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Jubilation in Clarendon as Max Leiba declared top GSAT boy

Published:Wednesday | July 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Max O'neil Leiba

Latoya Bennett, principal of Foundation Preparatory School in May Pen, Clarendon, was not surprised when The Gleaner called her about her top-performing student, Max Leiba, who had a perfect score in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). Max moves on to Glenmuir High School.

She said she had pretty much assumed he would be, although she couldn't tell for sure.

"I expected it because he is always a person who delivers perfect scores. His profile is a perfect score, and if he should slip, it would be a rarity. He is committed; he ensures that he communicates with his teachers, Munroe Gordon and Lilith Bennett," she said.

Bennett said at the start of his grade six year, she told him that she expected him to receive a government scholarship and he promised her that he would.

"It's left to be seen with that part of it, but I have no doubt it will be a reality," are the confident words coming from Bennett.

A child of few words, Max had to be prodded to share his emotions, as he simply told The Gleaner, "It makes me happy. It makes me feel that hard work pays off, and I would like to thank my teachers."

With a laugh, Bennett said, "He doesn't talk much, but you get results!"


'... I am the type of parent who is fully involved'


Where young Max Leiba fell short in excitement about being named the top-performing boy in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), his mother Michelle Leiba more than made up for it, as there was no denying the utter thrill in her voice on her son's accomplishment.

"I am elated! I am in shock. I am ecstatic! Can you imagine, top boy/student? For Jamaica? This is something completely different," she shared amid joyous laughter.

Max topped for his Foundation Preparatory School in May Pen, Clarendon.

Elaborating on her son's success, she said he is the type of student who always wants to win.

"At the same time, he is not someone who is gonna go and rub it in your face; he is just calm and composed," she said.

As a parent, Michelle said her son's accomplishment makes her feel really good to know that the hard work they put in paid off.

"I am the type of parent who not only tells him to do his work, but I am there. I am fully involved. If you ask me any question on GSAT, I can answer!" she said, sharing that each evening she sits with him for about three hours working and putting in revision.

"We do not wait until last minute to do things. It's the norm in this household to do a little work every single evening, except Fridays and Sundays. And we always remember that whatever we do, God has to be in the mix," she said.

Asked what celebration mode will be like when he gets home, she said that Max received what he had always wanted - a laptop in May - before the official GSAT results came out, as she knew he would have done well.