Sat | Apr 20, 2019

Westwood head girl, youth parliamentarian cops eight ones

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Sandrene McKenzie

The consistency of her academic performances over the years had suggested nothing but eight grade ones in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations for Westwood High School standout, Sandrene McKenzie.

And though she produced just that, the well-rounded 17-year-old had to dig deep in her fifth-form homestretch, as she adjusted to the new realities of boarding, a necessary requirement following her December appointment as head girl.

"I was nervous and concerned because I was used to the comfort of my own space," revealed McKenzie, who achieved success in physics, chemistry, biology, French, Spanish, mathematics, English language and English literature.

With the exception of a single 'B' in her chemistry profile, McKenzie scored all As.

"I had a particular way of studying at home where I had my whiteboard in my room and I could easily access YouTube or past papers at any hour for further practice. So this was a very new environment for me and to add to it, I got back some grades during the first term of boarding (New Year to Easter), which really had me questioning myself.

"So, my emotions were really all over the place and I had to pull it together, because it started to show and I could not afford to drop the ball as it relates to my grades or fulfilling my duties as head girl," she explained.




While greatly lifted by the support shown to her by her parents, loved ones, guidance counsellor and others, McKenzie contends that she could not have pulled off the balancing act without God at the forefront.

"For me, nothing beats prayer and as our school motto says, 'Ora et Labore (By Prayer and by Work), so God was at the centre of everything. I knew what I was about and I knew the task at hand, and so I wrote down all my goals and used it as an accountability mechanism to hold myself to those goals in a timely and efficient way, both as head girl and a high-achieving student," she reasoned.

The outspoken teen, who aspires to be a medical doctor, has now fixed her sights on a space in Ardenne High's sixth-form programme and is already relishing the challenge of relocating and striving in Kingston.

The serving North West St Ann youth parliamentarian and the recently appointed national public relations officer for the National Secondary Students' Council, McKenzie has won the admiration of many public figures.

Among them is state minister in charge of youth, Floyd Green, who is not the least bit surprised by McKenzie's accomplishments and has tipped her to continue down a path of excellence.

"She is an excellent profile in how one can work academically while still ensuring that they remain involved in service, and I think that is what I like about her the most - she balances academics with service and excels at both of them. So, I am expecting greater things from her and I know she will shine anywhere she goes," he intimated.