Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Often reduced to tears because of his desperate situation, 12-year-old Chevoy Craigie was determined that he was going to rise above his circumstance, no matter what.
Growing up in the inner-city community of Bay Farm Villas, Kingston 11, it was no easy feat for the young man to focus all his attention on his studies. The Mico Practising Primary and Junior High School student wanted to pass his Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) for a 'good school', so he put all his energies into doing just that.
Sometimes going to school with no lunch money or even enough bus fare, he braved the hunger and focused in class. At nights, with no electricity at home, he would stay up under candlelight studying. And when his mom could not even afford to send him to school, instead of going out to play, he buried himself in his books.
"I tried very hard to put my challenges aside and focus on passing my GSAT, because my mother made an effort to try to send me to school. She tried so hard," an emotional Chevoy shared with The Gleaner.
"When I see some kids with lunch money and I just have my little chump change, sometimes I feel like to cry because it was so hard, but I just tough it out and say, 'God will provide'."
In early August when the GSAT results came out, and Chevoy saw his outstanding grades, which earned him a place at Jamaica College, his favourite high school, his tears turned to joy.
"I was so excited because I always wanted to go to JC," he declared with a shy laugh. "My mom and my teacher were so happy, I couldn't believe it."
Beaming with tremendous pride, his mom, 42-year-old Annyvette Pusey, stated, "It's beyond words, I am so overwhelmed. It was a lot of hard work, sacrifice and prayer."
Chevoy earned 100 per cent in mathematics, 94 per cent in English, 91 per cent in science, 90 per cent in social studies and 10 out of 12 in communication task.
This triumph has now earned him selection as one of the 'Fab Five' in the LIME/Gleaner Inner-city Overachievers - five young scholars from less-affluent communities who performed exceptionally well in the GSAT, despite growing up and studying in difficult circumstances.
Happy, but quite worried about how Chevoy was going to get what he needed to start school in September, both mom and son were pleasantly surprised at the selection, after being nominated by a close friend.
"This is such a blessing. Until now I was trying to figure out how I was going to be able to send him back to school," said the single mother of two.
Chevoy added: "I was really worried about how I was going to go to school because my mommy doesn't have any money, and you guys just came along and made me feel so glad and take that stress off me and my mom."
Mom smiled, sharing that her only son was a worrier, and she has to constantly tell him that it is her job to worry. She admires him for always thinking about his family, never being one to go on the street, but always staying home and studying, watching TV or on the computer, always focused.
A bus driver with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, when she gets off the early shift, she goes straight home and takes an active role in the lives of her children.
"You can't believe how challenging it is to single-handedly raise two children on my own in an inner city with very little income. There are times they have to stay home because I just can't send them to school," Pusey said.
"Living in the inner city you have to be very careful, anything can happen. I try to bring them up in the right way and keep them inside and focused."
In addition to being featured in The Gleaner, each of the awardees will be treated to a tablet computer, a $20,000 grant for books and school supplies, $10,000 for uniform items and a shopping spree with lunch.
They will also be hosted as Skool Aid ambassadors at LIME's two-day back-to-school event from August 24-25 at JamWorld in Portmore, St Catherine.
Profusely thanking his mom, teacher Michelle Bradshaw and his family, a beaming Chevoy is now looking forward to joining the athletics team as well as computer and mathematics clubs at his favourite high school in September.
"I just want to continue working hard and to do well, and I know I will do well at JC," Chevoy stated.