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Junior Tucker gets new life with 'Free To Dream'

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

JUNIOR TUCKER has been 'to hell and back' in his life. Prior to the Free To Dream workshop, a programme which was funded by the European Union and powered by the Clarendon Chamber of Commerce, he confessed that he had just about given up on life.

He stayed in his room for days refusing food, having no desire to try anymore until somewhere from deep within, he prayed one last prayer.

"I told the Lord to give me just a window to climb through and I would try again," Tucker told The Gleaner.

The 24-year-old who lives in the Bucknor community of Clarendon said he never had the love of a mother or father.

He met his mother for the first time when he was 13 years old and his father at his grandmother's funeral two years ago.

"My grandmother was my everything. Although she was blind, you could not get around her. She was a disciplinarian. Growing up it was school, church, shop and back home," Tucker said.

Smiling, he told The Gleaner that although his grandmother is no longer around, he finds himself still adhering to his 7 p.m. curfew.

Tucker said he hit rock bottom when his grandmother died as he no longer had her to boost his confidence, encouraged him or just be the shoulder he wanted to lean on.

"Things started getting to me, I had no one to turn to, someone I thought I could confide in let me down, it was just rough all around and I just wondered if I should try anymore," he said.

Free To Dream lifeline

After uttering his desperate prayer, Tucker said the next day, Damion Young, workshop director for the Four Paths Youth Development Workshop: Free To Dream, sent someone to call him with the message he should get in touch with him.

"When he told me about the programme, I knew it was my lifeline," he said.

Tucker said he was fearful though, as he didn't have the resources to make it to class the required three times for the week.

At the time, he felt like he would give up, as going to class meant walking part of the journey to a closer point, then taking the bus - just so he could cut back on the fare.

Added to that, mathematics was frustrating him and one day he crushed up the paper with his poor marks, almost on the verge of quitting, when one of his classmates told him awards would be given to outstanding students.

"I felt challenged; I could see myself walking away with an award and from that point on, my attitude changed. I even asked one of my classmates who was strong in maths to tutor me. I gave it my all," he said.

All that paid off as during the closing exercise at the Versalles Hotel in May Pen, Tucker copped the award for Most Outstanding Maths Student - Male.