Meet your Lime-Gleaner - Inner-city Overachiever
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
THREE YEARS ago, when she was just nine years old, Latoya Jibbison's father was shot and killed while working at a church in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
For many children her age, this would have had an adverse effect on their studies; but not Latoya.
The articulate child, who served as head girl of Friendship Primary School, said if anything, this dark episode pushed her to do even better in school.
Latoya said she was very close to her dad, and on the day of his death, before he left for work, he told her to continue excelling in school, as it was the only way she would secure her independence.
"He said that when I grow up, I will be able to make my own choices, so I must just keep doing well in school, and make my family proud," Latoya told The Gleaner.
She noted that this, along with her personal dream to elevate herself and family from the poor community of Winter's Pen in Spanish Town have been the driving forces behind her success.
"I want to go somewhere in life. I am from the ghetto, and although people think that the ghetto is a bad place, there are some unique minds, and good things can come from the ghetto," she noted.
Her beaming mother, Althia Boswell, said ever since the death of Latoya's father, she has been struggling to put her daughter through school as her buying-and-selling business is not doing as well as it used to.
However, she insists on her daughter going to school on a regular basis, despite often having little to no money.
"She never stops from school. If it's $50 I have, she will take it and go. I ensure she has the uniform, but the books are always beating me," Boswell said.
She said she also plays an integral part in every aspect of her daughter's life, and never misses a parent-teachers' meeting, even if she has to borrow the bus fare to attend.
Boswell noted that her daughter is very well-rounded, and despite her involvement in several extra-curricular activities, she still managed to get a 92.5 average in this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), and was awarded a space in her institution of first choice, St Andrew High School for Girls.
The proud mother said she borrowed a copy of The Gleaner where she saw an article appealing to persons to nominate individuals for the LIME-Gleaner Inner-city Overachievers, which acknowledges youngsters who were able to do well in the most recent GSAT, and decided to put her daughter's name in the mix.
Now having been selected as one of the five inner-city overachievers, Latoya will receive a tablet computer, $20,000 grant for books and school supplies, and $10,000 for uniform items from LIME.
Latoya and the other four selectees will also be treated to lunch on the day of a shopping spree and be honoured as LIME Skool Aid ambassadors at the company's annual event this weekend, to be held at JamWorld in Portmore, St Catherine.
For her part, Latoya said she was looking forward to high school, and will be making every effort to continue excelling academically, and continue playing her favourite sport, netball.
She is not daunted by the idea that she may have to awake at 4 a.m. in the morning to get to the Half-Way Tree, St Andrew-based school by 7:30 a.m.
In fact, she said she has always wanted to go to the St Andrew High School for Girls because of its ability to transform girls into ladies, and nothing will prevent her from achieving that dream.