JC 9th grader excels at CAPE, CSEC


JC 9th grader excels at CAPE, CSEC

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, October 18, 2020

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FOURTEEN-Year-Old Derryk MacGregor is not your average teenager.

In fact, from as early as age six, MacGregor's mother, Dawn MacGregor-Bromfield, embraced his curiosity by allowing him to freely explore places they visited. This free reign, she said, would often result in her younger son engaging adults in deep conversation and bringing them to meet her wherever they were.

“I always knew he would circle back. If not alone, he would come back with an adult in deep conversation. Once he came back with the head of security of an establishment. Another time we were at a play, and he wanted to see what was behind a door, so I let him go. After a good while he emerged with the stage manager, also named Derrick, having a deep discussion that they had different names as his was spelt uniquely,” MacGregor-Bromfield told the Jamaica Observer.

This continued through prep school where Derryk preferred to engage his teachers in conversation and his curiosity developed into a love for science, which has remained with him in his high school years at Jamaica College (JC).

“We would go to expos on science and geography-related stuff. He always wanted to know how things worked so he was always scientifically minded. From he met the science teacher in first form, he told her that he wants to do experiments and learn more about science. She said when you reach third form you're going to be part of my HSB [human and social biology] class and I'll make sure you get hands on and nearer to the exam you'll be sharp enough,” MacGregor-Bromfield said.

In addition, MacGregor's involvement in the Digital Arts Club at JC over time revealed that not only did he have a love for science, but his animation skills were excellent.

“We had a Digital Arts Club, which I started at JC and he was voted in as the leader of the junior video editing group because of his skill. Teachers and students alike had seen his skill with video editing and experimenting with things like animation. The animation and gaming design teacher saw some of the things he did and said, 'When you reach third form let us speak',” MacGregor-Bromfield said. “The teacher got permission for him to be part of the sixth form class, whether or not he did the exam, because he is a gamer, he's a Youtuber and he's the 21st-century teenager. It's amazing when you see him sit down for hours working on projects. The recent was spending four hours straight working on an eight seconds animation, but when he got it done he was proud. That's what keeps him motivated rubbing shoulders with the upper sixth boys.”

Subsequently, it came as no surprise that the JC student decided to take on a Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and a Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) subject in grade nine. MacGregor sat CAPE Unit 2 animation and gaming design and CSEC human and social biology . He received a grade two and three, respectively.

But tackling both subjects came with its fair share of challenges that tested MacGregor's determination.

“...It (HSB) wasn't what he thought it would be. It was not the experiments he would do in physics and so forth. That was a bit disappointing for him, but fortunately he passed it,” MacGregor-Bromfield said. “You know the Jamaican term 'everyweh yuh tun macka jook yuh?' Him turn this way macka jook him, him turn that way macka jook him and he shook it off. Some serious things happened and he just shook them off and continued... from computer crashing, running out of space.”

She added: “Two months before the due date, he had to start over the IA [Internal Assessment] from scratch. I was expressing to my sisters abroad that he's suffering with what he has, to accomplish what he wants and they sent down an external hard drive for him. He placed all his animation he had done over the year to free up his space to do the IA. He put bits and pieces from the IA onto the external hard drive, then they stole the external hard drive. It's not me but I felt devastated. He had to start again.”

In addition, when COVID-19 hit home, young MacGregor had to shift focus to getting his work done without being physically present among peers. Added to that, his grandfather with whom he shared a home died in April, leaving him to also deal with grief, alongside challenges with completing his external examinations coursework.

“It was many life lessons. He had a punching bag and many times he would go punch it up and come back to it. He was so determined to finish and kept at it that I even rewarded him before the results. For doing the exams, I rewarded him,” MacGregor-Bromfield said.

For Derryk, though a lot was going through his mind, told the Sunday Observer he ensured he did not worry too much about it.

“I don't stress like other students. I pulled through it, tried my best and ensured I got the work done. Several times I felt like giving up, but I went through it, continued and I somehow passed both of the exams. My mom motivated me several times and helped me get back up, but to see the end goal and possibility of me being the first third former to do a CAPE subject, seeing how it could help my future, I kept going...When I got the results, I was amazed,” he said.

MacGregor has future plans to be an animator, a change from his mainstream goal of being a traditional scientist.

“With animation I can be a scientist without any limitation,” he said. “I can bring enjoyment to the world and I can create anything I want without the limitation of physics or chemistry. Your imagination is the limit and I have huge imagination, so I decided animation is the way to go.”

Now in grade 10, MacGregor plans to do CAPE Unit 1 animation gaming design, in addition to CSEC electronic document preparation management.

Despite COVID-19 being a “bummer” MacGregor said he makes the most of his time and emphasises that though he is a nerd, he's all about his computers, not the books.

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