Jolyn Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Tafanyah Mitchell wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Several of her teachers say that this would be a perfect career path for the precocious 11-year-old Seaforth Primary School student.
"She has the leadership skills," D. Davidson, her grade six teacher, pointed out. "Other students listen when she speaks. And I can leave the class with her and she keeps them well behaved and under control."
But that is not the only talent teachers at Seaforth Primary are trying to develop. At the St Thomas parish finals of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival Competition, Tafanyah won gold for her performance of the poem Hill and Gully Ride. She also wowed attendees at the recently held Governor General Achievement Awards for Surrey with an electrifying performance of the same piece, making the audience laugh out loud with delight at the poem's eccentric character who is preparing to be interviewed for the Hill and Gully Ride television programme.
Sadie Robinson, who wrote Hill and Gully Ride, has always seen the performer in Tafanyah and had her expectations confirmed when she asked her to recite the piece in class.
"My teacher does poems and speeches," Tafanyah told Rural Express. "She asked me to go home and practise, and I did, and she really enjoyed my performance."
Though she did not do very well at the national finals at the JCDC festival, Tafanyah was impressive enough to be asked to perform at Mello-Go-Round, and there are many other cultural organisations clamouring to have her perform. And she is very willing.
She has taken a very active part in the school's Heritage Week preparations, helping to organise and rehearse plays and presentations.
"She is enjoying her time in the spotlight, and this has galvanised in her a steely determination for more success, making her easier to coach." Robinson pointed out.
As the little talent practices, she gets better, and her teachers hope that she will continue to hone her skills and become a true entertainer and artiste.