FLOW-Gleaner Achievers determined to excel
The moving story of how Shelica Robinson excelled in the recent Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) after losing her brother close to the time of her examinations resulted in The Gleaner selecting her to receive a cheque valued at $30,000 courtesy of telecommunications company FLOW.
The former Yallahs Primary School student was among five students who all overcame challenges to gain high averages in their examinations.
The students received cheques valued at $30,000 each.
Two teachers were also recognised for going the extra mile to assist students from tough communities. They each received $20,000 and a tablet.
Shelica, who spoke with The Gleaner following the presentation at the company's North Street, Kingston offices on Saturday, indicated that she has no time to waste.
"My hope is to do CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) math and English from as early as grade nine. That's a challenge I am going to give to myself," she declared.
"It's been a rocky road, but I am determined to do my best. I started Morant Bay High (St Thomas) on Monday and I am looking forward to what the future has for me. I am grateful for this contribution. It has helped to ease some of the financial burden and I will be able to purchase my books and other school equipment," she said.
GRATEFUL FOR DONATION
Shelica's mother, Carmen Johnson, could hardly contain her emotions as she expressed gratitude for the donation.
"Oh, God!" she exclaimed.
"Mi neva want it; mi did need it. Whole heap a pressure it (the contribution) take off me. I really want to thank The Gleaner and FLOW for this donation," she continued.
Similarly, Jahiem Grant, who lost both his parents to violence within a 10-hour period back in 2009, was also presented with his cheque after gaining a 94.7 per cent average in the GSAT.
He, too, decided that he will be resilient in his efforts to produce nothing but excellent results.
"I'm feeling happy and overwhelmed for this recognition. Having started school on Monday, I already feel the need to push hard. My plan is to do my best and make my family proud," he said.
The other students who received cheques were Othneil Smith, Jolyn Edwards, and Giovani Blake.
For Audrey Lewis, one of the teachers recognised for her outstanding teaching skills, her plan is to further enhance the development of her students.
"I am glad I was chosen. I needed so many additional resources for my class and I am sure that this will help. The GSAT flash cards and games will be critical and, most important, it was always on my agenda to purchase a printer for my class. I am really grateful," she declared.
"It's not easy because every batch is different, and so you have to be very strategic. Some of them are from low socio-economic backgrounds as well, and so I know the struggle, and the dependence that parents have on you, to ensure that their children succeed. However, I have never done anything but my best," she said.
The other teacher recognised was Keisha Hayles of Padmore Primary School.
Garfene Grandison, public relations and sponsorship executive at FLOW, noted that education is a priority for the telecommunications company.
"Education is one of our core corporate social responsibilities. We couldn't think of a better way to give back to these students, who, despite their circumstances, rose above the challenges and did an incredible job. We wish them all the best going forward," he said.