BY HORACE HINES & KARLA JOSEPHS Observer West reporters firstname.lastname@example.org
SEVERAL western Jamaica educators are confident their students will secure for themselves Government or private sector scholarships, following their brilliant performance in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
Counted among those students is Howard Cooke Primary's Dejaun Williams, who scored a whopping 99.3 per cent in the exams. The little boy earned 100 per cent in science, language arts, social studies, and communication task; and 97 per cent in mathematics.
"I expect a scholarship; you can't get better than this. He missed a perfect score by only three points," an elated Dave Scott, principal of Howard Cooke Primary, told the Observer West.
He noted that of the 205 students who sat the GSAT this year, most performed well.
"The school's success is a manifestation of hard work by the members of staff; the teachers really worked hard with them (the students)," Scott added.
Dejaun, who wants to become either an architect or a medical practitioner, has himself credited hard work and sacrifice for his success.
"I feel happy, I feel elated that I could score such high grades in the exams. I got a lot of support from my parents and teachers," said the youngster, who will attend Herbert Morrison Technical High in September.
His teacher Olivene Green-Walker had high praise for him.
"I am not really surprised at his high score. His performance in class over the months leading up to the exams has been close to those results. When we do tests in class, he normally gets like just one wrong. He is always diligent and attentive; when the other students are finished working, Dejaun can be seen going over his work," she said.
Me'Shale Sherwood and Tifanny King of Mount Alvernia Prep, also in Montego Bay, boast 99 per cent averages. They, too, are believed to be strong scholarship contenders.
The girls shared their preparation strategies with the Observer West.
"I quickly realised how much homework is a part of study and took it very seriously. I would also review every new area that was covered each day. Being involved with the Debating Team, Math Olympics and the Montego Co-operative Credit Union's Quiz challenge also helped me prepare for my exams," Tifanny said.
"I set a timetable that outlined all the subject areas I would cover and would fit each subject area within a particular time period. This helped me a lot. I would also take a break every 15 and 30 minutes of every hour to watch television and use the computer," added Me'Shale.
Their principal Angela McPherson is pleased with the results.
"I am very proud of my students. Ninety-eight per cent of our students passed for traditional high schools. Twenty-three students out of 31 scored 90 per cent and over," she said.
Meanwhile, expectations for scholarships among the New Horizon Prep School community in Savanna-la-Mar hinge on the outstanding performances of Tashe Powell and De-Andrea Dixon. They averaged 98.8 and 98.6 per cent, respectively, and are to attend the Hampton School in St Elizabeth in the new academic new.
Tashe scored 99 per cent in mathematics, 98 per cent in science, 97 per cent in language arts, 100 per cent in social studies and another 100 per cent in communication task. De-Andrea scored 99 per cent in mathematics, 97 per cent in science, 100 per cent in social studies, 97 per cent in language arts and 100 per cent in communication task.
According to Venet Dixon, principal of the four-year-old Westmoreland-based school which boasts a student population of 220, all 21 students who sat the exams performed very well, averaging 96 per cent.
"Overall the students have done exceptionally well; all of them got the schools of their choice," said Dixon, who is also De-Andrea's mother. "Over the years, we have done extremely good; we have always done well since the inception of the school. We have a strategic plan at New Horizon".
Meanwhile, both girls are thrilled with their results.
"I feel very happy because most of the time I am at the top of my class, but I didn't know I would have done so well in GSAT," said Tashe, who wants to become a scientist or a paediatrician.
De-Andrea, for her part, said her hard work had paid off in the end.
Catherine Hall Primary's scholarship hopes lie with Omari Brown and Khamille Mowatt, who both averaged 98.6 per cent; and headboy Rashaun Stewart, who had an average of 98 per cent.
However, principal Dudley Jennings was cautiously optimistic when he spoke to the Observer West on Tuesday.
"I don't like to count chickens before they are hatched, but I am hoping for good things," he said.
Meanwhile, Tahj-Monique McCauley, who got an average of 97 per cent, is the pride and joy of Barracks Primary School in the western resort city.
Her GSAT result came as no surprise to her teacher Rema Brown.
"She is a consistent worker, focused and responsible, among other attributes. I had expected her to do well," Brown said.
Hosanna Preparatory School's student Aylee Collins also scored a 97 per cent average while St Mary's Preparatory School's Adonia Adams averaged 97.6 per cent.
Tyasha James, 12, of Granville All-Age School, St James who earned an average of 98.4 per cent, lived up to the expectations of the teachers at her school who expected her to do well.
In fact the teachers, who are hopeful the young student, who is placed at Campion College will be awarded a scholarship, have been closely monitoring the child's progress ever since she started school, nearly six years ago.
"I was expecting her to do well because Tyasha is a hard worker who does not need anybody to motivate her. She doesn't wait on the teacher to give her work," said James' grade teacher, Deloris Reid.
Tyasha, who expressed satisfaction with her results, said she was especially happy given the hardships she had endured while preparing for the examinations.
"It was very difficult because I had research to do and had to walk and borrow people's computer. It was a difficult task, but in the end my hand work has paid off," she said.
Meanwhile, last year's western Jamaica scholarship awardees included Dominique Ramsingh who attended Hosanna Kindergarten and Preparatory and Jason Hunter from Mt Alvernia Preparatory and Kindergarten.
Dominique received the Scotiabank Foundation Shining Star County scholarship for the county of Cornwall to study at Herbert Morrison Technical High while Jason, who was placed at Cornwall College, received a Jamaica National Building Society Scholarship.