National Child Month Committee (NCMC) member, Lyneve McLeish (left) presenting Wadada Dixon (right) with her award for being the top 2020 performer in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams earlier this month.
Photo: Contributed

With 18 subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, 14 of them with distinction, it is no surprise that Wadada Dixon was named the top performer at this year’s staging of the National Child Month Committee (NCMC) youth forum and academic achievement awards.

The 16-year-old Denbigh High School student is among 21 pupils from 16 non-traditional high schools across the island, who were recognised by the NCMC for outstanding CSEC performance for 2019 and 2020, during a virtual ceremony on Friday (November 20).

The World Children’s Day event recognised the accomplishments of young persons from non-traditional high schools in each parish who have not only achieved academic excellence at the CSEC level but have also demonstrated a spirit of volunteerism.

Wadada, who is the toast of Denbigh High and her Portland Cottage community in Clarendon, does not take her high academic achievement for granted.

In fact, she sees it as an important stepping stone towards even greater accomplishment.

The young achiever, in a video presentation on behalf of the NCMC award recipients, said that her mother, Latoya Knight, has always instilled in her and her siblings the value of education.

“In my home, my mother made it a responsibility to ensure that her children understood the significance of attaining a sound education,” she noted.

She said that the academic journey for her and the other awardees was not easy, noting that the challenges were compounded by the suspension of face-to-face classes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But despite the adversities, she said, “we stood resilient, courageous and mighty; we did not surrender to failure. We are victors”.

Wadada thanked their parents, colleagues, teachers and even strangers who supported them, as well as the NCMC, which has rewarded their hard work.

“We appreciate it all and we promise to continue to walk on the path of academic excellence,” she pledged.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, congratulated the young scholars and encouraged them to continue to pursue excellence.

“Continue to work hard, continue to excel because we know that with hard work, with dedication, a kind spirit and a pure heart you can achieve significantly more than you have so far,” he said.

He expressed the Ministry’s support for the World Children’s Day event as well as any activity that supports the promotion of excellence and the upliftment of outstanding young people, especially with the challenges that they have had to endure this year.

Mr. Morgan said that “an investment in children is an investment in the future development of the nation and the investment when done properly will not only result in significant economic [growth] but a better society”.

He commended the NCMC, parents of the awardees and all those who continue to focus on children, their interest, safety and what the country can do to improve their outcome.

Chairperson of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, for her part, said she was thrilled that the Committee was able to select award recipients from all 14 parishes.

She congratulated them and urged them to continue to excel.

“Go shine and encourage someone else to aim high and demonstrate a spirit of excellence in everything you do. We award you, we applaud you, we celebrate you,” she said.

Due to the coronavirus, the awards recipients were previously presented with their award and prizes, which include cash, gift baskets, book vouchers and a plaque.

The youth forum and academic awards culminated activities by the NCMC to celebrate the nation’s children, starting in May, under the theme ‘Unplug Negativity, Connect Positivity…Think!!!’.

The NCMC aims to increase awareness about the issues affecting children and what can be done to help alleviate them, and at the same time celebrate the children’s successes.

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