I worked hard for it – Jenice Clarke
Continuing a tradition of excellence that has been embedded in the psyche of the St Ann-based St Hilda’s Diocesan High School, 17-year-old Jenice Clarke aced her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations to emerge as one of the school’s top performers this year.
Jenice scored grade ones in seven subjects: biology, mathematics, Spanish, English language, English literature, principles of business and agricultural science, and a grade two in social studies.
While there might have been a tinge of disappointment in scoring a grade two in social studies, Jenice is satisfied with her overall performance.
“I was sort of disappointed when I saw it (grade two), but in all things we have to give thanks. I know I worked and I worked hard, I wanted a better grade, but I believe I got what I worked for. All is good, I’m satisfied with it,” Jenice told The Gleaner.
She describes her five years at St Hilda’s as having gone by quickly and a time when she not only gained academically but also personally, learning life lessons along the way.
“It’s such a good environment and I can’t believe it’s gone by so quickly,” she reminisced.
While her level of dedication might have been the main driving force behind her success, Jenice is quick to acknowledge persons who would have contributed to her success in the examinations.
“I have a lot of persons who would say, ‘Okay, Jenice, you can do this.’ At times when I might say this is becoming too much, I have a lot of persons. I have my mother, Constable Erika McKenzie, I have my siblings, friends, teachers like Mr Thomas, Mr Amponsah, Mrs Williams, who would look at me and say, ‘You can do this.’ So yes, I guess it’s because I’m dedicated, but I also have a lot of persons behind me.”
Those persons would also include several who Jenice would have met in study groups that were formed by students from across the Caribbean as they studied for exams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jenice was in a group with hundreds of other students from Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados, Cayman Islands, sharing resources, discussing topics and assisting each other.
On top of it all, though, there was mom.
“In times of desperation, there has always been my mother. There’s never a time she wasn’t there for me,” Jenice acknowledged.
And although she still has lots of time to decide, she is yet to settle on a career choice.
“I’m wavering because I have a passion for a lot of stuff. I like teaching, I’m a business lover, I like entrepreneurship, and agriculture,” she pointed out, adding that she could well end up specialising in more than one field.
But the wavering there has not put her journey on pause, as she has already begun the next phase, having registered for sixth form, where she is now studying biology, Caribbean studies, sociology, management business, and economics. She aims to do just as well, or even better, in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) later on.