Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
Seventeen-year-old Matthew Blake doesn't believe in mediocrity. Moreover, for him, time management is a key to success, particularly when one undertakes a number of activities.
That's one of the strategies the six foot three inch St Jago High school student used to cop 10 grade ones in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) - geography, history, social studies, chemistry, information technology, French, Spanish, mathematics, English language and English literature
"I spent a lot of quality time studying at nights. I reviewed, but most of all, I paid attention in class so that everything soaked in first, and then when I was going over, it was not that difficult. But for things that were difficult, I really worked hard at them," Matthew told The Gleaner.
The talented youth, who hails from Harkers Hall in St Catherine, has not only excelled in academics, but also in sports.
He helped his school to win its fifth straight Inter-Secondary School Association (ISSA)/Under-19 National Boys volleyball title beating Wolmer's 3-0 in the final at G.C. Foster College last April. He is also a member of Jamaica's under-19 volleyball team.
Passionate about the sport, Matthew's aim is to earn a place on the country's senior team.
"I want to make the senior team and I wouldn't mind playing pro and I would like to get a volleyball scholarship," he noted.
He was also a member of St Jago High's quartet that won the 2012 All-Island High School Chess championship after defeating urban title holders Campion College 3-1 in March.
Sandra Swyer-Watson, principal, described the tall teen as a purposeful all-rounder.
"Matthew is our idea of a fully rounded student, one who is not only multi-talented but makes the effort to develop all the different talents he has. He is a very well-organised child and he is purposeful," Swyer-Watson shared with The Gleaner.
She added: "He is every teacher's dream and I am proud of him because he has not allowed himself to be distracted by things that go on around him."
But it has not been easy for his proud parents, Byron, a labourer, and Christine Blake, holder of a degree in counselling and theology, to finance his schooling. So, they are grateful for the assistance they have received from The Susan Show and St Jago past students.
"We are really grateful. God has been good and He has provided for us and we are appreciative of the help we've got for Matthew," his mom told The Gleaner.