Career & Education

Teen ACHIEVERS Pt 2

Sunday, September 08, 2019

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Last week we highlighted some of our peers who excelled in the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. This week, we celebrate a handful of those who shone in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). They are indeed worthy of recognition as, though they sit fewer subjects than CSEC students, it is the more advanced level of CXC-administered exams, which means the course content and exam pressure are redoubled. Congratulations to all CAPE students who were successful in their exams!

Demoy Lindo – 6 ones

School: Denbigh High

Demoy Lindo is no ordinary 17 year old. The recently graduated student of Denbigh High School in Clarendon tackled six CAPE examinations and attained the highest grade possible in all of them.

Lindo attained distinctions in the following Unit 2 subjects: environmental science, biology, , physics Unit 2, integrated mathematics, and chemistry, as well as Caribbean studies.

“I feel comfortable with the results I received. I don't think I could ask to end school any other way,” Lindo told he told Career & Education. “Preparation was a necessity but a big part of my success was the support given to me by my teachers and parents.”

Lindo is now studying medicine with high hopes of becoming the next world-renowned neurosurgeon.

Sean-Michael Barnett – 5 ones

School: Calabar High

Even with juggling key club, badminton, choir and chess, among other extracurricular activities, Calabar's Sean-Michael Barnett was able to cop five ones in CAPE. He attained distinctions in Caribbean studies, biology, physics, chemistry and sociology.

Though he was low on motivation and found it extremely difficult to finish the infamous School Based Assessments (SBAs) before examinations, he managed to push through and did so in fine style.

The Honor Roll Society member, students' council representative, and executive prefect also managed to do some volunteer work outside of his school with Future Leaders of Jamaica.

“Honestly, I wasn't expecting to see good grades as I logged into the portal especially for physics and sociology so I was already thinking of ways to bounce back from the results,” he confessed.

“I want to become a neurosurgeon and so I'll be working towards accomplishing that at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus,” he said optimistically.

Damario Patterson – 5 ones

School: St Jago High School

Damario Patterson, incoming Deputy Head Boy of St Jago High School and a member of the Debate Team, obtained five grade ones for CAPE (Unit 1). He sat: communication studies, law, French, Spanish and computer science.

Patterson said he owed his success to God, who he described as his everything. Additionally, he also was happy to have a really robust support system which consisted of his parents, sister, extended family, church family, community members and school family. He also thanked those who were not fond of him because to him they are necessary for refinement.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt,” he said, quoting William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.

Patterson confessed that he was really surprised with the grade one he received in CAPE Law. He said, “I knew that I had written some wrong information. However, thankfully, that wrong information translated to a 'B' profile in that specific area: Criminal Law.”

But success didn't come overnight. The teen pointed out that it required a mountain of preparation grounded in the principle of consistency. Apart from the traditional study routine, he did different activities that aided his educational advancement on a daily basis. He would pretend to give speeches on a particular topic or speak to friends in different foreign languages.

The next step for Patterson is completing his last year of sixth form, after which he plans to pursue studies at Harvard University in the US.

Nathan Johnson – 5 ones

School: Calabar High

Calabar High School's Nathan Johnson scored five ones in his CAPE Unit 2 examinations, just before heading off to Vassar College in New York. He adds these grades to his nine passes in CSEC, and five in CAPE Unit 1.

Johnson scored ones in Caribbean studies, pure mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. Along with upholding his school's motto, “Utmost for the highest”, Johnson strongly believes that one must aim to forge their own path and not focus on what everyone else is doing.

Along with focusing on his CAPE examinations, Johnson sat the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music examinations — an England-based music exam — and passed his final piano examination.

Johnson thanked all his teachers for their hard work.

“A special thanks to my chemistry and pure maths teachers Mr Delahaye and Mrs Edwards, who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. I never did additional mathematics in grade 11, as such, pure mathematics proved to be a challenge for me but Mrs. Edwards somehow got me to enjoy learning about mathematics and solving difficult problems,” he said.

Joel Thomas – 4 ones

School: Calabar High

“I did it for my mom,” Joel Thomas told Career & Education. The 19-year-old student from Calabar High School managed to attain four distinctions, in Caribbean studies, physics, chemistry and biology.

Thomas expressed that he had a mental tug-o-war while preparing for exams this year.

“I was having a mental battle. My mom passed away four years ago and normally, when I try to study she pops up in my head and it causes me to lose focus. But I tried to remain focused by reminding myself that I'm doing it for her.”

With his sights set on achieving his academic goals, Thomas studied day and night to ensure that he not only passed his examinations, but attained distinctions in all four subjects.

