Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Fitzroy Wickham ‘bright from him born’ - Brown’s Town celebrates 2021 Rhodes Scholar

Published:Monday | November 23, 2020 | 12:14 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Fitzroy Wickham
Fitzroy Wickham
Fitzroy Wickham
Fitzroy Wickham
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Fitzroy Wickham’s selection as the 2021 Rhodes Scholar has put the York Castle High alumnus among prestigious company as he joins a list of outstanding Jamaicans who have been awarded the honour over decades.

Wickham’s success, however, has come as no surprise to several persons in his home parish.

“Fitzroy has been doing exceptionally well from primary school. As a matter of fact, from Brown’s Town Infant School, where he was the top student, then Brown’s Town Primary School,” his mother, Florence Wickham, told The Gleaner on Sunday.

“Everybody in Brown’s Town is excited,” said Mrs Wickham, adding that the pastor of the Fitzroy’s home church, Brown’s Town Baptist, was praying for the academic prize among the excited faithful.

Mrs Wickham said she was having dinner when Fitzroy called her with the news on Friday. She was so thrilled she couldn’t finish her meal.

“We’re all excited. I’m excited, and God is good,” Mrs Wickham stated.

After his exploits at his earlier schools, Mr Wickham’s brilliance continued at York Castle High, where he was the top performer in Jamaica in 2014 in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, scoring 12 passes at grade one.

“I expected to do well, but not this well, to be top-performing student,” he told The Gleaner back in 2014.

Six years later, as he pursues ambitions of becoming a neurosurgeon at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA, Mr Wickham said that he has deep gratitude about the accomplishment and the new chapter of his life.

“It is an amazing feeling to know that I am Jamaica’s 2021 Rhodes Scholar!” the 22-year-old exclaimed when contacted by The Gleaner.

Mr Wickham believes his long list of achievements would have factored in him being awarded the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship. However, he also acknowledged the outstanding performances of other finalists on the shortlist.

He said the scholarship has opened many doors for him.

“First of all, I will be able to complete my postgraduate studies without breaking my mother’s pocket. It has always been a dream of mine to complete a doctoral degree, and now the path is paved.

“Secondly, with this platform and the support of the Rhodes Trust, I can undertake initiatives that are dear to my heart. I have a deep desire to inspire people across Jamaica, who, like me, grew up in the often forgotten rural area,” said Mr Wickham.

The Rhodes Scholarship covers all university and college fees, the university application fee, a personal stipend, airfare to Oxford University in the United Kingdom and back home at the end of the scholarship. Mr Wickham is expected to take up tenure in October 2021.

ST ANN OVERJOYED

Meanwhile, principal of York Castle, Raymon Treasure, said the school family is extremely proud of Wickham’s latest accomplishment,

“Achieving the Rhodes Scholarship is a tremendous feat, and it was a part of our vision to bring this award to Brown’s Town. Fitzroy has remained steadfast in his quest for academic excellence and in the process, he has consistently lifted the academic profile of York Castle,” Treasure said.

Former St Ann North West Member of Parliament Dr Dayton Campbell, who made a special award to Mr Wickham in 2014 at his annual education awards ceremony, said the York Castle alumnus has the potential to leave an indelible mark on Jamaica and the world.

“I am all agog to see where Fitzroy’s journey will take him,” Campbell said. “I want to wholeheartedly congratulate him for the work he has done and to celebrate with him and his family. They are so humble and industrious” Campbell added.

Mr Wickham’s list of thank yous is long, with God, his mother, and sister Kimberly praised “for their love and unwavering support”.

“To everyone who offered a kind thought, gave their well-wishes, or said a word of prayer on my behalf, thank you!” the Christian exclaimed.

editorial@gleanerjm.com