Career & Education


Sunday, September 01, 2019

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As teens ourselves, we celebrate with our peers who performed outstandingly in this year's Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams. We know it was not easy; and just making it through the period of immense pressure from our teachers, parents, and friends is something to be celebrated — regardless of the grades. But as we start the new academic year, we shine the spotlight on some fifth formers who aced the Caribbean Secondary Education Ceritificate (CSEC).

We will feature extraordinary sixth formers and their Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) success next week.

Tahjae Jackson – 11 ones

School: Campion College

He proudly lives by the famous words of Malcolm X, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Using his education as his passport, after getting into his school of choice, Campion College, Tahjae Jackson moved from his home parish of St James to St Andrew in order to further his education.

He obtained grade ones in mathematics, economics, English language, English literature, French, additional mathematics, physics, principles of accounts, Spanish, information technology, and visual arts.

He found the preparation period for CSEC to be extremely tiresome, but rewarding.

“Besides staying up late and studying, I found it imperative to test my abilities. As such, after reading my notes, I would try to find a past paper question on that topic and attempt it. I would then ask my teacher to have a look at it to see my progress,” Jackson told Career & Education.

Olivia Williams — 10 ones

School: St Jago High

Hailing from Spanish Town, St Jago student Olivia Williams is extremely thankful and amazed by her results. Her 10 distinctions are in mathematics, english language, English Literature, information technology, Spanish, principles of accounts, history, biology, chemistry, and physics.

A very well-rounded student, Williams is a member of her schools' volleyball team, Girl Guides, Foreign Language Society, quiz and drama clubs. Amidst all her other responsibilities, she was able to ace all her examinations.

“Reading was my key,” she told Career & Education. “I always did my reading, despite where the class was or what topic we were doing, especially if the topic was hard to get at first. YouTube was another big factor, because at times reading wasn't enough and I needed visual representation or someone to talk me through the process, outside of a classroom setting. Finally, doing the necessary work and practising what was required repetitively.”

Anthony Givans – 10 ones

School: Wolmer's Boys

With an entrepreneurial mindset, Anthony Givans is desirous of becoming a quantitative financial analyst. As far as his CSEC grades go though, there is not much to analyse. He had a clean sweep of mathematics, English Language, English Literature, additional mathematics, Spanish, physics, chemistry, economics, principles of accounts, and principles of business.

Givans explained to Career & Educationthat upon seeing his results, he felt as if a tonne of weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

“It was a surreal experience and I'm still grappling with the fact that I obtained all ones even now,” he said.

Givans, who was a member of the Emerging Global Leaders Jamaica, secretary of the Environment and Energy Conservation Club and chief sub-prefect, recalls balancing his school work with his other duties as cumbersome at first. However, by creating a timetable and effectively scheduling, he realised the art of balancing without the stresses of it all.

Brittany Thomas – 10 ones

School: Holy Childhood High

Brittany, a former student of Angels Primary School, bagged ones in the following subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, history, geography, information technology, religious education, mathematics, English literature and English language. Just like American rapper Big Sean, she had a dream worth more than sleep. That sacrifice, coupled with hard work, were key in her strategy. Thomas said putting God first and listening to the advice of teachers were other important elements in her formula for success.

She thanks her teachers at Holy Childhood and at Linton's Academic Services for their hard work and temperament, as well as her parents, friends, and other well-wishers for providing the support system she needed.

Thomas said mathematics was her most difficult exam, in spite of feeling very prepared for it. She had attended several marathons, watched Kerwin Springers' YouTube videos, practised past papers and reviewed notes, but “After the math paper two exam, I was so frustrated and uncertain about even passing the exam”, she disclosed.

Nathan Walker – 10 ones

School: Campion College

Seventeen-year-old Nathan Walker of Campion College, and fellow teenAGE Observer writer attained ones in CSEC biology, English language, English literature, mathematics, Spanish, French, history, economics, information technology, and additional mathematics.

He achieved these grades while balancing numerous extracurricular activities. “I am a member of four clubs at my school, namely: Angels of Love, Modern Language Club, Student's Voice (the school journalism club) as well as Gavel Club. I have also been a performer in the Father HoLung and friends group for almost five years. For the last five summers, I also help out at Food for the Poor with their annual Summer Band Camp,” he said.

