Dennis Reid's balancing act
Townhead Primary School Head Boy Dennis Reid hard at work at his desk. (Photo: Rosalee Wood Condell)

FROME, Westmoreland — At two years old Dennis Reid could already read, so his mother Rosetta Dujohn Reid asked Townhead Primary and Infant School if she could enrol him.

The school agreed and off the diaper-wearing tot went, thrilled to be in the classroom. Over the years he has consistently placed in the top three, excelled in extra-curricular activities and shown leadership skills well beyond his years. He's now head boy at Townhead Primary.

"When I was younger I told myself I wanted to be the head boy or deputy head boy at school," said the now 12-year-old. "So I'm not surprised I actually became the head boy. When I go to high school I also want to be the head boy there."

He likes the responsibility that comes with the title, he said.

Dennis Reid and his very supportive mother, Rosetta Dujohn Reid (Photo: Rosalee Wood Condell)

Dennis has done a masterful job of balancing all that he has on his plate.

He is the current junior councillor for the Friendship Division, a role in which he often uses his public speaking skills. Those skills have also helped him rack up numerous awards in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Performing Arts Speech Competition at the parish and national levels. He has been recognised for individual and group performances in this his very first year participating in the competition, proof of his public speaking prowess. He was awarded the trophy for the Best Class 3 Dub Poetry at the national level along with a few group awards.

"I felt very proud of myself because it was my first time and I did so well," Reid told the Jamaica Observer. "I wasn't really nervous because I just went there to just do my thing to the best of my ability. My mother is very supportive as well. She would give me advice, saying that I shouldn't be intimidated when I see other performers, and she would help me when I am practising at home, as I practise in front of her."

It may have helped that Reid is no stranger to the stage. He is known in his community for being an active member of Townhead Baptist Church. Since he was five years old he has been an ever-present name on church rally programmes in Westmoreland, Hanover and other parishes. He has given countless outstanding singing performances, a talent he said he got from his mother, who also sings in church.

Dennis Reid helps a classmate with schoolwork. (Photo: Rosalee Wood Condell)

He thrives on being in the spotlight and the very ambitious youngster hopes to matriculate to Manning's School in September, where he wants to be a part of their award-winning Performing Arts Club.

For Reid, extra-curricular activities are just as important as academics. He believes they complement each other.

"If a child only goes to school, or sit on their phone the whole day, with no sort of exercise or play, their mind won't really be as [developed]," he said.

His mother Rosetta explained that it takes a lot of sacrifice from parents to ensure that their children excel.

Dennis Reid shows off his 2023 Performing Arts Awards. (Photo: Rosalee Wood Condell)

"It cannot be left to the teacher alone," she stressed. "[Parents] have to spend time with the children as well. I try to encourage younger mothers. I would show them and tell them this is what you need to do. At the end of the day, you're going to be a proud parent."

She said she had to encourage her child a lot, but she has always known there is no limit to what he can accomplish.

"He has always been a special child," said the proud mother, a point on which his grade three teacher agreed, she said. "In the end hard work pays off. So it's what you're putting in, that is what you're going to get. And don't limit yourself…There is no limitation to success," she urged other children.

Reid has completely embraced that approach because he has seen it work for him.

"No matter what obstacles you may face, or whatever challenge and you feel like you just want to give up, just keep going, eventually you'll get what you want," he urged his peers.


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