In love with dirt, trees

Career & Education

In love with dirt, trees

Afrecia Samuels aces CSEC agricultural science

Sunday, December 01, 2019

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Surfing the Internet, hanging out with her friends and reading are some of her favourite pastimes. But Afrecia Samuels, a 17-year-old student of Manning's School in Westmoreland has a more profound interest — dirt and trees.

That interest led her to pursue agricultural science at school, where she earned a distinction in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exam and placed among the top three in the region for 2019.

“At a very tender age I was exposed to farming through my father and mother. However, when I was in grade four my teacher at the time, Miss Ambersley, was teaching us about plants and their importance, and ever since I've been interested in trees and soil, and by extension crop production. I was particularly amazed when I planted a part of the stem of a mint tree in a baked beans can and I watered it and it grew. I then had to transplant it in a section of the backyard farm that my grandmother had, she told the Jamaica Observer.

From that grandmother, who grew various crops including cane, cucumber, pumpkin, yam, sweet potato, dasheen, banana and spinach, Samuels also gained a wealth of experience.

“I have memories of assisting my grandmother through ploughing and reaping. My undeniable interest in this has inspired me to prioritise farming,” said Samuels.

At school, she was a member of the Jamaica 4H Club for two years before she joined the Girl Guides Association.

“Since I joined the Girl Guides Association of Manning's School, we have done various projects where we had to plant trees and for my pre-promise one of the challenges I had to do was to find eight different leaves, identify the trees from which the leaves were taken and write about the trees,” she explained.

Currently in lower sixth form, Samuels is studying physics, chemistry, biology and communication studies.

She plans to pursue psychopathology as a career, but will pursue her interest in agriculture through learning more about trees and helping plant various ones around the island.

“I love dirt and trees. I have also realised that agriculture is important in providing food and other resources, which we all need,” Samuels shared.

“I chose to study agriculture science simply because I love it and I realised how diverse and essential it is. To see that I am ranked among the top three in the region in terms of my results in the CXC [Caribbean Examinations Council] exams signified that I could do more than I give myself credit for. It also signified that with God, anything is possible,” Samuels told Career & Education.

She gave insight into how she prepared for the exam.

“I had a lot of sleepless nights that were used to study agriculture from back to front. I prayed and I sought help from other classmates in understanding topics that I did not fully understand. I also ensured that I had some time to relax my mind by doing something I love that wasn't school-related.”

Samuels is a Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassador.

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