Twelve-year-old Christina Williams has long dreamt of donning the grey tunic of the Montego Bay High School in St. James.
“It was the school my mother attended,” the recent Howard Cooke Primary School graduate tells JIS News.
It was, therefore, no surprise that when it came time to make selections for high school, the prestigious all-girl institution was first on her list.
Christiana’s dream is now reality, as not only will she be attending Montego Bay High in September after her outstanding performance in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) but also she was the top-performing student at Howard Cooke Primary.
Christina tells JIS News that she is proud of her accomplishment, which she credited to hard work and family support.
While studying, she juggled several extracurricular activities and was a prefect and group leader for her grade-six class as well as a member of the Junior Schools’ Challenge Quiz and cultural quiz teams.
Christina says she is excited to start Montego Bay High in September and knows she will have to maintain the same level of dedication, which has got her to this point in her academic life.
The future surgeon is also anxious to be a part of the prestigious high school’s science programme, as she hopes it will help to propel her towards her career goal.
Christina’s mother, Kerry-Ann Reid-Williams, tells JIS News that she is not surprised that her daughter emerged the top PEP student at Howard Cooke Primary, noting that she has set a precedence of hard work and determination over the years, which laid the foundation for this achievement.
“From first grade, she has always placed first or second in her classes, so I kind of expected it, but you know you want to see it in black and white. So when I heard that she was going to Montego Bay High School, I was very proud of her… and the teachers (at Howard Cooke) were also very proud of her, because I think they expected it as well,” she says.
Mrs. Reid-Williams notes that Christina’s ambition to attend Montego Bay High has always been clear, and she worked to achieve her goal.
“She is very committed. She did a lot of [exam preparations] on her own. In terms of homework, I didn’t have to check, as she ensured that it was done even when she was a part of the school’s quiz team,” she says.
“There were times when she got home at six or seven o’clock and if she could not finish her homework at that time, she would get up in the morning before school and ensure that it is done,” she adds.
Mrs. Reid-Williams says she expects her daughter to continue on the same trajectory of excellence when she attends Montego Bay High.
For her part, grade-6 teacher at Howard Cooke Primary, Tameka Allen, tells JIS News Christina is an exemplary student.
“The very first time I met her in September, I realised that this was an ardent worker. She really knew what she wanted and she was always motivated to achieve her goals. She would be consistent in her work and ensure that every single task that was given she would complete it in a timely manner,” she says.
“In terms of her preparing for the exams, she would always be on task. She would resist the urge to be distracted by her peers or just about anything that was there to hamper her learning, and she would just stay focused on doing her best,” Ms. Allen notes.
“If Christina does a task and makes an error, she doesn’t just settle for it; she needs to know why she got a particular question incorrect.
She would come to me and ask ‘Miss could you please clarify why I got this wrong, what I need to do’, and I would explain to her what she needs to do going forward. She was never a child who settled… . She would always try to do her best and continue to improve,” Ms. Allen adds.
She tells JIS News that Christina has a genuine love for learning and did extra research as part of her assignments, which she would share with the entire class.
“So the students respected her for that and they wanted to be in her company to listen to the information that she has learned,” she says.
“I pray that she continues on her academic journey, stays focused and does her best [as] we [teachers at Howard Cooke] are just looking for great things from her in the future,” Ms. Reid says.