Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Joy aplenty as Rajeeb bags four subjects despite cerebral palsy

Published:Thursday | October 8, 2020 | 12:12 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
Carron Hall High School student Rajeeb Page (centre) is surrounded by (from left) Principal Carlington Johnson; mom Sonia Lynch; Debbie-Ann Porteous, his scribe; and teacher Nadia Jones as the celebrate his CSEC success.
Carron Hall High School student Rajeeb Page (centre) is surrounded by (from left) Principal Carlington Johnson; mom Sonia Lynch; Debbie-Ann Porteous, his scribe; and teacher Nadia Jones as the celebrate his CSEC success.

Carron Hall, St Mary:

Despite having cerebral palsy, 17-year-old Carron Hall High School student Rajeeb Page has surprised many by passing four of the five subjects he sat recently in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.

His mom, fellow students and teachers, as well as residents of his community of Cromwelland near Highgate in St Mary, were all impressed with his performance.

“God played an important role as we have to pray and ask for His guidance, and He gave us that guidance,” said teacher Nadia Jones.

“I met Rajeeb in grade 7, as the coordinator. He has always impressed me. When he came to grade 10, he choose my three subject areas – principles of accounts, principles of business, and office administration. I was shocked. And then he chose IT (information technology) as well, which is a part of the business department. So he did four of our subjects plus maths,” she told The Gleaner.

Jones said she was impressed by Rajeeb’s dedication and commitment even during online classes.

The teacher shared that Rajeeb, who is without any physical strength in his hands and also has a speech impediment, is well loved by his classmates. She pointed out, too, that his mother is very supportive and is always actively involved in his schooling.

“He is always prepared for class. There is never a class that he doesn’t have his assignment done, his textbooks, and if I ask a question and the other students are unable to answer, he always has an answer for me. I have asked him many times, how do you do it? How does your mother do it? When I give assignment, it is pages upon pages and it is always done,” she said.

Rajeeb scored a grade two in office administration, grade threes in principle of accounts, principles of business, and information technology, and a grade four in maths, with CSEC grades one to three being passes.

“When I received a call from the school principal that Rajeeb had passed four of the five subjects, immediately my eyes flooded with tears,” Jones said. “I was so happy and even though all of my students did well, Rajeeb was the one who brought out all the emotions in me.”

For Rajeeb’s mother, Sonia Lynch, it was a special moment as the sleepless nights she had helping him to complete his assignments had paid off. “I am single parent and I ensure that my son does his homework and study hard,” Lynch said. “He was well prepared for the exams. ... When I saw the results on the phone, I screamed. I am so happy,” she told The Gleaner.

She was grateful to the school population for their dedicated work with Rajeeb, who she says was never absent, saying, “Words cannot tell how much their assistance means to me.”

Lynch was also thankful to her second babyfather, who she said has been supporting them financially and otherwise.

DEFYING THE ODDS

Principal Carlington Johnson, who was pleased with the overall performance of the students, saluted Rajeeb for his commitment to defying the odds.

“I can remember the mother was very happy in 2015, when she said that she was worried that schools wouldn’t want him,” the principal recounted.

“And I said, ‘Come, it doesn’t matter. Every child must learn and every child must be given an opportunity to learn.’ And we have seen the growth in Rajeeb.

“Working with somebody with cerebral palsy is not easy. ... There are times when he is speaking and persons may not be able to understand him. There are times when he might want to write something and he can’t write,” Johnson said, “but over the years, we have developed this dedication, where the teachers, the admin, the ancillary staff, they have all gotten to know him. And everybody looks out for him. We ensure that he is not left behind. He participates fully in the activities as much as he is allowed to or is capable. ... We are pleasantly happy with his performance.”

Debbie-Ann Porteous, who acts as scribe and shadow for Rajeeb, carrying his bags and interpreting on his behalf, was also overjoyed at the teen’s CSEC success.

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