Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
Shakira Leslie of Jonathan Grant High School in Spanish Town, St Catherine, is a very happy teen. Her sleepless nights and long tedious hours preparing for the 2012 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations have paid great dividends.
The 16-year-old copped nine subjects: eight distinctions - English language, geography, biology, social studies, principles of business, office administration, information technology, elec-tronic document preparation and management and physics with grade two.
"At first, I couldn't believe I was actually viewing my results," she told The Gleaner. "I have always underestimated myself, but when I saw the results, I definitely had to reconsider my abilities because I never believed I could ever perform this well, academically," she added.
While acknowledging that there is always room for improvement, the valedictorian for the class of 2012 commends her teachers for their input.
"To be honest, this is one of my proudest moments, but even though I am an outstanding performer at my school, there is still room for improvement. Success doesn't end here. I really have to thank my teachers. They were the ones who kept pushing me whenever I felt like giving up," the award-winning top achiever for 2009 and 2012 noted.
Principal Dr O'Neil Ankle said the Point Hill Primary and Junior High school alumnus' feat was no surprise.
"Shakira is a very focused and bright young lady and she knows what she wants. It is not surprising that she did so well," Dr Ankle told The Gleaner.
Like the eloquent youngster, he, too, had high praises for the teachers at the institution opened on October 6, 1980, and upgraded to a high school in 1988.
"Her achievement also speaks volume to the level of teaching that takes place at the Jonathan Grant. Of course, we would want to have more students achieving like Shakira," he added.
Shakira, who was a member of her school's Red Cross Society and a prefect, is eyeing St Jago High School to pursue sixth-form studies. Her dream is to become a psychologist or an environmentalist.