Tue | Jul 14, 2020

CXC Standout: Latonya Clayton aiming to move family out of inner-city community

Published:Thursday | August 22, 2019 | 12:37 PM
St Andrew High School for Girls student, Latanya Clayton - Kenyon Hemans photo.

Danae Hyman, Online Reporter

Aiming to set her family on a different path, Latonya Clayton says that her motivation for achieving lifelong academic success is to get her family out of their inner-city community of Olympic Gardens.

The 18-year-old's success started as far back as her being valedictorian in basic school and continued with her being the top female student in the 2013 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and her gaining nine straight-A profiles in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination in 2018. Her success has continued with her now gaining all straight-A profiles in five Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subjects.

"I always think about what it is I want to achieve. At the end of the day, I know it will be very hard for my mommy for me to go to university if I don't get some form of scholarship, and that was the same mindset I had when I was doing GSAT, so that's the frame of mind I have," Latonya told The Gleaner.

The St Andrew High School for Girls standout received a full scholarship from the Scotiabank Foundation's Shining Star Excellence Top Girl Scholarship Fund in 2013.

Additionally, Latonya broke barriers in 2018 for being first in the island and second in the Caribbean in the religious education CSEC examination. The young scholar was also fourth in the island in CSEC mathematics.

Latonya attributes her success to her drive to make her family proud and her photographic memory.

Photographic memory is the ability to remember information or visual images in great detail after only seeing them once.

"I have photographic memory, so that makes it a lot easier, plus I just really decided that I don't want my future family to grow up in a community that I grew up in. I said that I want to use all my family's hard work to ensure they are seeing the end result of all this money they are putting into my education, and I decided that the best way to show them that I appreciate all they are doing for me is to make the most of the situation," Latonya said.

She recounted that since primary school, she has been awarded the first-place prize for each grade.

Latonya is now looking forward to stepping into her new position as head girl come September.

"I am encouraging students, regardless of where you are right now, that you should always be working towards something because it makes no sense for you to be working and you don't know where you are trying to get to because then, you lose focus easily," Latonya said.

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