Brilliant St James teen eyes med schoolFriday, November 19, 2021
BY HORACE MILLS
FLOWER HILL, St James — A stickler for good education up to 2017 when he died, Oscar Rhoden would have been proud of the academic feats of his son Adrian.
The youngster left Cornwall College in St James this year with grade one — the best achievable grade — in 22 of the 24 subjects he attained from the Caribbean Examination Council.
Of those subjects, 13 are Caribbean Secondary Education Certificates and 11 are in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination.
Feats in academics and leadership are not uncommon for Adrian, a native of Flower Hill in St James who will turn 20 in December.
While at New Concept Kindergarten and at Chetwood Memorial Primary School, he distinguished himself and graduated as valedictorian. He did not drop the proverbial ball when he enrolled at Cornwall College and became salutatorian in fifth form in 2019.
While packing punches in academics, Adrian was making quite a name for himself in leadership. He served as a prefect and students' council rep at Cornwall College, and as head boy at Chetwood Memorial Primary.
“I have genuinely impressed myself,” he told the Jamaica Observer, adding that he is now in the United States pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology at Alabama A&M University.
He's on a four-year scholarship, which covers full tuition, boarding, insurance, and 21 meals per week. He also gets US$1,000 to spend at the university's bookstore.
The scholarship, in fact, was what pulled Adrian from Jamaica.
“Despite our outstanding performance, scholars like myself often struggle to find the financial backing to pursue tertiary education,” said Adrian, an aspiring medical doctor.
He was offered a place at the illustrious Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), here in Jamaica.
However, he turned down the offer because he could not afford the tuition, he said. According to the UWI's website, students pursuing a bachelor's in medical science are required to pay an annual tuition of US$28,000 that is equivalent to just over $4.3 million.
Despite veering to study biology now due to financial constraints, Adrian hopes to eventually pursue medical science.
He is not yet sure how he will fund that degree, but he continues to bank on high academic performance.
He noted that his SAT score, which is used for college admissions in the United States, was a whopping 1500 out of 1600. It is noteworthy that the SAT score range is from 400-1600.
Adrian's mother, Claudia Jarrett, is convinced her son will remain in good stead academically, his unblemished track record considered.
“I know he is going to do well as he started off fairly well [at Alabama A&M University],” she told the Observer. “His mid-term report is exceptionally straight A's and I know, without a doubt, he will continue on that path. He is determined, focused and knows what he wants out of life.”
The mother, like son, expressed gratitude to those who have helped Adrian over the years, especially since his father's death.
“It was difficult. His dad was there behind him 100 per cent. He believed in education and so everything that has to do with school and competitions, he gave his support, funding, encouragement and so forth,” she said.
She added: “It wasn't smooth sailing after the death of my son's father, but, from time to time, family members would jump in and give a helping hand and Cornwall College Old Boys' Association assisted financially. Apart from that, my son is a very disciplined young man; I never had to hit him once. We only argue when it comes to him not studying. Sometimes I question myself if I'm really deserving of such a child, but God placed him in my life for a special reason.”