Mario makes history

By Admin. Updated 5:55 a.m., Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Mario Baker, 28, has made history for the Buccament Bay Secondary School by becoming the first engineer to have come from the school.

Mr. Baker graduated in November 2021 from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Power Engineering.

Mr. Baker comes from the South Leeward Community of Dubois and attended the Dubois Government School, then the Lowmans Leeward Anglican School, then the Buccament Bay Secondary, then the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Division of Technical and Vocational Education – DTVE, before transitioning to the UWI, Mona in Jamaica.

The Buccament Bay Secondary School was established in September, 2005, as part of the universal access to secondary education policy by the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The school caters mainly to students from rural communities across South and Central Leeward.

In an interview with One News SVG, Mr. Baker said “I must say it’s a tremendous feeling and I’m quite excited because it has always been my dream to be an engineer.”

Mr. Baker said that hopes his achievement can inspire current students at the school to pursue their dreams.

Why did Mario choose engineering?

When asked why he chose the field of engineering for his studies, Mr. Baker said he did it out of a passion.

“I always wanted to advance myself in the field of electricals. I always wanted to know how motors work, how generators work; the concept behind how they work,” Mr. Baker said.

It was one class, however, at the Buccament Bay Secondary School that got him going on his journey to becoming an engineer.

“At Buccament Secondary, we had two options at form four, we had business and technical. I chose technical because I was more advanced in the technical field, drawing and anything to do with electrical,” he said.

“I did electrical installation at class and then I realized that I loved it,” he added.

Mario went on to do an Associate Degree at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College – Division of Technical and Vocational Education in the electrical field, after which he started working at a factory.

“At the factory, I realized that there were a lot of moving parts. Everything at the factory that I was working around dealt with electronics, electric motors, conveyor belts, etc, so I was always fascinated about everything worked,” he said.

“I always wanted to know what’s the concept behind it, the physics, the engineering behind it. So, I decided that I wanted to go on further and know more. There was a passion inside of me. I was not satisfied; I wanted to know more. So, I was hungry for knowledge and I went on and applied to the University of the West Indies, Mona campus and I was accepted in 2016, so, I went and did my stuff,” he added.

Mr. Baker said studying in Jamaica was a worthwhile experience.

“Jamaica is a beautiful place. I love Jamaica. I have nothing negative to say about Jamaica, I love the country, I won’t lie. I enjoyed every bit of it, the class, the environment, the culture,” he said.

Mario said that most of the challenges he faced were experienced at the start of his journey, saying that it was difficult, at first to understand the Jamaican patois.

Relevant to his studies, Mario said “it was a lot of work.”

“I was prepared; I knew it was going to be like this,” he said, adding that “there were days I had classes from 8 a.m to 8:00 p.m. Sometimes, it was 8-5 or 8-6. It was a different feeling transitioning to this different setting.”

“It was a little bit challenging, time management especially because you’re accustomed to finishing school at 3:00 p.m., or 4:00 p.m, but when you are going until 8:00 p.m, then having to do assignments and spend extra hours at the library, then go home for a short break and head back to the library to read, it was not easy,” Mr. Baker said.

Mr. Baker’s message to students from rural schools and rural areas is to “find something you love and go towards it. Find a passion.” He added that “the field of electrical excited me from day one, from the time I was introduced to it at form four. I realized my brain was working at this level, so I just went towards it.”

He urged young people not to pay attention to the negative.

“People might tell you that you cannot do this, or that you cannot do that, but you have to find something within that fuels you. You might have to make your circle around you smaller, the friends you keep. Find people around you that encourage and push you and keep that positive energy around you and keep going for what you want,” Mario said.

When asked about his advice to current students at the school, Mr. Baker said, “don’t look at where you’re at. Look at the potential of where you can be.”

“At first, when I was at the school, I felt bad that all of my friends were going to the Girl’s High School and the St. Vincent Boy’s Grammar School, but one teacher always told me, and I will never forget, I was in form one and she said: it is not where you’re coming from, it is where you are going,” Mr. Baker said.

Mario said that he is ready to use his skills to contribute back to the country. Among the things he wants to use his skills for is to contribute to the country’s move towards more renewable energy production.

The administration of the school told One News SVG that they are proud of Mr. Baker’s achievement and hopes that it serves as a form of motivation for the current students that they are capable of achieving their dreams.

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