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Jovani McLaughlin attributes academic success to family and Christian teachings

Published:Saturday | July 13, 2019 | 12:11 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jovani McLaughlin’s parents, who he says, are his tower of strength, Dianna and Sheldon.
Jovani McLaughlin’s parents, who he says, are his tower of strength, Dianna and Sheldon.

Mandeville, Manchester:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

Isaiah 11:6

He is wise beyond his years and brilliant in everything he does.

Yet, he takes no credit for what he has done and is capable of doing, because he knows the Almighty is the reason for his successes.

“How I grew up is a part of the reason for my success so far. The first time I can recall winning anything was when I entered the United Church South Middlesex public speaking competition representing Ridgemount (United Church) in the 3-7 age category. If I were not in the church, maybe I would not have been a part of that and won over the years. I have moved up in different categories, and either won or came second. These have help me to be an outspoken person,” said 11-year-old Jovani McLaughlin.

The only child for both parents, who remains hopeful that he will one day get a sibling, says he has always been a leader more so than a follower because of how he was raised.

“Prayer is very important in our family. I have been attending Ridgemount from birth, and I have worshipped the Lord all my life. My parents ensure that I am present at church to give God of my time. I decided to make the big decision, and so I got baptised last Good Friday. My family was so happy I did: they say being a Christian will help me to make right choices and hopefully, not have the wrong people as friends. But, I am not easily led by friends; I am more a leader than a follower because I know what I want.”

support system

With a supportive host of aunts, uncles and godparents, Jovani said he has been able to undertake curricula activities in swimming, taekwondo, chess, badminton and won several awards for particular areas, locally and internationally.

“My motto is, ‘Life happens only once, so make the best of it’. My parents are very active in my life and they do not let me waste any time. I have a schedule from I wake up till I go to bed: I play the piano and am a yellow belt in taekwondo. I have also been the top boy for years at my prep school and top speller. I have done well academically and I want to thank my teachers. I recently sat the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) which placed me at Manchester High School with very good scores.”

With a plan to take up cake baking and decorating class this summer, and try to be half the cook his mother is, Jovani said he has even enrolled in CSEC classes with his best friend, Kodia, and may take the subjects religious education and social studies in second form.

“One of my favourite teachers, Mrs Thomas, has told me I have what it takes to be head boy in high school as I have much potential as long as don’t make the wrong group of people my friends. I plan to attend school overseas at the end of fifth form, to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I don’t always get it right, but God is the centre of our lives, and so in all I do I will keep serving Him. After becoming a doctor, I would like to be the prime minister of Jamaica,” the 11-year-old added.

At a time when teens and young adults continue to be ridiculed for holding dear to Christian principles, Jovani says it doesn’t bother him.

“Don’t be concerned with people who jeer you for being Christians; those people don’t know any better. The world can only become a better place if you do the Lord’s will – and most people wish for better world.

“My mother is a good example of someone who believes in hard work and encourages me daily to work hard. My father encourages me to be kind and respectful and have a good attitude towards people. He always says all the money in the world is useless if I have the wrong attitude. As soon as I step out of line he gets me right on track. I try to be kind to other people – maybe that’s why I am seen as a leader to people. I hope my life will serve our God and I will live a happy life,” he ended.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com