Feature
Twelve-year old Rhoanna Burnett will be attending the St. Andrew-based Immaculate Conception High School in September.
Photo: Contributed

Since the results of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) were announced in June, a permanent smile has been etched on the face of Allison Nevers, knowing that her daughter, Rhoanna Burnett, will be attending the prestigious Immaculate Conception High School in St. Andrew come September.

Miss Nevers, a single mother of five, who works as a janitor and part-time security guard at the St. Catherine-based St. John’s Primary School that her daughter attended, tells JIS News that Rhoanna’s accomplishment “is like wining the Lotto”.

“All now mi can’t stop smiling. It is like my happiest moment; like winning the Lotto – that is how I feel.

“It lifts my spirit. Every morning I wake up happy and give God thanks and keep smiling. I worked hard with her and what I didn’t understand, I went and found a teacher who could help and I kept pushing her,” she shares.

She expresses gratitude to the teachers at St. John’s Primary for working with her daughter.

Miss Nevers, who has struggled financially to raise her children, says the success of her last child has been “the reward of my life”.

“God helped us through, and Him a guh help us through the next level,” she says.

Twelve-year-old Rhoanna, whose ambition is to become a medical doctor, tells JIS News that she is “happy and excited” to earn a place at Immaculate, which was her first-choice school.

She says her mother was the driving force behind her success.

Twelve-year old Rhoanna Burnett (left), and her mother, Allison Nevers, at the recent graduation ceremony of the St. John’s Primary School in St. Catherine.

 

“No matter how many times I made mistakes, she was always there pushing me and reminding me of values and things that I have to work towards,” she tells JIS News.

Meanwhile, Principal of St. John’s Primary School, Louise Clarke, tells JIS News that Rhoanna, who is the outgoing deputy head girl, has always been a high academic performer, who is disciplined and respectful to others.

She says the Rhoanna balanced her studies with extracurricular activities, and was a member of the junior school’s challenge quiz team.

Miss Clarke says Rhoanna is well known to all members of staff, as she spent a lot of time at school while her mother worked.

“She always had her books, always reading or watching educational programmes on her device,” she notes.

Rhoanna Burnett (left), is being pinned as deputy head girl for the 2019/2020 school year, by Principal of St. John’s Primary School in St. Catherine, Louise Clarke (right). Looking on in the background are: Senior Vice Principal of the school, Cynthia Dawkins (left); and Vice Principal, Rosena Slater.

 

Miss Clarke says she admires Rhoanna’s deportment, noting that she carries herself with “such dignity” and she commands the respect and admiration of other students.

“Rhoanna has been an inspiration, even before these results. She lives and carries herself in a way that commanded respect, without asking for it,” she notes.

The Principal says Rhoanna’s mother has been a tower of strength in her daughter’s academic life, “ensuring that she questions everything, including reaching out to the vice principals and principal, until she got it right”.

“It is because of her interest in her child that this mother would ‘bother’ her teachers until she got a response to a project that she or the child did not understand,” Miss Clarke adds.

The Principal notes that while Rhoanna is one of many students who have brought glory to the school as a result of PEP, she is the only one to earn a place at Immaculate.

She says the entire school community shares in the achievement and “we are praying so that she can make it through. We know that the only thing that can hinder Rhoanna’s success is finances,” she says.

PEP involves a series of assessments, starting from grade four and culminating in grade 6. The three categories of assessment are Performance Task, Ability Test and a Curriculum-Based Test.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, grade-six students were not able to sit all components of PEP this year.

Students were place in high school based on the results of the grade-four literacy and numeracy exams done in 2018, the grade-five PEP Performance Task in 2019, and the grade-six Ability Test done in February of this year.

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