Iandrea Whyte overcomes challenges to achieve PEP success
Iandrea Whyte, 12,

WHILE a student at Morant Bay Primary School, Iandrea Whyte was nicknamed "Young Einstein" by her classmates, because she maintained consistent academic excellence.

Now, the well-spoken 12-year-old is the top girl at the St Thomas-based school in this year's Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations.

With her placement score of 368.4, Iandrea will be attending Morant Bay High School, which was her first choice.

However, the St Thomas resident says her accomplishments did not come easy, as she was faced with an illness that led to her hospitalisation and then Internet connectivity issues during the experience of online classes.

Her mother, Maile Rose, explained.

"Iandrea had tonsillitis and was hospitalised for the last two terms in grade three. Her tonsil was enlarged and she had to be on oxygen support."

Rose recalled that even in sickness, her daughter's interest in school did not decline, and she even formed study groups to ensure that she and her peers were all kept abreast with their lessons.

With online classes due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Iandrea's resolve was again tested in her later years of primary school, as she readied for PEP exams. She said that sometimes there was one phone in her household that was being used to provide hot spot for three devices.

"Sometimes we had to put it in the mango tree because the signal was not picking up. Sometimes we forgot that it was outside and the rain fell," she added.

These issues frustrated Iandrea but still, she was determined to rise above all odds. Rose said this does not come as a surprise, as her daughter was naturally a bright child who showed excellence from very early.

"I can remember the first time she went to basic school, and about a week later, I went to pick her up and the teacher asked me if she attended school before and I asked why. She said it was because she didn't act like a child who was just attending school for the first time," the proud mother recalled.

During PEP preparations, Iandrea went the extra mile, noting that, "I studied day and night with my teacher, and I made sure that if I didn't understand something, I would ask about it so I could get the full understanding".

She said she is extremely happy with her results and her placement at an "excellent institution" that is close to her home. She has vowed to "study harder and make sure not to be distracted by anything or anyone" when she gets to high school.

She aspires to become a mathematician or a bank manager and enjoys the arts and playing football.

Described as a caring individual by her relatives and peers, Iandrea said she is grateful for a strong support system from both her parents.

"I wasn't born into a luxury life, so I didn't want them [my children] to come and struggle," Rose said. "So, I always instil in her that education is a priority; school is not an option".

Of the obstacles Iandrea has had to overcome, Rose noted that she teaches her child, simply, that: "Life is full of challenges and challenges are what make life meaningful."

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