Sacrifices and hard work paid off for 16-year-old Shannique Chang, who received eight ones in this year's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination.
The Wolmer's High School for Girls student received ones in biology, history, English A and English B, information technology, mathematics, principles of accounts and Spanish. She earned a ninth one as a third former in electronic document preparation management.
"I got rid of all my distractions, so I did not renew my BlackBerry service and I gave up the cable box. I put posters up in my room encouraging me to study and I had a timetable and each day I would do another subject and I would try to finish up a term in one week or two weeks," Shannique told The Gleaner.
The news of her success still came as a surprise to Shannique who hopes to have a career in psychology or marketing. Upon learning of her results, she prayed to God for her good fortune.
"I immediately fell to my knees and began to pray and then I screamed and kicked and jumped up and down and hugged mum," she said.
Shannique's mother, a former Gleaner employee, Racquel Roman, was amazed by her daughter's performance but was confident she would have been successful.
"It was so amazing because I saw how hard she worked, the nights she stayed up, the hours she put in. She cut off herself totally. She gave up the phone; she gave up the cable box. From January she came to me with the cable box and said 'no more TV'. It was good to know that you're telling your child that hard work pays off and then for her to actually see it and not just you saying it," said Roman.
Studying for the exams was a mother-daughter affair as Roman helped Shannique through many late night study sessions.
"At nights when she was studying and she would start to fall asleep I would be there reading some of the text to her when she was too tired to read anymore. For example, the history. I was there reading with her and putting it in my own words and sometimes making it a little bit funny, so that she would laugh and it would keep her awake," Roman told The Gleaner.
Chang not only had the support of her mother but her entire family.
"We tried to support her as much as possible. She got a lot of family support," Roman said.
- Lauren Williams