A determination to succeed despite odds propelled an 18-year-old from Bequia into the history books of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Alan Gooding, an aspiring software engineer, is the first student in an associate’s degree program at St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) to receive a national scholarship.
He qualified for a national award by achieving a GPA of at least 3.8.
The Hope Estate, Bequia resident was one of 21 national scholarship recipients announced at the National Schools Independence rally in Victoria Park on Tuesday.
SEARCHLIGHT spoke with him shortly after receiving his award.
An alumnus of St Vincent Grammar School, Gooding had been enrolled in the Division of Technical and Vocational Education (DTVE), while all the other National Scholars had been students in the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies (DASGS ).
He said he decided to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Information and Communication Technology instead of a purely academic program at DASGS because he wanted to gain work experience.
“I knew what I wanted to do…. I want to be a software engineer. So I knew to do an associate degree, specifically an applied associate degree [degree], I would get the work experience, because there are attachments. I wanted to enter the working world directly, to gain experience. I love to code.
However, Gooding almost regretted his choice, giving the experiment at the DVTE a failing grade.
He said that among the many problems faced by students in his program were poor communication and course preparation by the SVGCC and what appeared to be a lack of commitment from its teachers.
“We had a lot of problems at the College. They didn’t seem prepared for a lot of things….
He said he sometimes drove to school from Bequia, only to be told upon arriving at the Arnos Vale campus that there would be no school.
“There would be no email, nothing to say, no school. A waste of time and money, and we would not be refunded; they wouldn’t even care,” the young man said.
He said that sometimes the teachers did not show up for class.
“Teachers were a big problem. We had to ask the teachers to come and teach us… I would say it was a 2/10 experience.
But he was determined to succeed.
“To be honest, I did everything at home. I did my own research, I practiced, I was just curious, I went on the internet. I learned everything and got the grades I got because I did extra research online. I didn’t learn a lot in school. I knew I wanted to get a really good grade.
Jehan Carr and Sheacoy Walters, two of Gooding’s classmates in the information and communications technology program, received scholarships at Tuesday’s ceremony.
They supported Gooding’s position that the experience at the DVTE was poor.
Gooding is the son of Murline Franklyn of Bequia.
He will start an online bachelor’s degree in computer science from Edinburgh Napier University in January.