BY PETRE WILLIAMS-RAYNOR Career & Education editor firstname.lastname@example.org
IT'S official! Bright spark Giovanni Rimann has been accepted to New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi, one of the world's more prestigious academic institutions.
As though his acceptance after a rigorous and highly competitive application process was not enough, the teen has won a full scholarship to attend the institution, which is located some 25 hours away from his island home and in one of the wealthiest parts of the world — the United Arab Emirates.
"I feel ecstatic, happy, accomplished. I feel humbled," Giovanni told the Jamaica Observer Tuesday, shortly after receiving word of his acceptance.
"I don't know; I just have to say wow. It is one of the top universities in the world, one of the most competitive there is and to really go up there as a Jamaican and impress upon these people to really seal the deal was really something else," added the youth, who intends to undertake a double major in economics (specialising in finance) and engineering (specialising in nanotechnology) beginning next September.
Notification of his acceptance came just over a week after his return from a candidate weekend in Abu Dhabi for the final stage of the selection process. The weekend, sponsored by the university, saw him subject to two interviews. He also had to write a two-page essay that required "10 pages of planning".
The completion of his application process aside, Rimann said he did not sleep from the time he arrived in Abu Dhabi on December 6 until December 9 when he returned to Jamaica.
According to the 18-year-old American International School of Kingston (AISK) student, there was simply too much to see and experience to spend time sleeping.
"It was an eye-opening, world-shifting, intriguing experience. It really opened me up to the world, to a new culture. It was just phenomenal from top to bottom... I had to live every moment of that trip," he told Career & Education jokingly.
From camel riding to sand skiing, visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and dinner at the Emirates Palace Hotel, the teen enjoyed it all and now has rave reviews.
His parents, who Giovanni said are at the centre of his successes so far, are proud. However, they insist they are in no way surprised at his latest achievement.
"I have always seen in it him; I am accustomed to this by now. Every single where I have sent this child, he has got the trophy for most outstanding. He is self-motivated; all you have to do is give him the opportunity," said his mother Jean Rimann, who Giovanni said had informed as a young child that, "You are no ordinary person".
She attested to having instilled in all three of her children this fact and recalls having to inform one of Giovanni's teachers about same.
"I had to go a teacher long ago because she told him that he was acting like he is superior. I drove down there and asked her 'what it is the opposite of superior?' She told me 'inferior' and I told her, 'I do not grow children who are inferior'," Jean recalled.
His father Christopher, like his mother, said Giovanni's acceptance to NYU Abu Dhabi was no less than his middle child deserved.
"I am feeling elated; it's a momentous occasion. It is a something he has been looking forward to. He has given it great focus and attention. And he has been like that all his life," he said, adding that associating with the best often leads to one becoming the best.
The Ardenne High old boy's performance in and outside of school to date would seem to bear this out. He holds distinctions in nine subjects from the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination — biology, chemistry, physics, English language, French, geography, information technology, mathematics, and technical drawing (building). He is also proficient at football, holds a black belt in karate and has a love affair with flying, having studied at the ground school of the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CAC) as a young teen.
After leaving Ardenne last year, he set his sights on attending the American International School of Kingston (AISK) — an institution attended by youth from the upper echelons of the society and who are the offspring of members of the diplomatic service.
Critically, it is an institution that prides itself on delivering a dynamic curriculum, with a focus on the use of technology intended to enhance the learning outcomes for each student.
Undaunted by the more than $1-million tuition, Giovanni went after his dream and won a full scholarship. He has no regrets.
"They [AISK] provided the environment for me to develop to this stage," said Giovanni, who not only studies at AISK — where he is undertaking the international baccalaureate programme, but also coaches football and has been involved in rewriting the constitution for the student government.
Only this past summer, on top of preparing for the competition to get into NYU Abu Dhabi, Giovanni has been busy. He worked at Konnexx Services Limited, from where he earned qualifications as a certified professional energy auditor and attended Bentley University — one of the United States' leading business schools — for a summer Wall Street training programme. His participation in that programme was made possible through financing from Konnexx Services.
On his return from that programme, where he distinguished himself as the 'top investor' for his camp, he undertook work at Mavis Bank Factory.
Going forward, Giovanni said he would strive to ensure that all who had made an investment in him have no regrets.
"My family, my teachers, AISK, Captain Stewart from CAC [who helped to cultivate my love of] flying... all these people have played a really important part in my life. And I have to realise that it is not a debt to repay but an honour to erect in all that these people have done for me," he said.