10-y-o entrepreneur aces PEPFriday, July 30, 2021
BY HORACE MILLS
LLANDILO, Westmoreland — At 10 years old Jameilia Wright has already had one failed business venture but, more importantly, she used the lessons learned from that experience to make her chicken rearing business a success. From her earnings, she will help her parents pay the fees for her dream school, Hampton in St Elizabeth.
She earned a spot at the institution after getting perfect grades in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams used to place students in secondary schools across the country.
Jameilia, a recent graduate of Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School in Westmoreland, scored 100 per cent in the PEP Ability Test, and was deemed 'highly proficient' in language arts and mathematics. She also mastered the literacy and numeracy components of PEP.
With a record of academic excellence stretching back to infant school, Jameilia, for years, held steadfastly to her conviction that she was Hampton-bound.
Her biggest fear was that the fees would be too onerous for her separated parents Val Marie Jackson and Jasil Wright. So she devised a plan to raise funds.
“I know that my mom and my dad are not financially capable, and so I went looking for different ways to accumulate more money by using what I had,” she explained.
Each time, she opted to invest the US$100 she received after topping grades three and four.
Using the expertise of a granduncle in Clarendon, Jameilia put the funds into egg production. However, that business struggled to stay afloat and so the budding entrepreneur was forced back to the drawing board.
When she later topped grade five and got another US$100, she tweaked her business plan. Her mother helped.
Jameilia started raising chickens for their meat instead of eggs.
She also relocated the business to her home in Westmoreland instead of having it in Clarendon, outside her direct control.
“My mom had an unfinished chicken nursery [at home in Westmoreland]. I told her I wanted to put some chickens in it so I could help myself go to Hampton School. And here I am now, from 100 to 200 chickens,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
Jameilia, who also has a passion for baking, also branched out into making puddings for sale but that aspect of the business was halted due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Her mother is impressed with her performance in and out of the classroom.“I am elated... I could see it in Jameilia that she is an achiever. She did not let the challenges that she had in life deter her. She would always go forward and press on to do her best,” said Jackson. She is confident her daughter will do well at Hampton, if only she gets help in covering school-related expenses.
“Jameilia is a student who loves competition. Where there is competition, it is going to help her to achieve even more,” she said.
Grade six teacher at Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School, Felicia Salmon, is also impressed with Jameilia. The young girl, she said, has been exceeding expectations so far.
She had been hesitant about Jameilia sitting PEP this year as she is only 10 years old. But the child went on to score perfect grades in all components of the national assessment.
And while she is impressed with her former student's academic performance, it is Jameilia's shrewdness in business that stands out most for the educator.
“She received US$100, as a token, for being top girl in grade five and she decided to invest that money in some chickens. She said the profit would turn over from the chickens and she would keep investing it in a small chicken business,” the teacher said. “When I heard that coming from a 10-year-old [who was doing that] because she really wanted to go to Hampton, I had to play my part in helping her.”
Jameilia, who intends to become a nurse, advised other children to think big and work towards achieving their goals. “If you have a dream, go for it. If you have lime, use it to make lemonade,” she said.