BY DENISE DENNIS Career & Education staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRIFICE and a commitment to studying have earned Catherine Douse, 12, and Chevaughn Campbell, 11, a place among the top performers in this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
The youngsters were last week each awarded scholarships valued at $1,435,000 from the ScotiaFoundation and named Top Girl and To Boy, thanks to their impressive scores in the exam, which they sat in March.
A humble Douse told Career & Education that she had received 100 per cent passes in all the subjects, while a confident Campbell revealed with pride that he had received 100 per cent passes in all subjects, except science, for which he got 98 per cent.
Douse will attend St Jago High in St Catherine at the start of the next school year, while Campbell will attend Campion College in St Andrew.
They each explained that preparation for the much-feared and controversial GSAT had meant giving up television, games, friends, and even sleep.
"I stopped playing video games for a while, most of my TV-time was gone and I had to study more and stay up later," Campbell said.
"It was hard; I had to give up a lot of things. I had to give up TV-time, I had to give up all the time talking to my friends and playtime. But in the end, it was worthwhile," she said.
Uncertain what he would like to become when he is an adult, Campbell said he is just looking forward to high school.
His mother Melaine Bryan, elated by her son's success, confesses that she would like him to go into the medical field, preferably neurosurgery.
"I am very excited, but I am not that surprised because Chevaugn has always been a top achiever. He has always done well and we were working towards a scholarship, but getting the Top Boy is just simply awesome," she said.
At the same time, Bryan noted her gratitude to the teachers of Vaz Preparatory where Campbell.
"And to God for helping us and keeping us focused throughout the GSAT preparations," she said.
Douse, who hails from Spanish Town and attended St Catherine Prep, said her teachers from kindergarten to grade six had been her role models and a great support to her over the years.
"My school has three scholarship [winners] so we have done well. We have all excelled because of our teachers and the help from the whole school body, even the ancillary staff and the administrative staff encouraged us," she said.
Still, Douse said she was surprised when she learnt her grades.
"I was working for a 100 per cent; I knew I was going to do my best. But I didn't think I would do this good," she said, smiling. "I wasn't expecting a 100 per cent. Everybody wants to get perfect grades, but sometimes it doesn't work out. I was very shocked when I saw all hundreds."
Now, she looks forward to high school and making new friends, having grappled with whether to choose St Jago or Campion College as her first choice.
"It was either Campion or St Jago and God revealed to me that I should choose St Jago. I don't regret it," she said.
Her mother Carole-Anne Yee Sing-Douse, who describes her daughter as being obedient, polite and very disciplined, believes she is headed in the right direction and prays she will continue to do well.
"I am extremely happy for her. She has worked very hard and long and I am happy that she has achieved the ultimate," she said.
For herself, Douse said, "I feel really excited. I feel great and I owe it all to God."