Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Seventeen-year-old Jamaica College student Hakeem Barrett is revelling in his outstanding performance in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, thanks to his determination, perseverance and hard work.
The young man earned ones in mathematics, English language, history, Spanish, information technology, principles of business (POB), principles of accounts, economics and additional mathematics. He also earned a two in communication studies.
"I was very happy and surprised because some of the exams were difficult and I was in doubt about the ones. I'm so thankful for it, words can't really explain," he shared with The Gleaner.
Nervous and anxious
Hakeem said he was very nervous and anxious when he heard results were out. As he waited for the results to be uploaded online that night, he said he was pacing back and forth, sighing and breathing heavily, not knowing what would come up.
On realising his outstanding achievement, he said he became very ecstatic and started shouting.
Hakeem is grateful for the support and encouragement he has got, especially from parents Richard Barrett and Patricia Lindsay.
Despite the fact that he is encouraged each time his parents reward him with gifts whenever he does well, Hakeem said he considers them bonuses.
"I didn't work for the gifts. Ninety-five per cent of the reason I try to do so well is for myself, to get good grades and get a good education. The other five per cent is getting the gifts, the support and seeing the smile on their faces and making them proud."
To students preparing for CSEC, Hakeem advises, "Try and try and try and don't set a low bar of success. I remember my first POB class in fourth form, my teacher said to set one goal for ourselves and I said I didn't want any average lower than 90 per cent. The teacher said 'wow, that's a high bar' and I said 'yes'. And because I put a high bar I reached for it and I got it."
He added: "So to those students I say, never give up, keep trying, do two hours of work more than everyone else, start early, finish late."
The teen now moves on to sixth form, after which he plans to major in business at university, with the hope of pursuing a career in accounting or economics.