• Feature
    Jonathan Grant High School’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer Orville McKellop, reads a book from the library at his school.
    Photo: Dave Reid

    Story Highlights

    • Top performer in the 2019 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at the Jonathan Grant High School, Orville McKellop, says the challenge of outperforming his class, was not an easy one.
    • Orville, who is 18-years-old, has been struggling with a genetic disorder known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also called Brittle Bone Disease.
    • He says the disease, along with other difficulties, were challenges he was elated to have overcome, to be successful in his studies.

    Top performer in the 2019 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at the Jonathan Grant High School, Orville McKellop, says the challenge of outperforming his class, was not an easy one.

    Orville, who is 18-years-old, has been struggling with a genetic disorder known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also called Brittle Bone Disease.

    He says the disease, along with other difficulties, were challenges he was elated to have overcome, to be successful in his studies.

    “It’s a huge honour to be the top student here,” Orville, who is from Waterloo district in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, tells JIS News.

    Jonathan Grant High School’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer Orville McKellop.

     

    He attained 10 subjects in CSEC gaining grade one in English Language, Information Technology, Principles of Business and Principles of Accounts and grade two in Mathematics, Geography, Social Studies, Human and Social Biology, Office Administration and Visual Arts.

    Orville is now a Lower Sixth Form student at Jonathan Grant High, pursuing Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Art and Design and Communication Studies at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level.

    With his school on the shift system, Orville says he took advantage of this, by going to school early to study.

    “I would get here at 9 o’clock, although my shift starts at 11:30, and I would pick one subject [and study] and it’s usually one that I see myself lacking in and I would go through it until it is time for me to go to class,” he tells JIS News.

    Osteogenesis Imperfecta has caused Orville to undergo surgeries and to be absent from school on occasions.

    Nonetheless, Orville says he used his recovery time, to teach himself a skill in graphic art.

    “During my time in and out of hospital [and while recovering at home], I found that creating things on my computer was very therapeutic. I used that to take my mind off the fact that I’m currently recovering from my surgery, and eventually it evolved into something more that I now want to pursue,” he states.

    “Being in a hospital is quite draining on my sanity, so I had to find something to keep me as active as possible,” he adds.

    Jonathan Grant High School’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer Orville McKellop (right) shares in conversation with his friends from left: Brandon Sancko and Jordan Henry.

     

    While admitted at the Spanish Town Hospital, he said his classmates would visit and share their notes.

    With his love for graphic art and accounting, Orville intends to pursue two different career fields.

    “I want to become a Chartered Accountant and a Graphic Designer, so I chose the CAPE subjects I am now pursuing because they are most suited for my career path,” he notes.

    “Being a Graphic Artist [will be] more of a hobby, than profession [for me], but at some point I do look to become certified in that area,” he adds.

     He tells JIS News that separate and apart from school, living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta has not been easy for him and his mother, Patricia Hayles, who works as a janitor.

    “For the most part, she [my mother] does her best to help me out… When I was still recovering, she would come by the school gate to take me home, and other times, when I was on the morning shift, she would carry me home earlier and leave for work,” he states.

    Jonathan Grant High School’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer Orville McKellop (3rd left) shares in conversation with from left: Brandon Sancko; Requran Brown; and Jordan Henry.

     

    He says another major challenge is coping with people who sometimes look down on him because of his condition.

    “Some people don’t understand what it [my condition] is. Some try to understand, while in some cases I am babied, while others just really don’t understand,” Orville states.

    He is however grateful that some people take the time to understand him better, such as his former driver, Junior Hamilton.

    Orville states that his daily motivation is to do his best at all times.

    “I just want try and do better than I did the last time, because looking back each day, you tend to look at yourself and say I know that I could have done better, so today, I’m going to try and do better,” he says.