'I Believe' keeps dream alive
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
GRANT'S MOUNTAIN, St Ann:LAST FRIDAY, January 2, retired Major Effiom B. Whyte, of King's House, somehow managed to find his way to the little-known district of Grant's Mountain, located in the deep rural, south western area of St Ann.
Whyte was joined by St Ann justices of the peace Daphne Hall Brown and Lorna Brady, who represented Custos Norma Walters.
He was drawn from the governor general's (GG) office by an impressive letter penned and sent to the GG by a woman who was seeking to help her daughter realise her dream but whose family's financial standing was threatening to derail that process.
Coupled with the desire to see the continuing success of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's 'I Believe Initiative', Whyte ensured that the task was carried out with the efficiency that it deserved. Whyte is the national coordinator for the GG's Programme of Excellence, under which the 'I Believe Initiative' falls.
"The letter is quite a remarkable letter and this is what has led to today's presentation," Whyte told Rural Xpress.
The letter, from Jennifer Tracey, requested help for her daughter, Tasha-Gay Campbell, who graduated from St Hilda's in 2014 with passes in eight Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects, including seven at grade one and one at grade two.
Tasha-Gay scored ones in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, English, English literature, and Spanish, and two in social studies.
She is currently doing the natural science course in sixth form at the Herbert Morrison Technical School in Montego Bay as she continues on her journey to becoming a doctor.
Whyte said he was impressed by more than just the letter.
"Tasha-Gay's attitude and mannerism, her whole objective for life, drove me to think it was really important to try to get this done. She wants to do medicine and she told her mother that since she didn't have the money, she would try and get a scholarship to study in Cuba. But I said to her, 'Why don't you try to get a scholarship to go to UWI because with your grades, you ought to be able to get a scholarship here'."
To help Tasha-Gay maintain her high academic standard, Whyte brought several gifts, which he managed to raise, just in time for her to resume classes the following week.
The gifts included a Dell laptop and six Unit 1 and 2 CAPE books, compliments of Steadman Fuller, custos of Kingston and managing director of Kingston Bookshop; a computer bag from Delroy English of Worldwide Technology, from whom Fuller bought the laptop; a DL750 smart phone; and $700 hundred worth of credit from Digicel, thanks to Corporate Relations Manager Trisha Thompson.
But there was another gift that put the icing on the cake, a gift from one, student to another, even without them knowing each other.
"This knapsack is from Julia Thwaites, my granddaughter, who is in fourth form at Immaculate," Whyte said, as he handed the bag to Tasha-Gay.
It was all too much for both ladies as overcome with emotion, they broke into tears.
Tasha-Gay's father, Devon Campbell, could hardly believe the good fortune.
"You know how long mi a try save fi buy a laptop fi har," Campbell uttered. "God really provides. Mi try di hardest way because mi see seh she need it, but the farming, it go an' come. Sometime mi try a crop an' it nuh work. But mi always try fi sen har a school."
While at St Hilda's, Tasha-Gay and several students visited King's House under the banner of International Proxy Parents. A photograph taken of Lady Allen and the group served as the inspiration for her mother to write the letter seeking assistance. She was grateful for the response.
"I'm overwhelmed," Tracey said. "Mr Whyte, I thank you very much for this opportunity for Tasha-Gay to be comfortable and happy. She now has a laptop, a phone, so she can get on well with her work."
Whyte told Tasha-Gay that she deserved the gifts.
"Tasha, this is on the basis of merit. you have deserved it because you have done extremely well. I want you to continue on that path because there is nothing that you cannot do if you put your trust in God. And, if you keep focused, you will achieve endlessly. You have the right attitude so, therefore, you can get to any altitude. Thank you very much for being the person you are."
Tasha-Gay was even more grateful.
"I'm filled with joy. I'm really filled with joy and I must say I'm grateful. Words cannot explain how grateful I am to Mr Whyte and His Excellency and the team. I am so grateful," Tasha-Gay said. "I promise, of course, to use these resources to foster my educational growth and to do my best."