Young scholar masters survival skills
When Tavia Johnson, who will be moving on from Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School, in Westmoreland, to Manning's School in September, copped an average of 85 per cent in the 2014 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), it brought real joy to her grandmother's heart.
"I can't remember all the grades she got but I know she got 93 for science," said Vangilene Allen, the grandmother who has been caring for Tavia, whose parents reside in Kingston.
"She got the award for being the top science student at her school," added Allen, who resides in the community of Smithfield, Westmoreland.
"She made me quite happy and proud and I just hope she will continue to do well."
Tavia's mother, Karen Barrett, told The Gleaner that although the family was financially strained, she and Tavia's dad and grandmother were ready to make the required sacrifices to see her succeed in life.
"It is really hard on us, but we just have to do what we have to do," said Barrett. "With a new school and new expenses coming in September, I know it is going to be even tougher."
Young Tavia is already mastering some of the skills of survival. With her grandmother as her sole companion at their Smithfield home, she has learnt to embrace a tight schedule. On school days she has to be on time to be in the same taxi as her grandmother - she heading to school and grandma workbound.
"She is quite disciplined and organised, and, being the Christian type, her grandmother has no problems with her," said Barrett. "She wants to become a nurse and we are doing everything to help her realise her dream."
According to Barrett, her daughter, who was off spending time with her father when The Gleaner visited, is anxiously looking forward to spending the next five years at Manning's, which was her first-choice school in GSAT.
"I would be more than grateful for whatever help I can get to help balance her out at this time," said Barrett. "As you can see, times are quite hard, so any help we can get would be most appreciated."