JIS News

Unassuming and crisply dressed in his St. George’s College uniform, Bruce Walker beams with pride as he tells JIS News, how he overcame the odds to focus on his studies, and achieve the grades he has in the recently administered Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).
All eyes were on West Kingston in late May, when the security forces carried out operations there, but the Tivoli Gardens resident says he stuck to his study schedule as much as he possibly could, as always in his mind, despite everything that was happening around him, was his father’s mantra of the importance of education.
This determination resulted in the 18 year-old achieving Chemistry (Grade II), Caribbean Studies (Grade III) and Physics (Grade IV), with his only failure being in Mathematics, which ironically is his favourite subject. Bruce says he plans to re-sit Mathematics as he moves on to Upper Sixth Form, where he will sit unit two in all his subjects.
“I tried hard to study when the security forces came in, because it was during the examination period. I wasn’t really worried.I was a little afraid for my life and that of my family,” he tells JIS News.
On the days when he had to sit the examinations, Bruce says he was escorted by the police out of Tivoli Gardens, and he stayed with a school mate’s family and from there, went to the sittings at Ardenne High School.
A lover of football, and with skills in that sport, Bruce says he may pursue a scholarship, as he has plans to attend university.
The young man speaks with pride and respect about his father, Melbourn Walker, describing him as a disciplinarian and the “backbone” of his family, which include three siblings, and his mother.
“He normally tells us about his past to motivate us to do better, because he didn’t have an easy life growing up. He tells us that we have to work hard.we have to do our school work, as school work is the key; keep focused and don’t get distracted. Mommy is cool, she deals with the nutritional part, and the nurturing, making sure that everybody is alright,” Bruce explains.
Turning to his community, and its transformation, the student says a lot has changed since May. “You don’t see people on the road as much. It’s just different. If you live there you can feel the difference in the people. Probably after this, children will start to stay in more and do their schoolwork,” he asserts.
Bruce believes that eventually Tivoli Gardens will be a better place, as the residents’ eyes have been opened to a new reality, a new way of life. “I don’t think they chose to do it (disobey the law), it’s just the way they grew up.now they will be able to reflect and see that it was wrong,” he says.
He notes that businesses are back up and running, and that things appear to be returning to normal. The budding chemist and forensic scientist uses the opportunity to encourage other students and young persons to keep their heads above the water. “Just believe that you can do it, and do it,” he urges.
In August, Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness expressed satisfaction with the results of the CXC exams sat by West Kingston students during the May unrest. “I am satisfied, based on the explanations given that the (results) were statistically correct but, moreso that (CXC) was equitable in their application,” he told a media briefing regarding the results of the exams, at the Overseas Examinations Commission (OEC) in Kingston.
The Minister said he was further encouraged by the fact that CXC took the time to analyse each student’s performance on a script-by-script basis.

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