2013 CSEC and CAPE exams. As we told you, Aaron Stock, who was the second best performer in the 2011 when he graduated from high school, was the best this year in the CAPE examinations when he graduated from 6thform. He managed to get 8 grade ones, and he was the country's best performer in Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Unit 1 and Physics Unit 2.

He is currently studying in in the US, and today, his mother had to deliver his speech which he prepared especially for the UB Gynasium filled to capacity with this year's celebrated students and their proud parents. Here's what he had to say to his fellow students through his mother:

Beverly Menzies-Stock, Delivering Aaron Stock's Address
"Failure is not falling down; it is refusing to get it after you have fallen. One place where I fell a few times was 6th form, you 2 years at junior college is the time to find yourself spiritually, socially and academically. As you enjoy the almost total freedom of post-secondary education. Of course like it is always said with freedom comes the responsibility to act as mature adults do."

"Junior college is a time to explore your academic interest, but it is not to be taken likely either. I find it necessary reminder that each grade you get in junior college will continue to affect the rest of your academic lives."

Xiowen Huang, Most outstanding CSEC Candidate, 2013
"When I found out that of the 17 CXC subjects which I sat I acquired 16 grade one and one grade two, I was really happy but not surprise. I did not just say that I wanted to pass all my CXCs with grade one; I started working towards that goal. I had started preparing early and I had studied diligently for each examination."

"Whatever success means for you it requires preparation, perseverance and promptness. There is no short cut to success, you must have a plan, start on time and stick it out to the end. You will be stress at times because of your situation and you will be frustrated at times. But don't give up, you must persevere. You success is just an inch away, do not complain. Each trial will only make you stronger. Every situation or every person you encountered can be a lesson. Love and respect everyone, be humble and be willing to learn."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"Ladies and gentlemen, we could learn a lot from these young men and young women that we are honoring today. They are the embodiment of sacrifice. I am sure that they would all relate to you how hard they worked to have achieved what they have achieved today."

Stock also thanked his fellow 6th form graduate, Romel Rudon, who he credited as his tutor for the CAPE exams. That is significant because Rudon edged him out in the 2011 CSEC exams, but this year, Rudon came in second, behind him for CAPE.

As we've reported, Xiaowen Huang took an incredible 17 CSEC exams, and managed to pass all of them with a jaw dropping sixteen grade ones and 1 grade two. Her performance has once again raised the bar very high, and today the guest speaker, who was once a CXC awardee in 1998, told the gathering how 10 CXC's was the number to aim for. He explained that his 10 was tough to achieve, and that he could even imagine the sacrifice and hard work required to pass 17. Here's how he explained it:

Khalid Belisle, Guest Speaker - CXC Award 2013
"The top overall performer this year had sat and passed a whopping 17 exams to earn that distinction. It caused me to think back as best I could to the early months of 1998, 15 years ago when I was getting ready to attempt what now must be called paltry 10 of those same exams. I remember quite clearly all the preparation and time that went into that and I try to fathom what it must take to pull off defeats these young brilliant minds are making look mundane as of late."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"I was commenting in my time in high school I did 8 and 8 was considered a lot back then and now we have students who are exceling with 17 and 18 CXCs in this country, so we have move leap and bounds in terms of the numbers of passes that our students are getting."

So, Aaron Stock has been awarded with the Belize Scholarship, which assists the top performers over the years to further their studies at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Up to last year, the previous recipients only received a financial award of 80 thousand dollars, which wouldn't even come close to covering their financial costs of 1 semester at the prestigious Universities abroad. Today, the Minister of Education said that the Government has increased the award to 200 thousand dollars, which Stock will be the first to receive. Here's how he explained it:

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"Previous years in previous years the award for the Belize scholarship was a maximum of $80,000. Since our discussions last year, I am pleased to report this morning that I had the Cabinet approval to bump up the scholarship to a maximum of up to $200,000. It doesn't mean you get to carry home the money in a suitcase, it simply means that if you can choose a school that you can spend this money on you'll be able to pay up to that. If you choose a school that cost $100,000 that's what you'll get, but if you choose a school and you've seen where our top performers at the CAPE level especially have chosen some schools where the $80,000 was simply a drop in the bucket."

"We want to send the signal that this is about excellence; the top performer on the CAPE exam is an excellent student, an ambassador for Belize, somebody whom we should all be proud to support."

At the award ceremony, Faber also announced that in order to encourage high school students to continue raising the bar, starting next year, every 4th Form graduate who sits and manages 15 passing grades in the CSEC Exams, will be awarded with a $5,000 financial grant toward their education.

Channel 7