MEET Sherroll and Lorens Perez, originally from Barcelona, Venezuela.
They arrived in Trinidad in 2016, having to flee what they described as the harsh and oppressive regime of Nicholas Maduro.
Las gemelas, as they are referred to, had to leave their home, school, friends and life behind.
Sherroll said, “It was very difficult in Venezuela. We had to line up for hours to get a box with food and many times we had to go back empty handed.
“We would return the next day but it was hard. The old people and young children had it very, very hard.”
Not long after arriving in Trinidad, their mother enrolled them in CXC Masters in Tunapuna where they would begin a journey that saw them learning English and gaining distinctions in a number of CXC subjects.
Coordinator of CXC Masters Pradesh Lutchman said the twins were submerged in a different culture and one of their main barriers was the language.
He said, “Their story is one of motivation and inspiration as well as the will to succeed against the odds.”
Lorens said, “It was muy triste (very sad) to leave my home, my friends and my school. I was sad for a long time. I wondered why this was happening. Fortunately, my mom found the CXC Masters and we were able to think about the future again.”
Lutchman said, “The main obstacle the twins faced was language. They had to overcome a completely new language in a school that was far removed from Barcelona.”
He said, “All alone except for each other and in a new environment, the challenge seemed impossible. The staff at the CXC Masters welcomed them with open arms and a dedication to help them to succeed in an alien environment
“Lorens and Sherroll settled in and their life in a new environment started with an eagerness to learn and a ready smile of encouragement.
“Always eager and very polite they first had to learn English. This is a hard task for anyone to learn a foreign language.
“The challenge for both the school and the twins was not just learning English- but academic English.”
Las gemelas had to write the CXC exams in English. This was a great task given that English was not their first language.
Lutchman said, “Many students who speak English have a lot of difficulties with CXC, far less for non–native speakers of English.”
It was a challenge.
Sherroll said, “It was so different to have to read and understand in a foreign language… you never think about it until it happens to you. The teachers and the CXC Masters made it easier for us because they catered to our needs.”
Mathematics, English A, Spanish, Human and Social Biology, Biology, Chemistry and Physics were their chosen subjects.
After only nine months of learning English, they began to prepare for CXC level subjects.
Lorens said, “I had a lot of challenges – it was very difficult at first. I found that the speaking was just too fast. Soon, I knew I had to work harder and I did.”
Like all teenagers they are fun loving and want to enjoy life. They have a love for music, especially English music and a love for their phones.
They were now able to enjoy English movies and understand every word.
They could now visit any place read, understand and speak English fluently.
Lorens said, “I really enjoy music and movies. So I spend a lot of my free time do these. I watch a lot of different types of movies. It makes me relaxed.”
Sherroll said, “I am the same. I love both as well.”
The hard work paid off as they each attained five CXC passes.
Lutchman said, “The methods employed by the teachers worked wonderfully. The CXC Masters is one of the few places that deal with issues of dyslexia, ADHD and other learning issues. Thankfully the twins were model students – eager, diligent and inquisitive – even up to now. This made the job a lot easier.”