OFTEN LOSING faith when he felt he just couldn't make it anymore, 11-year-old Kory Hamilton tried hard to not lose sight of his goal, which was to pass his Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) for the only high school he ever wanted to attend, Wolmer's Boys' School.
Hailing from the community of White Hall Avenue in St Andrew, the young life of the Dunrobin Primary School student was plunged into greater difficulties when his father lost his job shortly before he was to sit the exam.
With barely enough food to eat or money to buy lunch most days, Kory put on a brave face and repeatedly reminded himself of his goal. He stayed up till late studying, and whenever he got free time, he delved into his books. Even being without a teacher for an extended period didn't daunt him. He just hit the books and spent his lunchtime reading the GSAT material in his former fifth-grade teacher's class.
When the GSAT results came out and Kory saw that his excellent results earned him a place at his favourite school, he was elated.
"I was surprised and excited. I just wanted to run home and tell my mother as quickly as possible," he exclaimed.
Kory got 96 per cent in language arts, 95 per cent in mathematics, 95 per cent in social studies, 90 per cent in science and 10 out of 12 in communication task.
"The results didn't surprise me, because I expected it, but I felt so good and proud of him. We were all excited about it. Kory is always so focused and always in his books," said dad Fitzroy Hamilton.
The only breadwinner for his family, the father of three lost his job eight months ago, and was forced to beg, borrow and occasionally do odd jobs just to take care of his family, while doing everything he could to regain permanent employment.
"Up to December last year before I lost my job, we managed to make it through," said Hamilton. "But after that things got very challenging. Kory didn't know, but many times my wife and I went without food just to make sure he went to school and got something to eat. Sometimes we had to put coins together just to get him to school.
"I seriously don't know how we made it to now. But faith keeps us going and the fact that I know there is no giving up because I have them to look after, and it is my responsibility, no matter what."
Kory's achievement 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.
Hamilton said he was really worried about how Kory was going to school in September, especially with him still being out of a job, but when he found out that Kory was selected as one of the 'Fab Five' he knew part of his prayer was answered.
"His mom and myself prayed so hard because we didn't know how he was going to get anything at all for school. We really appreciate this because as it is right now, we are still at zero," said dad.
Kory added: "Words cannot describe how I feel knowing I got this scholarship. I felt so excited, I felt like I could run up and down around the entire house when I heard."
Each of the selectees will be treated by LIME 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 tomorrow and Sunday at JamWorld in Portmore, St Catherine.