Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Teen mom scores six ones

Published:Friday | September 25, 2020 | 12:14 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Otisa Wilmoth, former head girl of Green Pond High School in St James, has topped her graduating class with a stellar CSEC performance.
Otisa Wilmoth, former head girl of Green Pond High School in St James, has topped her graduating class with a stellar CSEC performance.

Otisa Wilmoth, head girl of the St James-based Green Pond High School last academic year, has emerged as the top performer at the institution in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Wilmoth, who loves competition, has been beaming with a new level of pride since she received her CSEC results on Tuesday.

She earned six grades ones in physics, biology, mathematics, English language, information technology, and human and social biology and a grade three in chemistry – one of 27 students at the school to secure 100 per cent passes.

“At first, I was disappointed that I got a three for chemistry because it is one of my favourite subjects, and then the excitement kicked in when I saw my six grade ones,” the 18-year-old told The Gleaner.

The road to success, however, was not easy.


Her secondary-school journey began at Irwin High School, also in St James, where uncertainty set in after she got pregnant in grade nine.

“I was shunned by most of my family, and they stopped supporting me financially,” she said.

The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) in Brandon Hill, Montego Bay, became her oasis during the pregnancy.

Since its inception in 1978, the WCJF has assisted more than 47,000 adolescent mothers across its main centres and outreach stations.

At the Women’s Centre, she sat the Grade Nine Achievement Test and was placed at Green Pond High, where she found her “new family”.

Wilmoth was worried that she would not manage the workload at school along with caring for her child but was determined to defy the odds as a teen mother.

“I worked hard, and I never gave up. I held the highest average in the school from grade nine to 11. I had many financial problems because I had a baby and I was going to school, but my teachers, the guidance counsellor, and principal helped me to attend school by providing bus fare and lunch for me,” said a grateful Wilmoth.

Principal Elisea Ellis-Spence told The Gleaner that Wilmoth’s results were not surprising as she had always shown great promise, topping the class annually and being named Student of the Year.

“She is disciplined and consistent. My only disappointment is that she has not secured a scholarship to support her further studies. She has surmounted a number of challenges that could have, understandably, caused her to give up,” shared Ellis-Spence.

The principal added that support from the board of management has helped students like Wilmoth to triumph.

“We provide students with a supportive family environment that embodies the culture of care, which produces successful stories for otherwise disadvantaged pupils,” she said.

“Any effort to assist Otisa with a tablet or laptop to continue her education would be appreciated,” the principal appealed.

Wilmoth, who plans to enrol in the school’s sixth-form programme, wants to become a cardiovascular surgeon.