'Willing' Ashley overcomes challenges to solve GSAT
"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life," isn't an expression often voiced by children at the primary school level, but for 13-year-old Ashley Keymist, it has become a mantra.
A grade six student of Vaz Preparatory School, Keymist was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) in grade two while she was at Alpha Primary School.
Though she transitioned to grade three, the concentration difficulties brought on by ADD hampered Keymist academically and she was placed at the Creative Centre for Learning Strategies (CCLS) at Vaz for a year and a half before being integrated at the grade two level there.
Yesterday, Keymist learned that her results in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) earned her a place at the Mico Practising Primary and Junior High School.
"My mother encourages me. She always told me that I could do it," the bubbly student told The Gleaner news team at her Kingston-based school upon hearing of her GSAT passes.
"I love my mother. She is my everything in one - pastor, teacher, doctor - and I want to buy her a mansion and take care of her when she gets older."
As a result of her age, Ashley had to skip grade five to sit the GSAT examination.
"I studied sleepless nights and just motivated myself. I can't focus for too long and I have trouble in math, but I never gave up. I'm a God-fearing person, so I pray every morning and I thank God for waking me up," stated Keymist, a pathologist hopeful with dreams of owning a funeral home.
Her mother, Mariah Jones, recounted her advice to her daughter to focus on self rather than others.
"I want to hug and congratulate her so bad. I always told her to remember where she wants to reach in life, and though it may take a little longer or a different route, she will get there still. She's a very knowledgeable child. She always knows what's happening in the news, politics and so on, and will talk to you about it," she told The Gleaner via phone.
Vaz has one of the best supporting systems, from the principal straight down, and I just want to encourage parents also to support their children who may have similar challenges."
Vaz principal Karlene Bisnott expressed optimism that Keymist would hurdle yet another challenge when she starts Mico Practising in September.
"She's a willing child and I'm so proud. She will do big things," said Bisnott.