FUELLED by the dream to one day become her own boss, 11-year-old Hallie Fletcher has begun her high school education, which she hopes will later help her to identify and take advantage of opportunities to start her own business.
At the start of the new school year, the girl — whose parents are themselves entrepreneurs — began her journey at one of Jamaica's most sought-after secondary schools: Campion College.
This is after her performance in the Grade Six Achievement Test earned her a place at the Kingston school while winning her a scholarship from the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), which is valued at $150,000 over five years.
Hallie achieved 12 of 12 in communication tasks, 100 per cent in science, 99 per cent in mathematics, 96 per cent in social studies, and 97 in language arts. In all, she earned a total of 98.4 per cent, which is among the highest grades in the Corporate Area and the highest at her former school -- Mona Preparatory.
"I wanted to be a lawyer, but after observing my daddy, who owns a business, and the influence of my mother, I changed my mind and decided that I want to be an entrepreneur," said Hallie, who speaks proudly of the support from her parents and her two older brothers.
From all indications, Hallie appears to have not only the smarts required to get into business for herself, but also the personality traits.
"She is very self-motivated and determined," said her mother Marie Fletcher. "She gets to school very early in the mornings and goes to the library where she gets her assignments done."
The Fletchers live in Spanish Town, St Catherine so Hallie woke up at 4:00 am to get to school by 6:30 each morning. Once there, she not only did her assignments, but also studied until class began. She has taken this practice into high school.
"I was [and am] motivated by the fact that I want to be able to have everything in life that I desire," said Hallie.
Meanwhile, her mother said there was no question in her mind that her daughter will get into business.
"She rarely asks us for anything and she saves her money. She wants to purchase a car by the time she starts university and she doesn't want us to purchase it. Therefore, she is saving from her lunch money and applying her financial skills, which she inherits from her father [banker Mark Fletcher], to ensure she has the funds to achieve her goal," Fletcher said.
"She is very serious about business and really places a lot of value on having her independence," she added.
At the same time, Fletcher said they allow Hallie to participate in the family business, sometimes even sitting in on interviews with applicants for jobs.
"She is an entrepreneur at heart. We simply try to support her the best way we can by maintaining high ethical and business standards, which hopefully, she will emulate," Fletcher noted.
Hallie has, in the interim, expressed gratitude for the JNBS scholarship she received.
"I am very pleased and I know it will assist me to pursue my dreams. I am very grateful to JNBS," she said.