EWARTON, St Catherine:FOR 12-year-old Devonte Jackson, earning a place at Campion College with a 99 per cent average in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) is no accident. Moreover, his aim was to obtain a perfect average.
"Devonte is a very diligent and meticulous student. He was never happy with anything below a hundred, so it was very easy to prepare him for the exam. All I had to do was to motivate him, as a matter of fact, he was intrinsically motivated," Garrett McFarlane, his teacher shared with The Gleaner.
In fact, according to his father, Devon, the Ewarton Primary School graduate set a very high standard from an early age. Then, when his performance fell below his expectations, he didn't take it lightly.
"Devon's average was always in the 90s. He likes to score centuries. Whenever he did any test or anything and he got any marks below 97, he would actually cry, because he doesn't settle for mediocre grades," said Jackson, a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 21 years, now serving the Linstead Police Station.
The articulate youngster scored 100 for social studies, 99 for language arts, 12 out of 12 for communication task, 99 for mathematics and 97 for science.
"I'm overwhelmed. I'm proud of him! He loves reading educational books from an early age, so I knew he would have done well," Malvia Jackson, his mom, who just completed her second year at St Joseph's Teachers' College told The Gleaner.
Humbled by achievement
Humbled by his achievement, the aspiring animator acknowledged the invaluable contribution of his grades one to six teachers, his principal, Marjorie Bailey, as well as his aunt, Dorrell Chambers who also teaches at Ewarton Primary School. However, he had special commendations for McFarlane.
"Mr McFarlane made the lessons more interesting and easier for us to learn, and he did not just teach us academics, but also taught us life principles," he said.
Devonte also attributed his success, particularly in mathematics, to the aptitude developed from playing chess, over the last two years.
"I am very fond of chess, because it's interesting, and it helps me academically especially in math," explained Devonte. He was a member of his school's silver medal team at a recent Prep and Primary School tournament held at Campion College.
McFarlane had high praises for the writing skills of his unassuming charge who has represented his institution in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission speech competition.
"He is an excellent writer. When he writes you want to sit down and read it. His stories are well built, and he follows instructions precisely, and it pays off with him getting 12 out of 12 for communication tasks," noted his teacher.
Besides, Devonte said it was while a grade three student that he discovered his ability to pen stories. Now, he wants to share his works with the public and hopes this will happen in the near future.
"I have a manuscript of a book titled Fairy Tale Land at LMH Publishers waiting to be published. So if there is anyone who can help me to get it published quickly, I would appreciate it. I am also working on other stories, which I also hope will be published in the future," he said exuding confidence.
trophies for excellence
At his recent graduation, the assertive youngster pocketed two trophies, one for academic excellence and the other for discipline, a feat he has been repeating throughout his primary school life.
He is also looking forward to being rewarded with a laptop for his remarkable performance in the secondary school placement exam by his parents who live at the Wallens Housing Scheme on the outskirts of Linstead.
"He deserves it. We want to give it to him, but that's something we will have to work on," his parents, married for 15 years who also have a five-year-old son, Devaughn told The Gleaner.
While basking in the moment, his mom highlighted the positive impact that a close family bond can have on children. Of course, she hastened to add the importance of their Christian values.
"We try to put God in the midst. He is the centre of our lives. We try to put him first, without him we cannot go through and my husband is a very good father," she testified.
Indeed, the family attends the Calvary Temple Church of Christ in Linstead, where Devonte is an active member.
Acknowledging the invaluable support of his parents, he said if children heed their parents' words they will succeed.
"Your parents have been here longer than you, and they know much more than you, so it's better to listen to them, because they have more experience," the affable youth who enjoys playing video games, watching television and reading educational books said smiling.