Denbigh High student takes top prize at research conference
Shock, excitement, and disbelief were among the emotions that Denbigh High School upper-sixth form student Kemoy Lindo experienced when he was announced as the 2018 Outstanding Child Researcher at the 13th annual Caribbean Child Research Conference in Trinidad.
"But of all the emotions, I feel extremely honoured to know that I effectively advocated on behalf of the children whose concerns I made known," he said.
In addition to being awarded Outstanding Child Researcher, Lindo received the award for Best Oral Presentation, with Denbigh taking the award for Top School 2018.
With his victory also comes the feeling of gratitude to his principal, Janice Julal, who has been training Outstanding Child Researchers since 2011. He is also thankful for his teachers and parents.
Lindo said that with Julal on board, he knew the school would take it but didn't know he would be the one lifting the trophy as there were two other entrants from the institution, Nyoka Manning, who took second spot, and Daneil Burke, finishing in the top 10.
Commenting on the work put into taking the top spot, Lindo told The Gleaner it was not an easy task.
His research was titled 'An investigative study on the recruiting of male teenagers ages 13 to 17 into gangs in a rural community in Clarendon, Jamaica', a topic he said was extremely challenging and sensitive.
"For as long as historic facts can date, the presence of gangs has been a continuous instigator in major homicides, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities," he said, sharing that the research was designed to delineate the prevalence of the issue in the Jamaican society and assess how it affects the academic performance of teenage males between ages 13 to 17 recruited into gangs.
Completing the paper required his venturing into a dangerous community.
"In consideration of safety, I was barred from interviewing entities that would put me at risk. A sample size of 20 boys, as well as a police officer, was used to ascertain prevalence. It was revealed that the majority of the individuals involved in crime-related/gang related activities are males under the age of 18 who join mainly for protection," he shared on his findings.
Lindo, who hails from Portland Cottage/Rocky Settlement, has his sights set on a career in the field of medicine. His trip to Trinidad and Tobago was his first time flying, and for him, it was the perfect birthday gift, and in his own words, "The day of the flight also happened to be on the 14th of November, my birthday, so I'm thankful for the coincidence of it being a wonderful birthday gift."
The Caribbean Child Research Conference is an important event and is probably the only forum of its kind in the Caribbean, where children are given the opportunity to carry out their own research on issues relating to children and child rights in the Caribbean, reflect upon the implications of current experiences and actions, and voice their concerns from what their findings show about the rights of Caribbean children.
Julal said that this year's conference was different from the previous 12, in that it was the first time it was being held outside of Jamaica.
"The intention was to emphasise its regional nature by allowing different Caribbean countries to host the event. Hence, this year, it was held in Trinidad and Tobago under the theme 'Leaving No Child Behind: the 2030 Agenda'.