Published: 13th of February, 2023 by Patrick CarpenLast updated: May 1, 2023 at 20:47 pm
Ten years ago, she made her country proud. In 2012, Sarah Hakh was the Caribbean’s best overall CXC student copping a record breaking 16 Grade Ones with all As on the profile grades. Sarah Hakh won the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate Overall in the Caribbean. As a result of her performance, her school, Abram Zuil Secondary on the Essequibo Coast, received the CSEC School of the Year Award for 2012.
I was naïve to think that people wouldn’t really care and put me on some pedestal…I don’t think that feeling ever gets old or comfortable. I didn’t realize at the time what a deal it was for so many people for me to have done so well at CSEC. It’s a bit ironic because I don’t think of myself that highly.Sarah Hakh
But what is Sarah doing now? And what vision does she have for her country? In an exclusive interview with this publication, Ms. Hakh, now 26 years old, relates that although she has accomplished a lot academically and professionally over the last ten years, her journey wasn’t always a walk in the park. Sarah struggled with mental health issues, bullyism, and exploitation and harassment in the workplace.
Sarah Hakh grew up with her family on the Essequibo Coast with strong religious values ingrained in her from a young age. In school, she participated in religious study groups and wore a hijab for a few years. Sarah still is, as she was at that time, a practicing Muslim, but she explains that a few things have changed about her personality and her perspective of the world at large.
What is poignant is that the younger me would be calling blasphemy on the person I have evolved to become. I couldn’t have it any other way though. I studied world religions and eventually became more connected to spirituality as opposed to structured religion. I practice yoga now and fell in love with Taoism during a rough patch in my very early twenties.
Overwhelmed by the fame and publicity of being the Caribbean’s best performing student, Sarah wanted to move away from Guyana and the Caribbean in general so as to step out of the limelight. Fresh out of high school and still a teenager, she enrolled at Florida International University in Miami, Florida to pursue her BA in Economics which she completed by the year 2018 – at the age of 22. By that time, she had also completed stints in Finance and Religious Studies.
I think there (University) is where I truly “found myself” and was given independence in a way I had always dreamed about. The best teacher in life is experience and I had a few lessons in almost all aspects of life. One of the few life-altering decisions I made was to join a business fraternity on campus. Networking and professionalism are things I needed to work on to be effective as a young woman in my field.
After graduating from Florida International University, Sarah returned to her homeland to embark on a career path. Most of her jobs in Guyana were in the public sector as an economist and consultant, but she has dipped her toes in commercial banking and retail as well.
In general, Economics students are solid, independent thinkers and I have this thirst for knowledge to this day. I think of myself as a rolling stone, I love acquiring experiences and learning from them as much as possible. I was diagnosed with Manic depression/Bipolar Disorder at age 19, and since then, I have been a strong advocate for people suffering from such disabilities. I did quite a lot of volunteering and activism at my school. Active volunteering is an important tenet I try to live up to.
Sarah relates that she has great dreams for her country, Guyana, and sees it evolving into one of the greatest countries in the world. She hopes that someday she will be able to play a role in steering Guyana’s leadership towards the right trajectory in a way that caters for the upliftment of all Guyanese. Ms. Hakh is also passionate about advocating for better human rights and becoming an activist against sexual harassment in the workplace, some things she believes are much needed in Guyana as well as in many other parts of the world.
I strive to be a woman to set that example and never compromise my values for money or status.
Now back home in Guyana, Sarah continues to tread her path of success facing every challenge head on. In addition to her CXC and University qualifications, she now holds a media certificate after successfully completing studies in 2022. Although she is strongly considering pursuing a career in journalism, her current endeavors might see her staying in the public sector for a while.
A message to everyone, if I may, is to have your own timeline and remember that progress is not linear in any way. Success comes and goes and is extremely precarious in this day and age. Be valued, and always be authentic to yourself…also, try not to peak too early. Life is a long ways to go. Figure yourself out and take all the right risks. Last but not least, always remember where you come from…roots before branches.Sarah Aneesah Hakh
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