A star rises in Fletcher's Land
Girl from tough downtown Kingston community tops Jamaica in CSEC maths
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Abigail Tiffany Cameron is not your typical 17-year-old. Her favourite pastime is not hanging out with friends, watching TV, or partying. Living in her books is her true passion, and already, this is yielding tremendous rewards.
The Campion College student scored distinctions in all nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects she sat earlier this year and placed first in Jamaica and second in the Caribbean in mathematics.
"It feels good, … but I never expected any less," said Abigail, who also finds time to participate in volleyball, culture connection and the Leo Club at school.
"I work hard and I don't really find school that stressful because I try to manage my time. I just really understood what I was doing really well."
Her grandmother, Orlene Fowler, is also not surprised by Abigail's latest achievement as she has seen the determination from she was attending Jessie Ripoll Primary School.
"She is a quiet person, good-behaving, and she is always studying. She is always indoors. As she comes from school, that's what she does. She just studies because she knows what she wants," said Fowler.
"You hardly get her out the house, so most persons don't even know her, and she has been like this from she was going primary school," added Fowler.
Though born and raised in the gritty Fletcher's Land community in west Kingston, Abigail has not bowed to the sometimes-violent incidents and the stigma some associate with the area which gave Jamaica the once-feared 'Land Raiders Gang'.
"It (living in Fletcher's Land) hasn't really been that difficult for me. I don't really know why. I guess it's just a genetic thing. I don't know, but it has never really affected me that much or occurred to me to do something else or go on the road and all those stuff. I rather just stay inside and do what I'm supposed to do. I like reading and I have a lot of books, so I just read a book."
NEVER FELT INTIMIDATED
Hailing from west Kingston, the soft-spoken Abigail could have been forgiven for feeling intimidated by the numerous affluent persons she found herself surrounded by when she left Jessie Ripoll for Campion College, but that has not been the case.
"I never felt intimidated … . It has just been like a normal school for me," said Abigail.
"I have never really felt like I am poverty-stricken, because my parents try to make sure that I have everything I need," added Abigail, as pointed out the she is firstly motivated by herself and inspired by other students at her school.
"I know that my friends are very smart and they are good at what they do. One of my friends placed in five of her subjects and she really motivates me a lot. I don't want to be lagging, and she is excelling ahead of me; I feel if she can do it, then I can do it," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I don't like when I'm going to school and I don't understand something. I don't like when I go back to school the next day and everybody is answering questions and I don't understand what the teacher is talking about."
Abigail, who is currently in lower sixth form where she is preparing to sit CAPE Unit One in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and communication studies next March, is working towards a scholarship to attend her first choice - the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom - or the equally prestigious Cambridge University, or the University of the West Indies, where she wants to study actuarial science or medicine.
"I do classes at school and then I do extra lessons and I do SAT classes as well, and I know that my father finds it hard sometimes to pay for all those stuff, so I don't want him to spend all that money on me and then me not making full use of that opportunity; it would be kind of selfish," said Abigail.
But for her father, Andrew Cameron, any money spent on this rising star is money well spent.
"To see her hold up her head and achieve what she has achieved so far, I feel really proud," said the 44-year-old dad.