From the market in Christiana to the halls of Oxford - Chevano Baker is Jamaica's 2019 Rhodes Scholar
Born to a poor family in Manchester, from as young as three years old, the crack of dawn on Saturdays always found Chevano Baker journeying to Christiana Market with his parents to sell dry goods to secure money for school.
It is this colourful 15-year experience that would mould his character into one of remarkable resilience, fuel his drive to excel in academia, leadership and community service, and yesterday, earned him the title of Jamaica's 2019 Rhodes Scholar.
A past student of the Manchester High School, the 23-year-old, who holds a Master of Science in Financial Economics from the University of Birmingham, is now bound for the University of Oxford, where he will pursue a PhD. in management studies for financial economics.
Shortly after being named Rhodes Scholar by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Baker saluted the merits of the other seven shortlisted candidates and praised his parents for placing great value on his education, an attribute he credits as the catalyst for his success.
"Even though they were poor, they understood the significance and value of education. My mother would never miss a parent-teacher meeting. She would go out of her way and even borrow money just to be at parent-teacher meeting from primary school," he told The Gleaner.
"She is the type of mother you want. She pushes you to be your best self because of the sacrifices she makes. So I am really grateful for them, knowing that they paved the foundation for something greater."
FELT AT PEACE
Stating that he "felt at peace" having now earned the prestigious scholarship, Baker said that his purpose is to contribute to the socio-economic and human capital development of Jamaica and the world at large.
"Using my skills in financial research and my love for mentorship and people, I can impact people, I can change their lives, I can help them become their best selves," he contended.
Secretary of the Rhodes Scholar selection committee Peter Goldson, strengthened Baker's claims, stating: "The committee thought that he would be someone who would make an impact for the benefit of the country in the future to come."
Goldson, while praising all candidates, reasoned that one of Baker's major advantages was that he was able to articulate the concepts of his area of studies in a very plain and thoughtful way.
Baker, who also has a BSc. in Actuarial Science from the University of the West Indies (UWI), is currently employed as a financial economist in the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Jamaica.
He has previously earned the Jamaica National Foundation/University of Birmingham Legacy Scholarship and the UWI Open Scholarship.
Runner-up for the Jamaica Rhodes Scholarship Samuel Bailey was selected to compete for the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship in Barbados next week.