Twin scholars

Jelani and Jabari Munroe score big in CSEC, CAPE

BY DENISE DENNIS Career & Education staff reporter dennisd@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 20, 2011



TIME shared in the womb is not the only thing that twins Jelani and Jabari Munroe have in common. They also have the propensity for academic excellence.

The 17-year-old youths, who attend different high schools, performed exceptionally well in the recent Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams and earlier, the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams.

Jelani, a student of Campion College where he is head boy, received five grade ones in CAPE — biology, chemistry, mathematics, Spanish, and communication studies. His brother, a student of Wolmer's Boys School, scored four grade ones in biology, chemistry, physics, and communication studies.

At CSEC, Jelani received nine distinctions — mathematics, English language, English literature, biology, chemistry, physics, Spanish, history, and information technology. At the time, he was awarded for having scored the fifth highest English literature grade in the Caribbean.

Jabari earned eight distinctions at that level — biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, English language, English literature, principles of business, and principles of accounts.

So what's the secret to their success — other than a healthy dose of natural aptitude? The twins claim it's down to hard work — although they readily admit they are not always the most deligent of workers.

According to Jabari, when exam time comes around, he is transformed into a "workman-like" person.

"I am very industrious at that time. I do what is necessary for me to get good grades in my exams because at the end of the day, that is what counts," he said.

Jelani said that for himself he ensures that he is engaged during classes in order to properly grasp the core content of each subject.

"I like success. As far as schoolwork is concerned, I like to open my mind to different things," he told Career & Education.

"I try to extend my mind more than just what I need to get for exams. I strike a balance between exam learning and wider learning," Jelani added.

Teamwork also plays a role in their mutual successes. The duo, who insist that they are not competitive with each other and are always happy when the other succeeds, said they only study together at exam time. But at that point, they try to help each other in their respective weak areas.

Despite how well they have been doing, the twins, whose parents are both lawyers, are still uncertain of what they will become in the future.

"For the moment, I am in a bit of a limbo as to what I want to do," Jabari said, adding that he would like to go abroad to study liberal arts while he figures it out.

Still, the teen -- who is a member of his Manning Cup football team at Wolmer's Boys' -- conceded that he may end up being a doctor as he will continue studying science subjects despite that not being his preferred area.

"What's driving me now is not a burning passion for the subjects I do, but my pride and my competitive nature. What drives me is not to be left behind, not to be outdone by people who I think are not to outdo me," Jabari said.

Jelani, for his part, said his only desire is to get into a field that makes a positive difference in people's lives and from which he is able to derive satisfaction and enjoyment.

At the same time, he said that he is not unfamiliar with having to cope with a hectic schedule. Not only is he head boy of his school, Jelani is also a member of the United Nation's Youth Association of Jamaica, forms a part of the mentorship programme and plays tennis.

"I think if people were to stop and see just how much can be accomplished in a 24-hour day, if they were to maximise output, I feel majority of the people in this world could do more with the time," Jelani said.

Jabari, too, has to contend with a packed schedule. In addition to playing football, he also plays cricket and is the outgoing student council president. He is also secretary for the Key Club and has duties as a prefect.

But unlike his brother, Jabari is still trying to strike the right balance between academics and co-curricular activities.

The twins, who live with their parents, two brothers and three cousins, advise other young males to follow their own intuition rather than conform to the dictates of others in their bid to realise success in whatever they do. They must, the duo encouraged, understand their place alongside women in their generation.

"I feel so many young men are selling themselves drastically short in terms of what they can do," Jelani told Career & Education.

He added that the education system needs to allow men the opportunity to learn in their own way.

"It needs to allow them to be more tactile, to do things, to think of things, to express and be creative; make good of mischief almost," Jelani said.

Of his impressive passes, he said: "I feel I have done well. I feel I am deserving, and I want to continue working hard."

Jabari is equally satisfied with his accomplishments.

"The main thing for me is to keep hungry so that I am never tired of being successful," he said. "It is easy for you to get complacent and believe that it is innate to you, but if I am just consistent in what I do, what my mantra is, what I work by, then I think I will continue in the same stead."


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