"Hearing that I had achieved my predicted grades brought tears to my eyes. My chest started to tighten up and it was like I was going to pass out," Ardenne High School student, Orlando Palmer recalled his reaction that fateful night. "Regardless of how confident I was in me, achieving what I did was somewhat incredible."
The 17-year-old achieved something that was more than "somewhat" incredible. He managed, in one sitting, to score 11 distinctions in the recent Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) exams. These were attained in French, Spanish, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, information technology, principles of business, English language, English literature, and Caribbean history.
"After finding out, I felt quite relieved, knowing that I am qualified enough to move on to higher heights," Paler informed. "It was like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders as I also knew that I did not disappoint those who believed in me."
Palmer described himself as a very altruistic, high-spirited, easy-to-talk-to, conscientious person who never says never. He firmly believes that "in order for one to really indulge in something that they strongly desire, dem nose affi run. Nothing in life happens by chance or because of 'good luck'. Hard work and dedication, with the right dosage of self-confidence, should help anyone to see the light".
"My inspiration actually comes from me wanting to inspire the people who are around me, especially the younger boys who don't believe that they can attain whatever goals they set out to achieve," the young man said in explaining what drives him.
"I am also inspired by my family who understood the importance of academic success and tried to create as comfortable a study environment as possible. The teachers of my extra subject classes really accommodated me and believed in me, and I would also like to acknowledge them as they also contributed significantly to my achievements."
With hopes of becoming a doctor, Palmer aims to complete the sixth form programme at Ardenne High School.
"Do not let what people say dissuade you from doing your best," Palmer advised students. "Only you can possibly know your limits so don't let anyone tell you that 'studying goin' mad yuh'. But even as you study, you ought to take your health into consideration. Do not deprive yourself of sleep for extended periods and remember to eat a balanced meal to keep up with the books."
"Remember to try to be as organised as possible," he continued. "Try not to blame school and exams for impeding your religious or social life. Be disciplined, studying is not just to be done when exams are around the corner. Make it a part of your daily routine."