BY PETRE WILLIAMS-RAYNOR Career & Education editor williamsp@jamaicaobserver. com
JODIANN Williams' eight grade ones and one grade two in the recent Caribbean Certificate (CSEC) examinations, which put her firmly in the ranks of those who performed brilliantly this year, have come as no surprise to her.
And why? The 17-year-old said she made the necessary sacrifices, putting in the required work. That, coupled with a healthy dose of family support, assured her success.
"The secret? It all lies within prayer and belief — and a whole heap of work; not just a lot of work, but a whole heap of work. There were many sacrifices that I had to make," the teen told Career & Education.
"I had to do extra classes. I had to give up certain pleasures that I love, such as reading romance novels. And, of course, Facebook; I had to give up Facebook," she added dramatically.
"But one thing that brought me through the journey was the family support, not only from family members, but [also] from friends and other persons who were there to inspire me along the way, with God's help," Jodiann said further.
She received grade ones in mathematics, English language, English literature, biology, chemistry, physics, Spanish, and information technology; and a grade two in geography.
The sixth-form Clarendon College student said she was pleased with her performance, though she is comforted by the knowledge that her family would have been supportive of her no matter how many grade ones she received.
"My family would have been ok with whatever I had done," she insisted. "But the motivation, rather ironically, was the fact that I am not in residence with my mother and father; I live with my grandparents [Osburk and Hazel Bradford]. Their having to be away to work and support and finance me, motivated me to work and make them proud."
Her father, Joseph Williams, is principal of St James High School in Montego Bay while her mother Annmarie Bradford works as a cashier in St Maarten.
"Daddy always said that from his high school years, he achieved six subjects and always insisted we were to surpass him. Now I have made him proud by attaining the nine. I have also set a high standard for my younger siblings to surpass," Jodiann noted.
Of her mother she said: "Her invaluable sacrifice was and is the driving force behind my success and to make her proud is a mission which I hold close to my heart."
"I hope she realises that she is my heroine and my motivation," added Jodiann, a past student of Frankfield Primary School.
At the same time, she said that her grandmother has been her rock.
"My grandmother stands shining proudly from the sidelines. I can never say that I go to school hungry or lacking for encouragement to believe in myself. Grandma always supports me and is the hearer of my cries," said the youth, who will turn 18 years old in December.
For her part, her grandmother has expressed pride at Jodiann's accomplishment.
"I feel proud. Sometimes I can't believe. When she got the results and she call me and tell me, I have to cry. I couldn't believe it, but I was looking for her to pass. I said to her, I dreamed see her pass nine subjects," Bradford told Career & Education.
Jodiann, meanwhile, also had high praise for her stepmother Delores Brown-Williams and several aunts and teachers who she said all helped her along the way.
"She has helped me through the turbulence of the five years," she said of her step parent. "Auntie Paulette, auntie Jacky, and uncle Andrew, all my teachers at Clarendon College, they gave strong support [as did] my highly cherished neighbour who is lovingly called auntie Imo."
According to the teen, extra-curricular activities also proved useful as she prepared for the exams. She was involved in the camera club, the Red Cross and the science club, which she found hugely beneficial.
"As with any club, they provided for me the opportunity to socialise and introduced me to new aspects of life. After classes, I went to the club, which was less formal, less intense and more sort of laid back and as such, it eased the tension from the day's work. It also provided an avenue for self- expression," she said.
As she waves goodbye to CSEC, Jodiann has her sights set on a career in medicine.
"It has been a passion of mine to achieve this goal [to become a doctor] to put me in a position where I can give back directly to my family and to others because it is the giving of those around me that has propelled me to my level of achievement today," said the student, who is now pursuing studies in biology, chemistry, physics, pure math, and communication studies at the level of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Once she has completed her CAPE studies, it will be on to university. Jodiann, who said she is working to receive a scholarship, noted that she would ideally like to attend a local institution. However, she is open to the idea of studying overseas.
Jodiann has challenged other youths to follow in her footsteps.
"You have to practise the material, know the material because it cannot be easily regurgitated on the day of CSEC. The thing about is CSEC is that you have knowledge and use of knowledge. It is ok to know the thing, but you also have to understand it to use it for maximum success," she said.
"There is a time and place for everything, and with CSEC, you are in the prime of your life to topple the CSEC. And you are to put aside those things that will be there later so you can focus on the CSEC for that time period and then you can pick up afterward because there is a time and place for everything. Facebook cyaan done. Romance novels will still be there," Jodiann added laughing.