Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
It might not be easy to fathom why a 16-year-old high school student would need 15 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination passes but for Shaquielle Dias, it's all about challenging himself to succeed at the highest level.
This self-motivated Manning's School fifth former, who hails from Little London, in Westmoreland, achieved 15 distinctions in both CSEC and CAPE subjects and wants to continue that same drive to succeed as he readies himself for sixth form.
"I love the challenge so when I decided to do these subjects it was like ... I know I can do it," said the confident-sounding Shaquielle. "So I just applied myself and made it happen. I am satisfied at my accomplishments and being able to show others that it can be done."
Shaquielle secured distinctions in mathematics, English language, geography, Spanish, biology, chemistry, physics, integrated science, office administration, principles of accounts, social studies, principles of business and information technology.
For CAPE he received distinctions in Pure Mathematics Unit 1 and Unit 2. This was done while he sat his CSEC exams in 2012.
"There is no special secret as to why I was able to do so well on my exams ... . It's all about paying attention in class. I ensure that I get it right before I leave the classroom and just revise on what was taught the day before," said Shaquielle. "If I don't understand something, I make sure that I ask questions, as that's the only way I will be sure if I know that which was taught."
Shaquielle is a member of the school's quiz team, editor for the school magazine and placed second in this year's University of the West Indies Mathematics Olympiad, which featured students from 30 schools across Jamaica.
While he was the one who put in the work, Shaquielle is grateful for the support he got from his family and classmates (who he considers as his extended family). According to him, in motivating him, celebrating his successes and encouraging him, they were instrumental to academic achievements.
"For me, my goal is to become a bio-mechanical engineer and so it is important for me to maintain my focus and continue doing well so I can realise my potential," Shaquielle said.