DARIAN Tomlinson is on a quest to complete high school and then embark on tertiary education.
As far as the 16-year-old is concerned, that is the only way he can fulfill his plan to get his family out of volatile community, Parade Gardens.
“It’s my dream to be the first in my family to go to university and to bring my family out of the ghetto. I have a lot of family, so I have to care for them. To see them struggling like this now, it just pains my heart. My mother said she’s been in this community all her life, and in my household there are five of us and I am the second-youngest,” the grade nine Calabar High School student revealed through a Jamaica Observer/Rise Life Management partnership in Parade Gardens in central Kingston recently.
“On my father’s side, my brother went to St George’s College but he didn’t go to sixth form. I want to finish and go to sixth form because I want to further my education. High school is not where it stops for me. You have to go further, especially the sciences like biology, chemistry and physics. I want to become a soldier, engineer and entrepreneur, so that requires a lot more studying,” Tomlinson reasoned.
The youngster has started making plans already — one of which was joining the Hanover Street Baptist Independent Cadet programme through the Hanover Street Baptist Church, as he believes this will equip him with the necessary traits to realise his dream of becoming a soldier.
“I do something to help me pursue my career of being a soldier. I do cadet — and that’s very fundamental to my brain because I learned a lot of things. It made me have a strong suite for geography, mathematics and physics. Now, I like those subjects and I never used to like maths at all. I am a part of the church and it is a church initiative,” he told the Sunday Observer.
“I don’t know which university I want to go. Now, I am trying to focus on end-of-year exams so when I go to grade 10 I can do SBAs to do CXC in grade 11.”
Tomlinson, deputy form captain at Calabar, said he is not interested in the easy or trendy way out.
“Why would I be a ‘chopper’ and earn money and go buy Mark X when I can be an entrepreneur and earn honestly and buy a suitable car that matches what I want,” the boy questioned.
He pointed to a role model he met through his cadet programme; someone who he said makes life for an inner-city youth a lot more manageable.
“Damain Grey is the big man… he teaches me cadet. He is my commanding officer. He lives down the lane that I live on. He is a very good person overall; he is like a father figure for me. When I tell him that I am in problems, he comes and helps me to solve them. When I ask him to help me with my homework, he helps me and all of those things. I feel glad that he is around and I am glad that I joined the cadet unit that he is in,” Tomlinson told the Sunday Observer.
Considering the impact Grey has on him, Tomlinson said he has seen the importance of being a guiding light for those younger than him, and is working towards that.
“It is definitely important, and I already see people looking up to me. There are a lot of changes in the community. When I was younger there was a lot of playful stuff… I could go to the beach without worrying. Now, I have to be worrying, seeing if my peers are alright. When I come to play football I have to watch out. Seeing them look up to me is a good thing to me,” he said.
“I have a nephew that goes to St Aloysius Primary and I want to big him up because he is on the School’s Challenge Quiz team and he is doing really well. Their team came third in one of the practice competitions,” Tomlinson said.