“Economics was my most challenging subject as I [only] picked it up in fifth form,” Nathan shared. “Not having the luxury of being taught for two years, it was really a race against time to cram the entire syllabus into my head before the exam. I hadn't finished the syllabus and I was not that confident about my SBA.”

Gabrielle Findlay – 9 0nes

School: Wolmer

Not only did 17-year-old volleyball player Gabrielle Findlay have a clean sweep of her subjects, the majority of them were with straight 'A' profiles. She sat mathematics, English language, English literature, information technology, biology, chemistry, physics, principles of accounts, and principles of business.

Findlay, who will be pursuing the pure sciences in CAPE on her quest to become a pharmacist, gave her advice to incoming CSEC students: “Maximise on attaining the 20 per cent from all your SBAs and then follow the syllabus and study what's in there,” she said.

Saevion McFadden – 9 ones

School: Ardenne High School

He is only 17, but McFadden already has his eyes set on becoming an attorney, and these results mark only the beginning of his trail of excellence. He sat mathematics, English language, information technology, chemistry, physics, Caribbean history, French, principles of business, and technical drawing.

Living by the mantra, “Your comfort zone is your failure zone”, a quote once said by his principal, Miss Nadine Molloy, McFadden juggled his school assignments along with extracurricular activities. He was President of the debating society and an active member of the music club and Ardenne Times Newspaper.

When asked how he prepared for his exams, McFadden explained that he was dedicated to his studies. This included staying up late and staying away from distractions that would deter him. Focused, driven and determined are just few words to describe McFadden.

Monique Wilson – 9 ones

School: Wolmer's Girls'

Wilson's list of subjects are mathematics, English A, English B, electronic document preparation and management (EDPM), family and resource management, geography, human and social biology, information technology and social studies.

“I ensured that I used the syllabus as a guide so I didn't miss any topic,” the young genius told teenAGE. “In addition, I practised multiple past paper questions for every subject for a feel of the exam questions. Also, I had my education as my main priority, and surrounded myself with friends who had the same priority.”

She shares these tips with next year's batch of students: “Ensure that your School Based Assessments (SBAs) are done to the best of your ability as they contribute a lot to your final grade. Make sacrifices for these exams because the results, in the end, will be worth it. Furthermore, if you aren't performing well in a subject, invest more time in that subject to avoid failure. Also, practise a lot of past papers because they will be extremely useful for the exam.”

Kelcya Nation – 8 ones

School: St Andrew High

Copping ones in English Language, English Literature, mathematics, biology, Spanish, economics, principles of accounts and principles of business showed that Nation's best was surely good enough.

For her, English Literature was very challenging. She said that even though she has always been enamoured with the beauty of words, and blessed with the ability to meticulously analyse literature pieces, her grades throughout the year didn't reflect the appreciation and effort she had put in for the subject. However, she took Thomas Edison's advice that “there is no substitute for hard work”, and continued trying.

Nation spent her lunchtime in the library studying so that she would not fall behind in her studies. She also highlighted the importance of organisation for success, explaining that keeping track of handouts and other study materials were essential as they had all the necessary information needed to attain success.

She urges persons who will be sitting examinations soon to build positive habits. Nation explained that at the start of Grade 11 everyone is usually motivated, however, the motivation fades but the habits formed do not. “Though it's not easy to study or do homework one must persevere and try very hard so that they will be happy about their results in the end,” she told the teenAGE Observer.

Akkeem Polack – 8 ones

School: St. Jago High

St Jago High School student Akkeem Polack is testament to his school motto: work conquers all. He achieved ones in eight of the nine CSEC subjects that he sat. These are English language, Spanish, mathematics, information technology, principles of accounts, principles of business, physics and chemistry. The attained a grade two in his ninth subject, English literature.

“I created a time table to include everything,” Nathan said of his study technique. “It included things like the time for studying each subject, Netflix time and even the breaks I'd take. I also studied with friends over the phone and had study sessions at the St Catherine Branch Library. Additionally, prayer was very important as I prayed every night before I tried studying.”

Writers: Isheba Cornwall, Akeelia Richards, Nathan Walker, Akkeem Polack and Kemal Forde. Co-ordinated by Candiece Knight.

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