• Cops 5 ones in CAPE
• Seeking funding to pursue medicine
Basking in the feat of his latest academic milestone, eighteen-year-old Rashaun Stewart is ecstatic. With five grades ones in the 2019 iteration of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), he has affirmed that he is overwhelmed by the results that he has achieved. With a total of twenty-three subjects and grade ones in nineteen of those subjects, Stewart has attained a prolific standard of achievement.
“I am overwhelmed,” he told the Western Mirror. “I predicted this very result, but for my predictions to materialize is evidence of Jehovah’s works in my life. Last year, I was quite disappointed by my subpar performance, but I feel that I have redeemed myself with this performance.”
Stewart sat twenty-three subjects in total at both the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and CAPE levels. He attained eleven subjects at the CSEC level, all with grade ones. These subjects are Biology, Chemistry, English A, English B, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business.
He also obtained twelve subjects at the CAPE level. Of those twelve subjects, eight are grade ones, namely: Biology Unit 1, Biology Unit 2, Chemistry Unit 1, Chemistry Unit 2, Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, Integrated Mathematics and Physics Unit 2. He obtained a grade two in Physics Unit 1 and grade threes in Applied Mathematics Unit 1, Pure Mathematics Unit 1 and Pure Mathematics Unit 2.
“I’m exceptionally grateful for my achievements,” Stewart affirmed. “I did not prepare as assiduously as I should have and I know that I did not earn all ones because of that. Nonetheless, Jehovah intervened on my behalf and the results are reflective of His benevolence. I believe that my strong sense of spirituality is the chief reason for the attainment of these nineteen ones.”
An alum of Cornwall College, the young man was actively engaged in a diverse range of co-curricular activities during his seven-year tenure at the all-boys institution. Stewart was an avid participant in the Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF), Students’ Council, Peer Counselling Society, Science and Environmental Club, 4-H Club, Mathematics Club, Debating Society and Interact Club. He also served in administrative roles as the Junior Mayor of Montego Bay 2016/17, the Head Boy of Cornwall College 2018/19 and the Region 4 Vice-President of the Jamaica Prefects’ Association. In addition, he was a member of the Schools’ Challenge Quiz team for two seasons.
“I think that my involvement in a host of co-curricular activities was somewhat problematic. I found that having to juggle the burden of a broad variety of responsibilities with maintaining a high academic standard was challenging. Quiz in particular occupied a significant portion of my time and serving as Head Boy did not at all help matters. If I were better able to allocate my time and invest effort into preparing, then I would have certainly obtained all ones. Nonetheless, I am quite grateful and proud of the achievement.”
Hailing from the community of Mount Salem in Montego Bay, Stewart entertains ambitions of pursuing a career in medicine. He intends to read for a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Thereafter, he intends to specialize in neurosurgery. The only impedance is the lack of funding for his aspirations and the high costs affiliated with pursuit of his chosen degree programme.
LACK OF FUNDING
This lack of funding was an issue that affected him prior to beginning his tenure at Cornwall College, but the 2012 Enid Davis Scholarship was awarded to him by the Jamaica Awareness Association of California (JAAC). This scholarship was a five-year renewable scholarship that funded him from grade seven through to eleven. It was renewed for a two-year stint in Sixth Form.
“There are several stakeholders I must thank. First and foremost, I definitely have to thank Jehovah for His everlasting grace, as always. I must also thank my parents and my grandmother for their support, guidance and love along every step of my journey. Several members of my extended family, particularly my granduncle Peter, as well as well-wishers and friends are also people who I must express gratitude to. Finally, I must thank the JAAC for granting me the scholarship that funded my secondary-level education. Without them, I would not have been where I am now.”
Going forward, Stewart is optimistic about his prospects for attaining another scholarship to fund his tertiary-level ambitions. He admitted that he has submitted applications for several scholarships and is presently awaiting confirmation. These scholarships will be used to account for the millions of dollars that pursuit of the MBBS degree will incur.
“The MBBS degree is perhaps the most expensive undergrad programme at UWI. It costs roughly $4 million per year for tuition alone,” the young scholar related. “I don’t have any sources of funding to pursue my dreams. To that end, I applied for all the scholarships that I’m eligible for and I sought as many other sources of funding I could, such as a student loan as well as bursaries and grants. I also submitted entries in writing competitions with cash prizes and I won one of them recently. By Jehovah’s grace, scholarships will materialize for me to pursue my dreams.”
Stewart had some words of advice for students. “It’s important for us to always retain a spirit of humility and gratitude on the journey to self-actualization. I’m certain that self-actualization is attainable by everyone, but we must aggressively pursue it at all times. Hard work, diligence and passion for our pursuits are the traits that are most conducive to success. Finally, in all things, we must always include Jehovah.”