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Driven to Success - The Tarik Garvey Story

Published:Tuesday | August 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Tarik Garvey
Garvey has worked hard to create wealth for his family.
Tarik Garvey and his father Keith.

The future looks very bright for 19-year-old Tarik Garvey, who was recently accepted to Williams College in the United States.

Garvey told Outlook that he is motivated by a conversation he once had with his uncle - Professor Answorth Allen, who is one of the doctors for the New York Knicks. Speaking of black family dynamics, Allen noted that you will hardly see generational wealth in predominantly black countries or among black individuals. Blacks are now creating the wealth for themselves, but it is not something that moves from one generation to the next. "That really stuck with me. I held on to it because I knew that I wanted to create wealth for my family," Garvey told Outlook on his sit-down at The Pegasus hotel recently.

You could see the passion in his eyes and tell that he truly wanted to make a difference for his family and his future.


It takes hard work


Garvey has always been an 'A' student, something he admitted never came naturally. "I knew what I wanted in life. I am not going to say that it came naturally and, to be honest, no one likes to study, but studying is a necessary evil to get where I want to go," Garvey said.

He knew what he wanted and for the first four years of High School, which he spent at Wolmer's High School for Boys, he proved that with straight A's. In his final year, he migrated with his mother and older sister, Raissa, to the United States, where he attended Allentown High School. While he admits that it was a bit of a transition, it was not that difficult for the young man who has never lost sight of his goals.

When it comes to the grading system at Wolmer's every six months you were tested and high achievers received the Blue Report Awards. While he had been a recipient, he admits that he did not like bring measured up against another or to be told that they are better than others. So being only tested at the middle and end of the semester in the states was different for him. He admits that he missed the people of Jamaica especially the friendly banters. While he transitioned well and made friends quickly which helped him with the culture gap, it still is not quite the same.

"Even since I have been back, sitting down and watching how we interact. It's still just warm and fascinating to me," he told Outlook. As for food, he misses jerked pork which is his favourite Jamaican dish.


Maintaining a 4.O GPA


With all these changes, Garvey still managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Allentown High acknowledged this and placed him in a few advanced classes to challenge him.

Garvey was great with the books but bring rounded was also important, and that he did things other teenagers did. He loves to play video games and watch Netflix with his favourite series being House of Cards. His favourite game, however, is Laser Tag - a version of paintball. He also enjoys playing football and participating in track and field - having participated in two Penn Relays.

Upon completing Allentown, it came as no surprise that he achieved several awards. These included the Smart Cookie Awards for those with a GPA over 3.8; excellent achievement in Research and Issues with Honour; Calculus and Forensic Sciences; and AP United States Government and Politics.

Getting accepted to Williams College with an academic scholarship was proof of a job well done for Garvey. Williams College is one of the top private liberal arts colleges in the country, with an acceptance rate of only 18 per cent of applicants, so it was no easy feat.

His father Keith, is vice-president of customer service and communications at JPS. He could not be more proud of his son. Like Tarik, he believes in creating a future for his family and seeing that his son is on his way to achieving more than he ever will, is an overwhelming feeling.

Garvey hopes to study economics, which he describes as understanding the way of life. He had studied the sciences in high school, but admits that there was something about economics that drew him. He hopes to get a job on Wall Street after his studies.

If Garvey could give advice to youths, it would be to run their own race. He knows that it is easy to compare, but no two paths are the same and if we focus on our own paths that is when we are truly successful.