“I would love to thank my father, who was my personal alarm clock,” Thomas said, laughing. “I am so grateful for him because he was the one always waking me up when I had to study at 12 o'clock in the mornings and he would also stay up with me when I'm studying to ensure that I don't fall asleep. In addition to this, he tries his best to send me to extra classes and for that I'm forever grateful.”

Savannah McDonald – 4 ones

School: St. Jago High School

With her final set of CAPE subjects, St Jago High's Savannah McDonald added four distinctions to the four she obtained in last year's sitting. The product of the Monk Street institution now boasts ones in communication studies, Caribbean studies, entrepreneurship (Units 1 & 2), French (Units 1 & 2) and Spanish (Units 1&2).

According to McDonald, her French grade was the most surprising of the lot.

“I love French, however, it has always been challenging for me in regards to its grammar and pronunciations. Additionally, the French exams, particularly the writing and listening exams, were very difficult, in my opinion. Despite this, I not only got a grade one but I placed sixth on Jamaica's Merit List in 2018 for French Unit 1,” she beamed.

Her preparation method for examinations consisted of reviewing her French and Spanish literature books, utilising foreign language applications which allow people to speak to natives, and participating in several WhatsApp and Skype calls with her classmates.

McDonald will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in integrated marketing communication at The University of the West Indies, Mona. She hopes to fulfil her dream of becoming a translator/interpreter subsequent to her tertiary studies. It is also her hope to begin offering services in translation, interpretation, multilingual social media management and other language-oriented services.

Nichele Phipps – 4 ones

School: St Jago High

Nichele Phipps decided long ago that she wouldn't allow the CAPE examinations to pressure her and so she studied at her own pace. The outgoing deputy head girl of St Jago High School disclosed that she didn't have any specific study techniques.

“I don't have study techniques; I just read when I'm supposed to and I don't allow anything to pressure me,” she told Career & Education.

She went on to explain that she spent a lot of time, especially during the examperiod, on Netflix. “My favourites were The Blacklist, Blindspot and Dynasty. Honestly, I see my ability to remain calm under pressure as a gift, and one that I'm grateful for,” she said.

Though the 19-year-old wouldn't recommend studying and watching movies at the same time, she wants individuals to know that everyone is different and therefore have different techniques. “Work with what works best for you,” she advised.

“Have fun and prepare for your future at the same time. It doesn't make sense you wait until retirement to enjoy life. You are young. Live! I would, however, suggest putting all your efforts in monthly tests and mid-semester exams as it is easier to study when CXC examinations are close. Also, pace yourself and focus on your race,” she said.

Abigail Roberts – 4 ones

School: Ardenne High

Ardennite Abigail Roberts copped all ones in her final year of examinations, giving her a total of 18.

She sat Caribbean studies, biology, chemistry and physics this year. Last year, for CAPE Unit one, she bagged ones in biology, chemistry, physics unit one and pure mathematics units one and two.

For CSEC, Roberts aced mathematics, English language, additional mathematics, information technology, French, biology, chemistry, physics, and agricultural science.

Roberts expressed to TeenAGE that she is overjoyed by her results, and is simply grateful, as this year's exams proved to be very challenging.

“Being in grade 13 brought the inevitable question of “what's next?” over and over in my mind,” she shared. “Many times I simply could not answer the question. This caused me to apply to not only local universities but international ones, in the hopes of securing a scholarship. Unfortunately, I was not the recipient for the international scholarship I had applied for, but with these results I am ecstatic. Having been named one of NCB's 2019 scholars, I am truly grateful to God.”

Kymani Francis – 4 ones

School: Calabar High

18-year-old Kymani Francis of Calabar High copped all ones in his CAPE Unit two examinations, while balancing numerous extra-curricular activities.

Francis sat Caribbean studies, physics, pure mathematics and computer science, while playing on his school's quiz team. Reflecting on the distinctions in physics and computer science, he shared that this year was very difficult, but with proper time management, he excelled like never before. In his CSEC examinations, he got eight passes, four of which wer at grade one. For CAPE Unit one, he got two ones.

Francis' story shows us that one should always persevere.

Along with schools' challenge quiz, he was the president of his school's math club, and a member of Key Club, Robotics and Tourism Action clubs. He recounts reaching home about 11:00 pm after quiz training, after which he would spend even more time going over quiz material rather than his school studies. Despite the challenges that came with being a member of Calabar's School's Challenge Quiz team, it proved fruitful as he gained a technique from his training that he used when studying.

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


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