Nineteen-year-old Nevinne Blake of Anchovy High School, in St. James, has attained five distinctions in the 2020 sitting of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Unit 2, earning her the title of top-performing CAPE student at the institution.
Nevinne received grade one in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pure Mathematics and Caribbean Studies, paving the way for her pursue the dream of becoming a Nurse or a Pharmacist.
Recognising the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on the normal operations of school, Nevinne tells JIS News that she doubled down on her studies, as she was determined to score the highest attainable grades in her exams.
“I knew it would have been more difficult to get the distinctions, even though I knew that I studied hard and spent hours studying with my friends. I also invited other students from other schools on Zoom to study each subject. I was nervous at first but when I checked and I saw the grades, I was so excited because I knew I put out the work and getting these distinctions would mean so much to me and it would be an easier way to get into the course I want to do,” she adds.
Having lost her father while in grade 7, Nevinne said she was also determined to make her mother proud, as she made numerous sacrifices to ensure she fulfils her academic goals.
“It was my mom alone. She was so excited and so proud of me because she was saying ‘it’s hard’, knowing that it’s her alone doing the work to send me to school and I know she would have been hurt if I did not go out and perform as best as I could, so she was so proud,” Nevinne says.
The high achiever is no stranger to success.
She also has under her belt nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, with grade one in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Human and Social Biology, Mathematics, English A, English B, and Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPM); grade two in Agricultural Science and five CAPE Unit One subjects, attaining grade one in Biology and Communication Studies; grade two in Physics and Chemistry and grade three in Pure Mathematics.
Nevinne also copped first place in academic performance in her class from grades 7 to 13.
“I am a person who strives to do the best at all times,” she tells JIS News.
Nevinne’s success did not come without some challenges, one of which was having to leave home in the deep rural community of Bethel Town, Westmoreland, from as early as 5:50 a.m. in order to get to school on time.
A member of Anchovy High’s 2019 and 2020 Schools’ Challenge Quiz team, she says that over the years, she used the time spent waiting for public transportation and the 30 minutes journey to and from school, to study.
“What I would do is use my phone and look at e-books and read them, so the time would not be wasted,” she notes.
Nevinne has her sights firmly set on attending the University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston. However, due to financial constraints, she is hoping to land a scholarship to further her studies.
“I wanted to start this year, but the finance wasn’t there, so now I am currently looking for scholarships to commence my studies, because I know that an investment in me is an investment in Jamaica,” she says.
Nevinne was also active in several clubs at Anchovy High, including Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) and Science.
She served as a Form Leader from grades 7 to 11 and was appointed Prefect in grades 12 and 13.
She is encouraging students not to frown upon non-traditional high schools, noting that their ability to succeed is based on their drive and determination and not the educational institution.
“A lot of people belittle students who pass for non-traditional high schools and those negative comments can affect the student. So, I want to tell them that the school you attend does not define who you are as a person, but what defines you is what you are willing to aim for. Dream big,” Nevinne advises.