Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Boy wonder Joel Barnett scores again

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Whiz-kid Joel Barnett at the Tip Friendly Society 2018 Scholarship Awards ceremony at The Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston on Friday. He scored 100 per cent in all five subject areas of the Grade Six Achievement Test.
Joel Barnett celebrates with aunt Dillette Hope-Webb (left) and mother Dawn Hope-Barrett.

Football is undeniably a team sport, but being an only child, whiz-kid Joel Ricdawno Barnett has found a way to enjoy the game, playing by himself. It's one of the few fun things the 11-year-old does when not reading, which is a full-time hobby and, not surprisingly, there is an academic slant.

He explained: "So there is a goal behind me and a wall in front of me, and I use the laws of physics, where I kick the ball at an angle to see if it will go into the goal when it goes past me."

Our news team caught up with Joel last Friday during the Tip Friendly Society 2018 Scholarship Awards Ceremony at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston where he was the only successful Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scholarship winner with a perfect record - scoring 100 per cent in mathematics, English, social studies, science and communication task.

Joel, who heads to Campion College in

St Andrew next month, also copped a Government Scholarship for his efforts and admitted that the impressive results caught him off guard.

He said: "I knew I worked hard, but I was a little nervous, so I was surprised when I saw that I got it."

His mother, Dawn Hope-Barnett, however, was not.

"It wasn't really a surprise because Joel has scored 100 in numeracy and literacy tests in grade four," said Barnett, who teaches grade six at Mannings Hill Primary School.




"I have a photographic memory, so I remember stuff that I studied, so I don't really have to revise them again, so that kinda helps me in studying for the examinations," Joel said in explaining his success, "like some mathematics tricks to find the areas of polygons and stuff like that."

An avid reader, Joel has the benefit of a library at home that is fully utilised.

"To punish Joel is to not to buy him a book each day," Hope-Barnett said, offering insight into the extent of her son's love affair with learning.

The bespectacled boy, who wears prescription lenses to correct nearsightedness, already has his sights set on a career in medicine.

"I want to be a doctor, an ophthalmologist, to research remedies to correct nearsightedness," he told The Gleaner.

Describing reading as the "biggest" thing he does, Joel disclosed that his fixation with books is broken only by "a little bit of play" and studying, a matter that causes his mother some concern.

She admitted: "Sometimes I am a bit worried because of his eye condition. He reads widely, so sometimes I will say to him, 'Come on, you've read this book several times over. Put it down.' But most times, when he's not reading, he's drawing or playing football by himself.

For Joel, who responded on behalf of the other GSAT scholarship winners, the TIP Friendly Society 2018 Scholarship Awards Ceremony was definitely a big deal.

"I felt proud, really proud of myself and honoured that they decided to award me," he told The Gleaner afterwards.

With his maternal aunt, Dillette Hope-Webb, in attendance, it was truly a happy family occasion, marred only by the absence of Joel's father, Eric Alexander Barnett, who died when the boy genius was only a year and six months old.