It is that time of the year again. They took their final high school examination and would soon be ending their years-long association with their school, taking career-oriented strides in life. But the memories of those first-ever friends in life and the first school would always remain alive with them.
And Pakistan Education Centre (PEC), one of the oldest community schools in town, keeping with its traditions added monumentally to those memories for their students graduating from high school this year.
The school organised its Annual Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony last week to honour the students who excelled in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) Annual Examination 2015 of the Federal Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (FBISE), Islamabad, Pakistan.
Wajid Hassan Hashmi, Deputy Head of Mission Pakistan Embassy and Vice Chairman Board of Governors PEC, was the chief guest on the occasion. The event was attended by more than 200 parents and guests in addition to the award-winning students.
“We are progressing. We are going leaps and bounds [ahead]. The result was about 96 percent, which is really good. And when you compare it to [the pass percentage of] the board (Federal Board, Pakistan), ours is much higher,” PEC Principal Nargis Raza Otho told Community.
She said they are amongst the top four Pakistani schools in the Gulf region.
“Education is becoming more creative whereas it was more bookish and dry in the past. We are training and teaching them inspirational talks and giving them extra classes. We keep on emphasising how education is much more important,” she added.
Principal Otho noted how boys have in particular become very responsible and how a sense of competition has arisen between the boys and girls.
Talk to some of them, and you would realise from their confidence and composure that they have made most of the opportunities provided to them.
“It has really been a monumental progress in my life because when I arrived in PEC, I was very shy, a backbencher and I wouldn’t even get up to answer the basic questions that teachers would ask. And now, I [have won awards for being] the best speaker in Qatar in the QSDL from the years 2014 to 2016,” Zuhab Abdul Sattar, a Grade 12 student, told Community during a talk after the ceremony at school.
PEC, Zuhab said, has contributed a lot to her, not only grooming her as an individual but also academically. She has been receiving roll of honours since the 9th grade.
“For me, it has been a beautiful journey. And now it is coming to an end and of course I am very sad about leaving PEC forever; but I hope wherever I go next I can bring laurels back to PEC and tell people that PEC is not behind any other institution here in Qatar despite being a community school,” said Zuhab.
The students have become more aware of the various career choices now available to them. “I am very interested in becoming a paramedic. So I am planning to apply in the University of North Atlantic, would get a diploma from there and make a career out of it. We had career counselling and many workshops. So we got ideas from there for our professions,” said Mahnoor Shahid, a grade 11 student.
“For me it is Electrical Engineering. After passing Grade 12, I am applying to some universities in Qatar and Pakistan; I have also applied to some universities in Canada and will also explore universities in United States of America. I will hopefully get offers in May-June after examination,” said Maaz Khurram, Grade 12 student.
“I am very good at Mathematics. I got 96 marks out of 100. It is a tough subject but it is my favourite subject of all. We had great teachers here. The reason why I know the concepts of maths and physics so well is because of our teachers,” he added.
And what is a good teacher?
Maaz’s friend, Faizan Yousuf, explained: “A good teacher is one who communicates with you properly, understands you and listens to you because I think the relationship between the student and the teacher is important because teacher is the one who gives you guidance.”
He added that if a teacher focuses on getting you to understand things you do not get, then you would shine as a student.
In PEC, there have been students from different nationalities studying under a single roof. The experience has benefited students in widening their vision.
“We had many students from many other nationalities in our class. I was in grade 4, there was this Algerian student and we remained together till 7th grade. She told me about how people [in Algeria] perceive Pakistan as a country with all these problems with terrorism; but she told me that after interacting with Pakistanis and studying at PEC she now felt that Pakistan was her second home,” said Mahnoor Akbar, a grade 11 student.
Above all, the students are well-aware of their abilities, and are thankful to their school for honing these abilities.
“We have excellent speaking capabilities and we are good at grasping concepts as well, and I think it is all because of how we have been taught at PEC. And that is the reason why when most of our students go to different higher education institutions, they shine,” said Mahnoor Shahid, grade 11 student from PEC.
Earlier, Principal Otho warmly welcomed the guests and parents at the ceremony and presented the annual academic report.
“Excellence in academics is the hallmark of our institution and this is a special moment for us all to acknowledge our best students for their academic achievements,” Principal Otho told the audience.
She highlighted the remarkable achievements of PEC in curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. “We move on with a new vision by setting standards and goals to achieve. Our vision is to nurture a generation of young people who are self-motivated, creative, skilled in good communication and committed to lifelong learning,” she added.
A total of 115 meritorious students were awarded shields, roll of honour and merit certificates. First, the A1 graders were feted with merit certificates by the principal. Wajid Hassan Hashmi, the chief guest, then awarded Shields and Roll of Honour to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd position holders of SCC and HSSC.
Hashmi congratulated the toppers and their parents for their brilliant achievements. He also commended the efforts of the school principal and faculty members for preparing the students for academic and non-academic competitions.
“I am happy to see that PEC is showing progress in all fields and feel proud to see that PEC is leading other schools in Doha in board results,” said Hashmi.
The following students secured overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions in their respective groups of SSC and HSSC Examination 2015: Mahnoor Shahid 1st (SSC Science), Maryam Azhar 2nd (SSC Science), Jawaria 3rd (SSC Science), Yousaf 1st (SSC Humanities), Aiysha 2nd (SSC Humanities), Hafsa Akram 3rd (SSC Humanities), Sumayya Azhar 1st (HSSC Pre-Medical), Muhammad Usman 2nd (HSSC Pre-Medical), Nyla Muhammad Israr Khan 3rd (HSSC Pre-Medical), Shaheriar Iram Qureshi 1st (HSSC Pre-Engineering), Muhammad Abaid-ur-Rahman 2nd (HSSC Pre-Engineering), Ahmed Sameed 3rd (HSSC Pre-Engineering),  Qurat-ul-Ain Shahid 1st (HSSC Science General), Tayyabah Tahir 2nd (HSSC Science General), Memona Nawaz 3rd (HSSC Science General), Huda 1st (HSSC Commerce), Aysha Manzoor 2nd (HSSC Commerce), Maha Saqib 3rd (HSSC Commerce), Sidra Haider Ali 1st (HSSC Humanities), Laila Begum 2nd (HSSC Humanities), Yasmeen 3rd (HSSC Humanities).