Alahna White has been declared the top performer this year in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams at St. Jago High School in St. Catherine.
The exams are administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
Alahna, who hails from Bellevue Heights in the Green Acres area of St. Catherine, attained 11 subjects. In 10 of them, she reaped the best grade possible (Grade One).
The other top students at St. Jago – Jaheim Harris, Roberto Morgan and Adani Clarke – individually secured 10 CSEC subjects – all with Grade Ones.
Alahna told The Beacon that she pushed herself beyond initially perceived limits.
“I felt as if I took on more than I could handle at once, but my results proved that I certainly did not. Through faith, hard work and sacrifice, I succeeded,” she declared.
Her subjects are:
- Mathematics – Grade One
- Additional Mathematics – Grade One
- English A – Grade One
- English B (Literature) – Grade One
- Physics – Grade One
- Chemistry – Grade One
- Biology – Grade One
- French – Grade One
- Spanish – Grade One
- Principles of Accounts – Grade One
- Information Technology – Grade Two
Alahna hit the big achievement at a time when the island – and indeed the world, is in the throes of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The pandemic did not only force the Jamaican government to abruptly close schools; it also pushed CXC to change the traditional format of its exams.
Alahna also changed things up a bit.
“The pandemic hindered me from getting the hands-on learning experience that I was used to…” she explained.
“This pandemic helped me to take a step back and to manage my time more effectively as traveling to school and these extra [activities] consumed time that could be put to studying.”
The main factors that contributed to the 16-year-old student’s success included her determination, her faith in God, and support from her mother Beverly White.
Alahna, whose sights are fixed on becoming a medical doctor or a dentist, said: “My mom was there with me every step of the way carrying me to extra classes, staying up with me sometimes late at night and ensuring that I had everything I needed to perform at my maximum capacity. She is my source of motivation.”
Her mother, Beverly, a businesswoman, said she is not surprised by Alahna’s sterling performance.
“I expected my daughter to do just as well,” she told The Beacon. “The foundation was set and she is ambitious and she works hard… She has stayed on top straight from first form [at St. Jago High].”
Alahna was an academic showstopper even before she commenced studies at St. Jago High.
When she was leaving St. Catherine’s Preparatory School, she actually amassed an average 98 percent in the Grade Six Achievement Test.
Her mother expects her to continue soaring to higher heights – just like her three other sisters, who are all graduates of St. Jago High School. Two of them are lawyers and one is a medical doctor. Alahna’s father, Homer White, is also a St. Jago High past student.
Alahna, whose name is now etched in the annals of the Spanish Town-based school, was the 2020 valedictorian. She also served the institution as Public Relations Officer for the Cosmetology Society, and was a member of the dance society and netball team. She was also a ‘Model United Nations’ member.
Now in sixth form at St. Jago High, Alahna is encouraging student to, among other things, watch crash course YouTube videos on topics they don’t understand.
“I would also encourage young people to ask questions and be more vocal in classes; that really helped me to properly grasp information,” the young scholar further said.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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