Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Diamond in the rough - Tivoli Gardens student rising to the top

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Jahnoy St Jacques, student at Jamaica College.

His life has been plagued by a number of setbacks, including sitting the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) from a hospital bed last year, recuperating from surgery.

Jahnoy St Jacques, 19-year-old resident of Tivoli Gardens, is determined to rise above the hurdles and fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor. In an interview with The Gleaner, he disclosed that he has had to overcome a number of traumatic events but was never one to be daunted by his circumstances.

"I am a diamond in the rough. I grew up in Tivoli Gardens my entire life to a single mother, as my dad died before I was born," St Jacques recounted. "I was raised in a house with 11 other family members. I witnessed the deaths of relatives and I struggled in school because of learning difficulties. Financially, there were struggles with getting the necessary materials and textbooks that are needed," he disclosed.

"I took comfort and solace in books. Slowly, but surely, I realised that the only avenue for success and change that was available to me would have been my education and so I kept my head up. Today, I can proudly say that I have 10 grade ones at the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) level and five ones [at the] CAPE level," he continued.




St Jacques has not only focused on the academics but is using his expertise to teach mathematics and English at the CSEC level in his community and also is currently in the process of becoming a member of the Peace Management Initiative.

The Jamaica College student revealed, however, that he has been granted provisional acceptance to study medicine at the University of the West Indies but indicated that he is not able to afford the US$28,000 per year that is required.

"Throughout my entire education I have been receiving scholarships; that's the only way I could have afforded to go to school. I have been a recipient of the R. Danny Williams scholarships for three years now. However, as I seek to pursue medicine, I won't be able to afford the U$S28,000 per year for my school fee," St Jacques said. "I really want to fulfil my dream, though."