Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Student from troubled community shuts out the ‘noise’ to excel

Published:Saturday | August 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Jada Duckie with some of the prizes she received, including her beloved bicycle, for excelling at May Pen Primary.

Come September, 12-year-old Jada Duckie will be among the students at Glenmuir High School preparing to make their mark in the world.

The focused student, who hails from the troubled community of Sevens Road in the vicinity of Farm/Effortville, said that leading up to the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), she put all distractions aside because she was determined to excel in the exam which she did, emerging as the top GSAT student at her school, May Pen Primary.

The stress, challenges, and all the prayers she invested is all worth it now.

Although Jada had teachers who went the extra mile for her, and others, including her parents, George and Maureen Duckie, who challenged her to do her best, there was one thing that pushed and motivated her more than anything else and that was the desire to beat the stigma attached to her living address.

"I once overheard a lady saying that nothing good would ever come out of Sevens Road and I was very hurt, especially as the person who said it, also lived on Sevens Road," said Jada. She confessed that she took the comment as a challenge and used it to motivate herself to prove that good can indeed come out of Sevens Road.

"Yes, we the residents don't have a lot; we just continue to pray to God and hope for the best, knowing that there's still good in our community," she said.

 

HARD TO FOCUS

 

Still, Jada admitted that there were times when it was hard to remain focused because of the sounds of gunshots close by. This left her feeling down and heartbroken, especially when she later discovered that she knew the persons who lost their loved ones to violence.

"I tell myself that I am coming out of this and I will do good. I still believe that the majority of residents here are good and hard working people," she said.

Jada has another reason to smile these days and it is thanks to Otis James of the James and Friends Foundation, who first made her dreams come true two years ago when she was presented with a poodle for Christmas.

Two years later, she again accepted the challenge to excel in her school work and was surprised at her graduation with a brand new red bicycle.

Proud mother, Maureen said that she is also aware of the negative effect living in the community can have on children, including her own, and it is for that reason she is encouraging other parents like herself, not to allow the community to "hold down their children" by not sending them to school.

"I am always motivating others and my own, that no matter the community where you live, you can excel. I want everyone to know Sevens Road may not be the most peaceful place, but there are a lot of talented and diligent persons in this community," she said.