BY PETRE WILLIAMS-RAYNOR Career & Education editor email@example.com
JEVON Wilson recently earned for himself nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects — eight of them, including mathematics, with distinction and the other with a grade two.
In the process, the 17-year-old has begun to lay the foundation for his planned future as a neurosurgeon and set the stage for his younger brother, Josef, who is beginning fourth form this September, to himself excel academically.
"I think that I am setting an example for him [Josef] to emulate and it will push him to work harder," said Jevon who, in addition to the mathematics — his professed passion — earned distinctions in biology, chemistry, physics, information technology (IT), geography, English language, and Spanish.
The Clarendon College student received a grade two for is efforts in English literature.
He also has the distinction of scoring the highest from among his schoolmates in five of his nine subjects — Spanish, biology, IT, geography and, of course, mathematics.
"I really wanted the one in [English] literature, but I still give thanks for the eight ones because I did my best and God came through for me," Jevon told Career & Education.
He credits, among other things, good time management and solid parental support for his success.
"The key thing is time management. It is critical because without good time management, you have chaos and you won't be able to get everything done in the proper space of time. Also, you have to do additional reading if you want the edge. I also think I have to thank my teachers; they were critical in supporting me," said Jevon.
"Also, I have to thank my fellow students; study groups really helped me in certain subjects. And, of course, my parents, they were there to motivate me and support me. Even when I didn't want to study, they sent me to study," added the teen whose father David is the principal of his school and his mother Lilith, the vice-principal.
According to Jevon, his parents being the heads of the school had not put undue pressure on him to perform.
"It wasn't really stressful. I have been myself. I have stuck to what I believe in and it has really helped me. I don't really get involved in any reckless recreational activities, so it [parents being the principal and vice principal] hasn't really bothered me. I think I am a completely normal student," said the affable youth.
His father attested to this while noting how proud he was of his son.
"As a boy coming through a high school here with his father as principal, it can be pressuring, but he has really stood his ground as a young man and really done well. Parents should give their children that sort of room to be themselves," said Wilson, the principal of Clarendon College for five years and a former senior teacher at Munro College in St Elizabeth.
"I am elated (over his performance). We expected him to do well. He had been working hard from first form," he added.
Wilson said Jevon had received a scholarship from Blue Cross (now Sagicor), following his sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test while at Santa Cruz Preparatory School, which, over the years, helped to fuel his commitment to doing well.
"A part of the thrust in terms of keeping the scholarship is that he would have to maintain an average of 75 per cent. His has always been over 80 per cent [though] when he got into fifth form, he may have got into the 70s," said the proud father.
At the same time, Wilson said his wife -- herself a math brain -- deserves much of the credit for Jevon's CSEC grades.
"His mother had been very instrumental in ensuring that he does everything he is supposed to do when he is supposed to do it. So if it is assignment, if it is study time, she keeps him focused. Especially when you get to fourth form, fifth form, the girlfriend thing comes in and he wants to be on the phone. He is also a man who loves the computer, so that, too, would eat into his time," said the educator, who at one time taught accounts and principles of business.
"So it was about helping to keep him focused and at the same time ensuring he understands that it has to be about the books. The co-curricular activities were also critical," Wilson said.
Jevon noted that his co-curricular activities — the quiz club, the chess club, the school band in which he plays the drums, the table tennis club, the cadets, and the math club — had indeed been beneficial to him.
"Apart from them being outlets for stress, they helped me in certain [other] ways. For example, in quiz club, some of the things you learn coincide with the things you learn in school, so the material for quiz club is less heavy because you are prepping of Quiz and CSEC so it is a win-win," he said.
With CSEC now behind him, Jevon's next stop is the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), preparations for which he will begin this September, on his road to a career in medicine.
"The plan is to go to sixth form at Clarendon College. Then I plan to do my SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) and apply for scholarships to go abroad to study medicine and then specialise in neurosurgery," he told Career & Education.
"I have always been fascinated with how the body works and the different ways in which we can help people, especially dealing with the human mind and how it functions. It has always intrigued me," Jevon added, explaining his desire to pursue neurosurgery.
To that end, he is to study pure math, biology, chemistry, physics, and either communication studies or Caribbean studies for his first year of CAPE. After sixth form, he hopes to attend one of the Ivy League universities in the United States.
"Maybe Princeton or Yale or Stanford; they are prestigious universities, especially Yale. My role model, Ben Carson, is a paediatric neurosurgeon, and he actually graduated from Yale Medical School," Jevon said.