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Herbert Morrison head girl proves power of determination

Published:Tuesday | August 27, 2019 | 12:13 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Mickala Murray
Mickala Murray

Falling ill was the last thing Mickala Murray imagined while preparing for her exams.

The Herbert Morrison Technical High School head girl was diagnosed with Type Two diabetes in January, just four months shy of the start of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Murray was registered to sit eight subjects, all of which had a student-based assessment (SBA) component.

“It posed a challenge for me. I couldn’t see. My vision went out. While doing my SBAs and studying for exams, my mom had to read to me. When I was doing my SBAs, as I typed, she would read and ensure that I’m not making any mistakes,” Murray told The Gleaner.

The 17-year-old said her self-esteem also took a hit, but she reassured herself that she could overcome the hurdle.

“Being at school, when people are used to you having a much thicker body, they would say, ‘Oh, Mickala! Yuh tek off a lot of weight’!” she said.

Specialised care

Murray said after the initial diagnosis, she was given insulin for two weeks, but her sugar levels did not fall. Her vision continued to worsen, but opticians could not help her because of the high sugar level.

The teen sought specialised care from an endocrinologist and found out that her pancreas was producing sufficient insulin but her body was failing to use it properly.

Murray missed school for three weeks while she was being treated.

“My teachers played a major role in helping me to get all my CSEC subjects. I got extra time to send in my SBAs,” she said. “When it was near to do my exams, my left eye was still blurred, while I was able to see [clearly] out of my right eye.”

Murray received four grade ones, three grade twos and a grade three and has been accepted to Caribbean Maritime University to pursue studies in customs and immigration. She said travelling from an early age, coupled with the fact that her aunt is an immigration officer, influenced her decision.

While her vision is back to normal, she is still on medication to increase her body’s sensitivity to insulin.

“Your present situation is not your final destination,” is her advice to students who are diagnosed with an illness.