Daddy’s joy - Tivoli resident beams as his second daughter aces GSAT
Raising a child is very difficult for most parents, and the problems are compounded when a family is struggling to earn a living and keeping their children on the right path in one of the toughest inner-city communities in the Corporate Area, Tivoli Gardens.
But Allan Jones and his wife are pushing ahead, and last week they saw more proof of their good work as their middle child achieved Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores that saw her being placed at her first-choice school.
A beaming Jones told our news team that six years ago, the liquor shop that he operated was destroyed by members of the security forces as they engaged gunmen in a two-day stand-off in pursuit of now extradited West Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
The ordeal left the 46-year-old father of three without a means to provide for his children, and plunged him into depression.
Last Wednesday, the depression was forgotten as he smiled and chuckled with joy as he related
touching testaments of the bittersweet journey his daughter, Kellis Jones, endured to secure her place at St Hugh's High School for Girls come September.
"My daughter, she is so wonderful. She means the world to me. I try to do everything in my power to make her feel special," said a smiling Jones, minutes after teachers at the St Aloysius Primary School in downtown Kingston told him of his daughter's GSAT success.
St Aloysius Primary has been the school of choice for the Jones family, and four years ago, their oldest daughter sat the GSAT and was placed at Alpha High School for Girls.
His young son is in grade three and has
secured the 'top boy' award in academics for two consecutive years.
"I'm very happy. We come from a community that is very rough. Children going to school in the mornings have to be very careful, and coming from school they can buck up on anything. It is very scary," said Jones as he outlined the protective measures he has introduced for his children.
"I try to be extra careful. When they come in from school they go upstairs. There is no special time for them," he said.
"When they are downstairs they are with me. They are never downstairs alone, and they are never far from me either," said the father.
He admitted that his stance is at times harsh but argued that 'tough love' is critical for raising good children in volatile
"I bend them in every way that I can. It is a real struggle," said Jones, who takes his children to school every morning and picks them up afterwards, sometimes with a snack when they stay later for extra lessons.
"I am not working, my wife works. So everything that has to do with the children I do as much of it as I can."
He said that anything beyond his control he takes to God in prayer.
"I have never gone to my bed in the last seven, eight years without praying. And trust me, I think it is really paying off," said Jones.
Nichara Johnson-Simpson, one of Kellis' teachers, described Jones as the perfect father when it comes to his children's well-being.
"Mr Jones is really a wonderful father. He takes his children to school each morning and sits and feeds them their breakfast at school every morning," said Johnson-Simpson.
"When his daughter has extra classes, you don't have to ask, you will see him at the doorway by the latest 2:15 with water and snacks for her, 'cause you know they stay late and get hungry," added the teacher.