On his path to success
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
It was a dream come true for 12-year-old Makaio McCarthy when he went to school on the morning of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results to hear it announced that he had passed for Campion College in St Andrew.
"I was lost for words. I was so elated; I didn't know what to do. I just sat there and smiled," Makaio shared with The Gleaner.
"I always wanted to go to Campion. I like their academic programme and I have always wanted to play football for the school."
When he looked at the paper and saw the scores, it just took his breath away: mathematics - 100 per cent; social studies - 97 per cent; science - 97 per cent; language arts - 99 per cent; and communication task - 12/12.
However, his teachers at the Iris Gelly Primary School in Arnett Gardens were not the least bit surprised as the reserved young man was always a top performer, excelling at whatever he did.
Born and raised in south St Andrew, Makaio, who now resides in Arnett Gardens, has always been focused and driven to excel against the odds.
The 'baby' of three boys for Rainford and Lorna McCarthy, Makaio was often a sickly child, suffering from asthma and severe allergies, sometimes preventing him from going to school. But he was never daunted. He went on to succeed greatly in academics and football, joining the Lyndhurst scout troop and becoming the captain of his school's Junior Schools' Challenge Quiz team.
His dream was always to break out of the poverty of the inner city to become one of the world's leading paediatric neurosurgeons.
"I see too many children developing problems in their head and I think I can help them, so I want to become a paediatric neurosurgeon for that reason," he stated.
Each step towards that goal has always presented its own challenges for the young man, but it has never been in him to give up. During preparations for the GSAT, Makaio's father suffered a stroke, which forced him to stop working, while his mother, who was unemployed, struggled to make ends meet by doing the occasional dressmaking and a little vending from home.
The McCarthys got a lot of help from family, friends, and the church they attend, Praise City Deliverance Centre, in their community, to get them through the difficulties. But even with days of having no lunch money and severe asthma attacks, Makaio still attended school, never one to complain or feel defeated.
"I always try to focus on my goal, which is to be the best that I can be," stated the young man.
Noted dad: "I never doubted Makaio would get excellent results. He always worked hard and was always a high achiever. With God, all things are possible."
Added mom: "My boy was always one who believed in himself. From a child, he was always positive, so I have always expected the best from him."