Wed | Sep 28, 2022

A winner never quits

Published:Monday | June 3, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Introducing the trendsetter at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, Vanessa Watt.
Introducing the trendsetter at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, Vanessa Watt.

Heart-rending, difficult and poverty-stricken were the only terms Vanessa Watt could think of to describe her childhood. Still it forced her to reach for the helm of success. The journey, however, was not as simple as she had imagined. Yet she rose to the top, now basking in her glory and accomplishments with a vision to excel even further.

Now, a trendsetter at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation she’s made it her mandate to help others, especially youngsters in her hometown to find their purpose.

Bred in the cool community of White Horses, St Thomas, Watt struggled to shine to her full capacity. Fighting the battle with academics, the young visionary was left with averages below 40 per cent. In retrospect, she believes she was too distracted and was “going through the motions” while in school.

“I have always tried to excel academically, but despite my efforts, my educational status kept below average. In fact, I struggled throughout primary and high school to maintain my 40 per cent average. But I knew I was capable of so much more, still the courage and potential that I had failed me. And it got worse after high school. I became a dead beat, partying, and getting drunk constantly. I was lost and failure had now become commonplace in my life,” she explained.

By the time she had completed her secondary education, Watt was triumphant in only one of the five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, for which she was recommended. She remembers the moment as one characterised by dark clouds and shame as her mother struggled to accept the reality. But the two were not ready to surrender to failure. Soon after, she was given another chance to prove herself, resitting four subjects. The result, however, was the same as before.

“I got fed up with failure. My mother had invested so much and it would have been unfair for me to expect her to invest more when she was getting no returns. There were no proud moments, I was just a daughter who managed to elude scandals. But I had a purpose and I decided to take matters into my own hands,”she stated.


Watt was off to school again, studying at an evening institution. There she acquired two subjects, raising the tally to four then later to six. She was now on her way to taste sweet victory.

Enrolling at The University of the West Indies Open Campus in Morant Bay to pursue supervisory management and counselling was one of the best decisions she has ever made. Watt also sat the Secretarial Qualifying Examination at Management Institute for National Development (MIND), which afforded her a place at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation.

“I’ve thought to myself how good God had been to me, moving me from a place where I struggled to pass subjects and excelling in higher education courses. It feels awesome.”

She proudly continued: “In 2017, I felt empty because I was convinced that more was in store for me, so I had dialogue with a close friend who is now my mentor, seeking advice regarding furthering my education. I subsequently went on a college hunt and, thankfully, one of my coworkers introduced me to the Jamaica Theological Seminary, and now, here I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a minor in Guidance and Counselling.”

Watt endeavours to persuade others who are struggling academically to get inspired by her story. And as she continues to encourage others to find their purpose and act upon it she says: “Never quit! Push towards your goal and believe in yourself. Philippians 3:14 states, ‘I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’.”