• Feature
    Tarrant High School’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer, Feona Cameron (second left), is a picture of concentration in her lower-sixth-form class, at the beginning of the 2019/20 academic year.
    Photo: Dave Reid

    Story Highlights

    • Emerging as the top performer in the 2019 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at Tarrant High School in Kingston, has been a thrilling experience for Feona Cameron.
    • The achievement has been even more significant, as Feona’s other four siblings did not finish high school.
    • Feona tells JIS News that she was determined to be the first one in her family to successfully complete her secondary education, and she did so in grand style.

    Emerging as the top performer in the 2019 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at Tarrant High School in Kingston, has been a thrilling experience for Feona Cameron.

    The achievement has been even more significant, as Feona’s other four siblings did not finish high school.

    Feona tells JIS News that she was determined to be the first one in her family to successfully complete her secondary education, and she did so in grand style.

    The 18-year-old, who was left to be raised by her older sister in the volatile community of Flanker in St. James, rose above her challenging circumstances and even surprised herself in the examination.

    The aspiring paediatric nurse successfully sat seven subjects in CSEC, gaining grade one in English Language, grade two in Social Studies, Information Technology and Office Administration, and grade three in Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. She also gained grade two for Visual Arts in CAPE.

    Asked how she felt about being named the top CSEC performer, Feona said: “Honestly, I was surprised. I have been working hard but I didn’t expect it, but I am very thrilled.”

    A Prefect at Tarrant High in Sixth Form, Feona says although she is very happy with her performance, she is somewhat disappointed that she did not achieve more grade ones, and that she had challenges in Mathematics and Chemistry.

    “Chemistry was kind of hard, because our teacher had a stroke and was out for about three or so months and we got a new teacher and it was hard to pick up with the new teacher, because her teaching strategy was different,” she says, noting that the difficulties arose close to the examinations.

    Feona tells JIS News that many of her classmates, including herself, had to complete the syllabus on their own by studying with the help of You Tube videos.

    “I was worried and afraid in the exam room, but I tried my best. I did most of the questions and even the questions that I didn’t know, I had read over the topics, so I was able to attempt them and put a little knowledge on the paper,” she says.

    Tarrant High School Principal, Paul Hall, in discussion with the school’s top Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) performer, Feona Cameron, at the school, prior to the start of the 2019/20 academic year.

     

    “Most of the questions were from the back of the syllabus and we were not able to get to those topics, so it was hard,” she adds.

    When asked about family support, Feona says her parents are not really present in her life, except for the occasional phone call.

    However, she tells JIS News that her guardian, with whom she has lived since moving to Kingston, has been a great mother figure and role model, and has motivated her to do her best.

    “I wanted to make her proud along with my siblings, because they never got the chance to finish high school, so I am the youngest and the first to complete it and I am happy about it,” Feona says, adding that her siblings are very happy with her performance.

    According to Feona, she was raised by her older sister, but briefly went to live with her father and his mother when her sister migrated.

    However, she says she was not happy and did not feel like a part of the family and it affected her, which resulted in her obtaining very low grades while she was in ninth grade at St James High.

    Consequently, she moved to live in Kingston with her guardian and enrolled at Tarrant High. With this change, the teenager says she was determined to do well.

    “When I came here in 2016, I came first in the class and I made it on the honour roll and I was selected for prefect, so I felt proud. I told myself that I am in a new environment and it would be good to have a change and do something good for myself,” she tells JIS News.

    Feona says the absence of her parents has affected her mentally and emotionally. “You know you need your parents, especially a father figure. I cry many times, even when I’m at school and sometimes I reflect on my life, and when students are talking about their parents, it really makes me emotional,” she adds.

    Feona says she has no idea why her parents have not been in her life, but she has grown to accept it, and because of their absence and what she has experienced emotionally, she tries to help others and be there for them in any way she can.