Beacon of the day | St Thomas student succeeds despite her father dying slowly during CSEC exams

Shannae Mayne

Now enrolled at the University of Technology (UTech), Shannae Mayne from Retreat in St. Thomas is reflecting on the emotionally taxing moment that could have cost her a place at the tertiary institution.

She recalled that, while she was sitting her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, her father Garfield Mayne fell ill, deteriorated rapidly, and literally was dying.

“The pressure it put on me weighed me down, but I had to put on a pretty face to make everything seem fine,” she said. “Only my close friends and family members knew what was happening. Oftentimes I was at school and found myself not being able to concentrate‚Ķ”

Five days after Shannae graduated from Happy Grove High School in Portland, her father died – not getting a chance to bask in his daughter’s CSEC success.

Shannae attained the eight subjects she sat – including Mathematics and English A. She reaped the perfect grade (Grade One) in half of the subjects, namely Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Office Administration, as well as Electronic Document Preparation and Management.

That performance laid the foundation for progress.

Shannae enrolled in the sixth form programme at another school, Morant Bay High, in St. Thomas.

Her two-year sojourn through sixth form got off to a rocky start, regarding her performance in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

Although Shannae was successful in the four CAPE subjects she pursued in the first year, the grades were unflattering.

She said the dismal performance resulted from her father’s passing shortly before she started sixth form.

“I told myself that the upcoming year I had to try and deal with this loss differently and redeem myself to make my family and most importantly myself proud,” Shannae told The Beacon.

She went back to the drawing and returned seemingly with a vengeance in the second year – putting on a spectacular performance in Unit Two of her CAPE exams. She passed the four subjects she sat with flying colours, including the perfect grade in Caribbean Studies and Management of Business.

“In all honesty, the loss of my dad affected me negatively, but also pushed me into being better than my previous self,” said Shannae, who now has a total 16 subjects under her belt.

“I am feeling very proud of myself with my CSEC and CAPE results,” she told The Beacon. “Despite the set-back, I knew I had the potential and drive to do my best and, as such, I executed as was expected of me.”

Shannae attributed her overall success to her perseverance, the support of her mother Paula Shaw Mayne and other relatives, as well as the support she received from teachers – especially those at Happy Grove High, where she served as a prefect and as Miss Happy Grove 2016-2018.

Shannae, who is also a past student of Port Morant Primary and Junior High School in St. Thomas, is an aspiring bank manager.

She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting – majoring in Finance and Banking – at UTech.

She encourages young people to believe in themselves, and work hard to overcome hurdles.

“See those hurdles as a setback, but even better as motivation to push you forward. Likewise, remember optimism is the faith that leads to achievements. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence,” the 19-year-old further said.


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