Icesafari Thompson gets a lifeline
Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
As one of the top GSAT students at the Effortville Primary School, Icesafari Thompson wasn't sure if he was going to be able to attend high school in September. He lives with his aged father and older siblings, none of whom are able to adequately support him in his quest for an education.
He is 11 years old and is the eighth of nine children for his parents. His mother, who was the sole breadwinner of the family, died three years ago, leaving he and his siblings with their father to care for them.
Thompson had to walk approximately one mile to school every morning, many times without breakfast or lunch money. His eldest sister and sole breadwinner of the family, Cornelia, said she admired his resilience and his drive to succeed. "He is very determined and eager to learn. The determination Icesafari has is enough to carry him through, nobody can stop him, only he can stop himself."
Amid all the struggles Thompson endured daily while attending school, he managed to rack up an 81.2 per cent average in the recent GSAT to pass for the school of his choice - Denbigh High. But, to date, he still has not received the school package because of poor finances.
Willing to learn
Struggling to make ends meet, Cornelia discovered on Monday that her brother had been recommended to the James and Friends Education Programme and was accepted. Otis James said Thompson's teacher saw the potential in him and knowing the financial situation at home, she recommended him so he could have a chance at pursuing his education and further training to become a pilot.
James said he couldn't sit by and watch so much potential go to waste. "When the teacher contacted me and I met this child, I just couldn't say no, so I decided to give him a chance after hearing his story and seeing where he is coming from. He is willing to learn, so I found him a sponsor. I just go where my heart leads me; this one is a sure success" he said.
Lorraine Green-Mason is the proprietor of Duty Clean Wholesale in May Pen and she will be sponsoring Icesafari throughout high school. She has already put plans in place to provide khaki uniforms, books, shoes, school fees and all other necessities he needs to begin high school. "I decided to sponsor this child because his situation really touched me. All I expect him to do now is to just do what is required of him in school and not be afraid of taking challenges and to deport good mannerism."
Thompson says he is excited to be moving on to high school and even happier that he has been given a chance to pursue his dream, and promised to work hard and do his very best.
His sister, Cornelia, said giving up was not an option as there is no one else to care for her siblings or her father. "Sometimes I felt like giving up, but when I look back and remember how hard my mother worked for me, I say, 'No, I can't give up'. I have to take care of my brothers and sisters. Life is not about giving up, it's about pressing on. If you give up you will not achieve what you had set out to do in the first place and when you actually achieve, there is nothing that can compare to that feeling."