From illiteracy to dreams of collegeWednesday, December 01, 2021
BY AKERA DAVIS
MAY PEN, Clarendon — Illiterate until he learned to read from the Bible at age 16, Jervis Johnson is now almost one year into his job as an electrical technician. His next goal — enrolling in college in 2022.
The 22-year-old is still amazed at how far he has come.
In 2016, determined to make a difference, Johnson enrolled into the Achievers Multi Resource Centre in May Pen where he was taught to read from the holy book. A year later he had passes in eight Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects — all with the highest or second highest grade possible — along with an Associate Degree in Electrical Maintenance from the HEART/NSTA Trust. The degree helped him land his current job at Power Grid Electrical Company in May Pen in in February of 2021.
“When I sent in my application it was so good Mr Sheldon Gordon, who is the boss, call me up and say he was impressed. Now I am working and I am happy that I decided… not to give up on myself because it changed my life,” Johnson told the Jamaica Observer.
His work as an electrical technician draws heavily on his expertise in installing and fixing water heaters and air conditioning units. Passionate about his job, Johnson says his aim is to deepen his knowledge of the field by enrolling at the University of Technology (UTech) next year.
“I am in love with what I am doing now so I want to go to UTech to get my bachelor's in renewable energy and further do engineering,” he said.
Thereafter, he hopes to start a business of his own. He wants to employ aspiring youngsters and help children who are struggling, or simply having a tough life, to attend school. Johnson, who is from humble beginnings in New Providence, Clarendon, revealed that he is invested in helping children in need as he can relate quite well to their struggles.
“I grew up poor and I never used to go to school as I should, because my parents couldn't find the money. This is one of the reasons I couldn't even read, because I didn't get the right education; but me never give up,” he said. “So if I can give someone the opportunity to change their life I won't give up on them.”
He remembers that while attending Achievers Multi Resource Centre the vice-principal at the time, whom he only knows as Miss Ebanks, was patient with him. The experience has shaped his life and inspired his mantra, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.
“This teacher was so kind and willing to help me. She worked with me every day and taught me as if I was her own child. That is why I have to do the same for others,” said Johnson.
He has already started to impact lives but the dream is to do so on a wider scale.
“Right now I even try help kids around me, from time to time, with a little money and tell them that education is the key. I want them to understand that they can also be successful, especially the ones that don't have anyone to motivate them,” he said. “I don't reach the point where I can help them in a [big] way and like send them to school but I try my best. My boss is [making] a big contribution because he also help me to help others, which I'm grateful for.”