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'I am nervous and excited'

Emmanuel top GSAT student anticipates Hampton journey

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 28, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — In roughly a month, 12-year-old Beyonce Ebanks will officially take her place as a first former in high school, like many other students who were successful at the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

However, unlike many her age, she will be leaving the familiarity and shelter of her home and family in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, in order to make that transition.

Ebanks will be boarding at the Hampton School, which is also in the parish, and sharing a living space with schoolmates at the all-girls institution under the guidance of a house mother.

"I am nervous and excited," she told the Jamaica Observer Central.

With a 92 per cent pass in mathematics, 93 per cent in science, 95 per cent in social studies, 96 per cent in language arts, and 11 out of 12 for communication task, Ebanks emerged the top GSAT student from her graduating class at Emmanuel Kinder-Prep in Mandeville.

The support of her family, she said, has assisted in her success.

Ironically, Ebanks said that the death of her grandmother Nelly Falconer and her father Vernon Ebanks - a former Local Government Councillor for the Pedro Plains Division in South West St Elizabeth - while she was in grade four assisted her in finding greater self-motivation.

"I just started to work to please them," she said.

She has already decided on activities in which she will participate as she aims to cement her place at Hampton.

Though she was not previously involved in sports, Ebanks intends for basketball, tennis, netball, volleyball, football, and swimming to form a part of her new experience.

A former vice-president of the 4-H Club at Emmanuel, she also wants to continue with that activity in high school along with drama.

Ebanks who has dreams of becoming a prosecutor said despite the focus she wants to place on extra-curricular activities she will not be sidetracked from her academic pursuits and career goal.

"I want to help my country get rid of all the bad influence on the younger generation," she said.

The rush of nervousness and excitement she feels, according to Ebanks, has been emotions that were also present as she prepared for and awaited her examination result.

"It was challenging because there was a lot of work to do. It was preparation for one of the biggest examinations in your life (plus) there were mid-term and end of term exams. Every day I hear about GSAT results I would literally freak out because they kept on moving the date. At the end of the day it was all worth it because I end up passing the examination with very good grades,' she said.

Ebanks is the only student from the 27-year-old missionary-operated Emmanuel Prep who will be attending Hampton, and the institution was her first choice for secondary education.

Principal Yasmin White said that the school family at Emmanuel is extremely happy about the overall GSAT results.

"Fifteen of 17 students (received) A averages," she said.

White said that the school uses a "holistic" approach in the education of students and different departments work in tandem to achieve the respective goals.

A hallmark of the recently graduated grade six group was that they prayed and helped each other, she said.

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