Kyla Campbell sticks balancing act
12-y-o multi-disciplinary athlete in 100th PEP percentile; lands spot at Campion
As an active and outstanding athlete, holding the title as Sports Day’s champion girl and track star, swimming competitively, and representing Jamaica at the USA World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) Classics, Kyla Campbell excels in sports and academics. She recently earned the top performer award from Creative Kids Learning Academy (CKLA) for the Primary Exit Profile examination during one of the most unstable academic years the world has ever seen.
Kyla’s elementary education began at Creative Kids Learning Academy in Kingston, where her love for gymnastics was born. Unlike some schools where gymnastics is optional, it was mandatory at CKLA and considered a necessary element of a holistic curriculum.
The adults in Kyla’s life consistently sing her praises for her excellent work ethic and ability to excel at anything she sets her mind to achieve. Principal of CKLA, Haidi-Kaye Holmes, shared that Kyla is an exceptional student, not only academically, but in any task that she undertakes. “She is always intrinsically motivated. During her preparation for PEP, she set a personal goal of 100 per cent, but rather than trying to dim that in her, we assisted her in getting there.” And get there she did, ranking in the 100th percentile in her PEP examinations and advancing to the esteemed Campion College.
ONE OF THE BEST STUDENTS
Teacher Eulie Mantock, the proprietor of Mantock’s Guide, an online educational programme for children studying for high-school entrance exams, adds that she has been one of her best students throughout her teaching career. “Kyla is every teacher’s dream student. She possesses an excellent work attitude, working consistently and always completing her activities ahead of schedule. Additionally, she is never afraid to seek clarification on anything that challenges her and is fortunate to have parents who are actively involved in her learning process.”
One important concept for understanding Kyla’s success is the power of ‘yet’ - a way of living instilled at CKLA. It’s a fairly simple concept - take every statement about yourself which reflects exclusively on your failures, such as ‘I can’t do this,’ or ‘I’m not good at this,’ and add the word ‘yet’ to the end of it. For example, ‘I can’t do this yet. I’m not good at this yet.’ It emphasises a sense of continuous improvement, the notion that limitations are only temporary and can be overcome. In short, it keeps one in a growth mindset rather than a fixed one.
‘NOT EASILY SWAYED’
With the values of her upbringing and school firmly implated, Holmes believes Kyla’s future is bright. “Kyla is self-aware, not easily swayed, and very determined. Her attitude transcends into everything she does, and we look forward to what lies ahead of her and what Campion will help to nurture even more,” said Holmes.
Ask any professional athlete, and they will tell you that the secret to success is to filter out everything that is going on around you and focus on the immediate task ahead — and that’s what Kyla did during her final year of her primary-level education. Although the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought the new reality of online schooling and the ever-changing government PEP exams, Kyla still managed to train for 20 hours a week in gymnastics while maintaining her academic excellence.
Gymnastics is a very physically demanding sport, and like all sports, engenders a high level of discipline. Students set long-term goals for the things they want to do, sometimes as far as years in the future. Then, they are encouraged to practise until they have achieved their goals. Such discipline teaches children that a plan is essential if you want to achieve goals. Though the road may be long and complex, you’ll find yourself doing things you would never have thought possible with hard work and determination. Nishida’s Gymnastics, in particular, employs coaches that do their best to create a positive, encouraging environment for the children who practise there. They listen to any concerns the children may have and give individualised advice rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The trusting relationship Kyla built with her coaches and the other girls at Nishida’s, and the role that played in increasing her sense of confidence and self-worth, cannot be overstated.
Any account of her life would be incomplete without mentioning the vital role her parents played in instilling in her a sense of discipline and the value of hard work. Kyla’s parents, Marvin and Aisha Campbell, believe in the “student-parent-school triangle” method of childrearing, which sees a child’s education as the joint responsibility of all three parties, emphasising accountability.
First, the school must provide adequate information and create a favourable learning environment. Second, the parents must teach their child to have a genuine zeal for learning and a proper work ethic. Finally, the child must take responsibility for their attitude towards school and push himself or herself to persevere even when it seems complicated. The saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and Kyla’s parents believe it also takes a village to teach one - too many parents expect the school to cover every aspect of a child’s education.
But beyond her academic excellence, Kyla is humble, with a quiet disposition. Her peers consider her a leader among them because they know they can count on her for guidance. Moreover, she possesses the trait that sets true leaders apart: a calming spirit. Add to that dedication, dependability, and focus, and you have the winning attributes that makes Kyla a Jamaican-born and bred Olympic hopeful.