Working to secure future
JOHNOVAN KING AND JALITA WICKHAM are two academic stars from one of the island’s not often celebrated secondary schools.
As other schools recently celebrated scholarships and exhibitions, these two were this week celebrating successes of their own. As students of the Frederick Smith Secondary School, one of “the newer secondary schools”, King and Wickham leave with eight CXCs apiece and plan to go on to the next level of their education.
King has applied to the Barbados Community College (BCC) to pursue studies in information technology and government and politics. He has also applied to sixth form schools to pursue business management, maths and accounts. He left with grade II in English, electronic document preparation and management and social studies, grade III in mathematics, principals of accounts and chemistry.
Only this week, Wickham took her results to BCC hoping to enrol in the Sciences Faculty there, with a grade I in principles of business; grade II in English B and human and social biology, and grade III in English A, chemistry, mathematics, history and information technology.
Principal Jefferson Phillips singled out the two this year although he admitted that there were others who had done equally well – such as Jaire McCallister, who left with eight passes over a two-year period, and Sherese Gibson, another student with seven passes over that same period.
“I can’t say we’ve seen massive improvements in terms of the school’s overall performance this year, but what I can say is that we did enter more students in the CXC exams than we did last year,” he said.
He explained that there were some students who left with eight subjects over two years, and this year there were two students with six passes at one sitting; five with five subjects in the year’s sitting and ten with four subjects in this year alone.
As for King and Wickham, they are focusing on the future. While King is not sure what direction that will take – he is still deciding if he wants to follow through on his early dreams to become a doctor or pursue a different line of career – Wickham is firmly set in her vision to become a pharmacist.
King admitted that time management had been his biggest challenge in preparing for his CXC exams, but with his parents and teachers behind him, he was able to pull through.
“They sat with me, worked with me and helped me through. During the school term I would have been struggling a bit with chemistry and accounts. My teachers even put in time outside of the regular school hours to work with me,” he added, expressing his appreciation for the extra help that led him to this point.
His academic counterpart, on the other hand, is celebrating being one step closer to her dream.
“I was accepted to BCC. I got my letter [Tuesday] for full-time in pharmacy. I always liked the idea of dealing with medicines and I also want to experiment with making my own . . . . It is not only that, but I took in the sciences more so than the business subjects, so it was easier for me to choose sciences,” said Wickham, 17.
The young Christian of four years, who has been a leader in her school’s Inter-school Christian Fellowship (ISCF), as well as a worship leader at her Black Rock-based church, said her grades surprised her because of her sometimes hectic extracurricular schedule.
“In my first year [in lower fifth form] I was a prefect, the vice-president of ISCF, involved in netball and then I had normal school business and church stuff.
“The last year, in upper fifth was the most difficult because I had to balance everything along with being head girl, balance my academics, check up on my senior prefects, my prefects, my ISCF and I had to drop netball that year,” she said, adding that she kept a strict schedule for studying from Sunday back to Saturday to ensure her work was still up to scratch.
On Friday Wickham learned that she had won the Rock & Sealy Scholarship, which is offered by two past students of the former St James Secondary School.
That scholarship will cover all the associated costs of her three-year associate degree is pharmacology at the BCC including books and all fees.
The daughter of Patricia Searles and Trevor Wickham said she was very much looking forward to her future, placing God squarely in the forefront.
(Green Bananas Media)