Tashana's Westwood dream close to a reality
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
For the better part of two weeks leading up to the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), Tashana Brown was ill and could not attend classes regularly at Clapham Primary School, situated a few miles east of Moneague in St Ann.
But being a bright student, she still managed to emerge with an average of 89 per cent. Her scores: language arts, 97; communication task, 92; mathematics, 89; social studies, 87, and science, 80. These scores landed her a place at Westwood High.
Tashana, who was the head girl at Clapham Primary, is a well-rounded student. She was 4-H Club president, coordinator of the environmental club, a Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Festival entrant, as well as a member of the choir, the cheerleading squad, and the netball team.
Despite her academic achievement and involvement, however, Tashana is a worried child. With just two weeks to go before the new school year begins, her mom, Sandra Nevins, is yet to buy a book or anything for school.
Worse, she also has to buy for Tashana's older sister, Sandreca Brown, who attends Ferncourt High, and her younger sister, Shantel Amos, who attends Clapham Primary.
Nevins, a single parent, is a caregiver and works sparingly.
Another issue is that Tashana will be required to board at the all-girls school.
Asked if her mother was having problems taking care of all three girls, she replied shyly, "Yes, sir."
So how will she manage to go to Westwood?
"I don't know," she mumbled.
Pressed, Tashana said her mother really needs help and doesn't know where it's coming from.
So what is she hoping for?
"I hope I go to school."
Is she hoping someone will help her mother?
If that happens, what will she do in return?
"I will do my best at school, sir."
Tashana wants to be a teacher. She thinks of no other career. She is the first student from Clapham Primary to be accepted at the prestigious Westwood High School in Trelawny. She really wants to go. It's her dream, she admitted.
Nevins said the back-to-school preparations haven't started.
"What I have, I have to share among the three of them. One is going Ferncourt, one to Westwood, and one at Clapham Primary. I really need the help," she said.
She was unaware that her daughter was recommended by Sharon Coombs, principal of Clapham Primary, for consideration as a LIME-Gleaner Achiever until The Gleaner contacted her last week.