. Very well written article! It expresses the range of emotions we feel as parents when we go through the different stages of our children’s lives. I’ve been there before so I can identify with Petra. I’m thankful for my faith in God and for the support of family. These certainly made a difference in our lives!

  2. This article brought a shimmer of tears to my eyes. It seems like only yesterday I was in Imani’s shoes. Petra your love and devotion is so apparent in the article and you have the right attitude – there is life after SEA and Imani is blessed to have parents such as you and Richard.

    1. I agree with you completely Nicole, sharing this experience with Petra brought back so many memories for me as well. Many parents can learn from their example of encouraging their child but not letting him/her feel that success at these exams define them as persons.

  3. I am touched by your words Petra only just having come out of the experience myself with both kids. I totally understand, God has been good to your family and I know that He will take you through. And Jeremiah 29:11 says it all we need now is to stand and see God at work. All the best Imani, God will give you the strength to be victorious because you are a winner and a fighter long before this.

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