Portmore teenager makes big impact
At 15 years old, Michelle Cole is already having a positive impact on children in her community.
Michelle, who lives in Two West, Greater Portmore, St Catherine, uses her weekends and summer holidays to tutor students sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
"I normally teach four children in my community who are taking the GSAT, mainly on weekends, because I have school and track training during the week," the charming teenager told
during a recent interview.
"I put out this effort for these children because I want to see them excel. I really want them to pass for the school they choose, and that will make me happy.
"I started helping them last July when they just left grade five, and I continued from there," she said. "Two of these children board with my mother, so I usually help them in the night."
Dannesha, a student at Kensington Primary School, gets help from Michelle in mathematics, science and social studies.
"What I don't understand at school she helps me to understand it," said Dannesha.
The GSAT is scheduled for the end of March.
Even though Michelle loves teaching and sharing her knowledge with children, more than anything else, she wants to become an engineer.
"Engineering is said to be male dominated, and I don't think it should be that way, as women can do just as good a job as the men," the confident teenager said.
Michelle is a vibrant member of her community and is a netballer on one of the teams.
Her mother, Medlyn Cole, said while Michelle was in third form at St Andrew High School For Girls, she earned six 'As', and five 'Bs'. She was also the top student in her year for her achievements in food and nutrition.
"From first form, Michelle has been getting prizes in academics. In grades seven and eight she got certificates of excellence. Michelle is loving, kind and helpful. She's especially helpful with children, because whenever they have schoolwork or homework she will assist them. She's exceptional in mathematics," said Cole.
Apart from academics, Michelle has been teaching dance to children at a day-care centre.
Michelle, who is currently in fourth form, is a model student and is involved in extra-curricular activities. She is on the school's track team and currently runs the 400 metres.
"I usually run the sprint hurdles, 80m, and 70m, in earlier years, but my coach encouraged me to step up to the 400m, as the idea is to run the 400m hurdles in the future," she said.
Michelle is the reigning Miss Teen Portmore Queen and became the youngest to have ever won the prestigious crown last September. Michelle, armed with her motto 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me', is a bright spark in the ever-developing landscape of Portmore.
Recently, Michelle received her first-prize award, which was a bedroom suite, valued at $85,000, from Care Furnishing's Chief Executive Officer Bernard Williams.
Michelle was accompanied by Octavia Waite, coordinator of the Miss Teen Portmore pageant.
To be baptised soon
Michelle attends the Evangelist Temple Deliverance Centre on the Hellshire main road and intends to be baptised in the not-too-distant future.
Choosing good role models is something that seems common among those who have achieved much, and Michelle is no different.
For her, world 100m hurdles champion, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, the RJR Sports Foundation Sports Woman of the Year, is her role model.
"She's my role model because of her determination and perseverance in the sport of track and field. That pushes me to strive for my goals," explained Michelle.
With schoolwork and extra-curricular activities taking a huge chunk of her time, one wonders when Michelle finds time for herself and family. Time management plays a big part in her daily routine.
"Whenever I have any free time, I use it to study, sleep in the evening, and get up in the night and finish what I started,"she said.
She gave a little advice to her peers. "They need perseverance, they must follow their goals, no matter how hard it seems. They must aim for the highest."