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Chioke Hamilton overcomes new-school trauma to ace GSAT

Published:Friday | August 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Chioke, with his grandmother, Cecelia Mortley.

Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer

The preparations leading up to the Grade Six Achievement Test can be a stressful time for children with the pressure and anxiety from family members and friends to perform well.

But to learn about a month before the start of grade six that not only will he be moving to a new school, but that he will have to uproot his entire life and move to another parish, can add another element of stress to the life of any student.

This was what happened with 12-year-old Chioke Hamilton.

When Chioke should have been thinking of returning to Half-Way Tree Primary School in St Andrew, he had to move to live with his grandmother in Siloah, St Elizabeth, in the July before the resumption of school at Siloah Primary in September.

Chioke, along with his sister, Mawiya, had been living with their father after their mother had gone overseas to receive treatment for cancer.

Suddenly, their father revealed he would no longer be able to take care of them and said he would be giving up their apartment in Kingston.

Live with grandmother

The children had to be sent to live with their grandmother.

"I was frightened because one night I am talking to my mother and she told me that we (my sister and I) would have to be living in St Elizabeth because [our] father is giving up the apartment," Chioke said.

"I wasn't happy about moving because I would have to move from all my friends and the people I am accustomed to. I managed to get over it and tried to fit in with the students at Siloah," he recalled.

The move was also difficult financially as contact with their father became limited and Chioke's grandmother, Cecelia Mortley, is a pensioner. Her daughter is unable to work because of her illness, so support from her is not consistent.

Mortley said she just placed everything in the hands of God.

"I see to it that him go to class and make sure we have food. We work together; me get a little money for myself; me put it down and say 'I don't want to hear you say you hungry.' I make sure they (Chioke and his sister) have food and clean clothes.

After settling in, Chioke said it was time to buckle down and focus on his schoolwork.

"It was very hard and long studying. I had to give up my time playing video games [and watching television]," Chioke said.

This hard work paid off as Chioke received awards for the highest marks in science, for which he received 95 per cent; language arts, for which he received 94 per cent; and communication task scoring 11 out of 12.

His other scores were 91 and 88 per cent for mathematics and social studies, respectively.