Angelique's sacrifice pays off
Seaforth graduate funds studies from baked products, extra lessons
BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor — special assignment firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM selling home-baked pastry at school to offering extra lessons at a cost to fellow students, Angelique Bateau always sought innovative ways of earning enough money to offset the cost of her high school education when the load became too heavy for her mother who is a single parent.
On Sundays Bateau would work at a supermarket before rushing to her home in Seaforth, St Thomas, to start preparing the baked goods for the week's sale.
The 19-year-old, who recently received an award from the Association of Principals and Vice Principals for outstanding performance in last year's Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), said it is a sacrifice which has certainly paid off.
"It was a major sacrifice I had to make to get here, but it was well worth it," the recent Seaforth High School graduate told the Jamaica Observer North East shortly after collecting the trophy.
The teen, who excelled in all six CAPE subjects, explained how she would organise her schedule in order to be able to sell snacks at school while balancing the responsibilities of tutoring fellow students and baking to supply the demand for her mouth-watering pastries.
According to Bateau, she first got involved in pastry-making after someone suggested she should start making a living from this talent after tasting a birthday cake she had baked for her pastor.
Bateau didn't need much urging, as she said baking is something she had been doing from age 12 and an activity which had become her favourite pastime. From cupcakes to beautifully decorated birthday cakes, the teen said she does it all.
She immediately got the assistance of a 'Ms Ramsay', who worked in the school's cafeteria and who offered to sell the pastry on her behalf.
"That is how I started baking two nights per week and I would take them to school for sale in the canteen and then go back home to get ready for the afternoon shift," she explained.
The teen said she needed all the money she could make in order to ensure that she could afford to pay for her extra lessons in preparation for the exams.
"My extra class fee was $500 (per session) and I didn't want to miss any of them, so I would make sure that I had that money," she explained.
Despite all her efforts, Bateau said she did not expect to have passed all six CAPE subjects that she sat, given her challenging circumstances. She gained passes in communication studies, management of business, sociology, maths, Caribbean studies, and environmental studies.
"I certainly congratulate myself, because although I did my best I didn't expect it," she said, adding "even now I am in shock."
The teen said her life's goal is to become a bank manager and she intends to pull out all stops to ensure that dream is fulfilled.
Bateau is now focusing on acquiring enough funds to secure a place at the University of the West Indies where she hopes to be able to pursue studies in banking and finance.
However, before that, Bateau said she is in the process of attending evening classes to do some science subjects which she believes are necessary to afford her the opportunity of a second career choice if it takes longer than usual to establish a career in banking.
The teen said she is now trying to get a full-time job to be able to continue this current phase of her studies, but that is easier said than done.
Since graduating last July, Bateau said she has sought desperately to get hired but has been unsuccessful as she is being told she is too qualified for some positions and under-qualified for others.
The teen said she wanted to expand her baking business but has been unable to do so as she no longer has access to a functioning oven.
"I had even introduced my baking products to a supermarket and they were willing to start selling them for me, but then my oven stopped working and so I can't get that off the ground as yet," she said.