Young Ejay Riley beating the odds
12-y-old successful at GSAT despite stroke which left him bedriddenMonday, July 06, 2015
BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter email@example.com
EJAY Riley is being hailed as the boy, who managed to secure a passing grade in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) even before he answered the first question on the exam paper.
Teachers at Half Way Tree Primary School are heaping praises on the 12-year-old student, who -- despite being left in a vegetative state for more than six months following a stroke -- was able to overcome his challenges and not only successfully completed GSAT but is
now an inspiration for fellow students.
"Determined, hard-working and an individual with a 'never say die attitude', these are just some of the words that can be used to describe Ejay," Carol O'Connor-Clarke, principal at the school, told the Jamaica Observer during an interview last week.
Patricia Riley, mother of Ejay shared similar sentiments.
"To see where my son is coming from, to see where he is today I just have to give thanks. After several months unable to move to come from all of that to the point where through sheer heart and determination he was able to do the GSAT exams; that for me even before the results came out was a passing grade and to see he did well is more blessings," said the emotional mother.
Principal of the school said that Ejay, with a more than 70 per cent average was placed at Kingston Technical High School.
Parents, however, said they are holding discussions with school administrators to get him to an institution that have systems in place to accommodate his condition.
"I have started discussions with Jamaica College and Mona High School," the mother explained. She is also seeking a meeting with the Minister of Education to get some assistance in completing the process.
Riley explained that her son, who was born with severe sickle cell, was able to run around and play like any other child his age but all that changed in December 2013 when he suffered a stroke that left him bedridden.
"He could not even move a finger," said the mother, who explained that after months of praying and working with doctors things began to improve.
She said Ejay with his 'never say die' attitude also made the process easier.
"Despite his situation he never gave up. He was always willing to go the extra mile," she said.
Today, young Riley has to move around with a rollator walker, as he is still not able to stand on his own.
His mother says because of his current situation she has also had to quit her job and stay with him at all times.
"In the morning I take him to school, I have to ensure that I stay close to assist him to go to the bathroom at school.
The mother said that at one point when he was just recovering she had to travel with him to the classroom to take notes because he could not hold a pencil.
"He has really made a major improvement and is now able to move on his own to complete his work," said Riley.
And as he prepares to further his education, already one organisation, the Rotaract Club of New Kingston, has come forward to offer help to purchase some of the books for the upcoming school term.
"Members from the Rotaract Club of New Kingston got word about the plight of Riley and decided to provide some assistance to the young man whose hard work and determination continues to be an inspiration," said Terrence Smith, president of the organisation.
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