'I want to do well' - Fifteen-year-old boy trying to defy the odds

Published: Sunday | September 2, 2012 Comments 0

Fifteen-year-old Rushaun Brownhas a slight body but a proud bearing. We saw him talking with an older boy in Holy Trinity's schoolyard and one could immediately tell that they were talking about serious issues.

"How is the report Rushaun?" asked a teacher who has been at the school for years.

"Good Sir," came the halting answer.

"Come let me see," the teacher said as he called him over.

It turned out that the older boy was Rushaun's brother who had recently left Holy Trinity and was playing substitute parent to collect the report.

You did not see the As and Bs you would expect on a good report but it did make interesting reading.

There were mostly 20s and 30s and a 42, with most of the comments saying 'Rushaun can do better'.

There was one 'A', an 84 for integrated science.

Remedial classes

The teacher commended him for his effort but pointed out that a 25 in mathematics and 32 in English would not cut it. As it turned out Rushaun was part of two remedial classes for his grade.

"Sir, it just hard fi learn inna dah class deh, Sir," his face contorted with frustration. He continued, "Di teacha dem nuh bizniz ..." his words trailing off with even more frustration.

Further discussion highlighted the difficult learning environment and the hard task it was to teach mostly boys in a class that was finding it hard to catch up.

What of the 84 in integrated science? Rushaun said he received that because he studied hard and he studied hard because that was the one book he had.

One of his teachers had seen the books being thrown out and decided to give one to Rushaun.

He had never received any of the textbooks for the time he has so far spent at Holy Trinity.

His parents did not pay the auxiliary fee and he believed that with the money not paid he could not get the rental books.

But Principal Sadpha Bennett insisted that students who have not paid the auxiliary fees could still get the rental books.

When The Gleaner contacted Rushaun's mother there was a note of resignation in her voice. "Yes ah know we can get di book dem, but mi nuh waan go in because ... mi cyaan bother wid the beggin," said the woman.

Through it all the cry from Rushaun was "I want to do well".

Name changed

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