Beacon of the day | Student tops school despite single mom being ill, father being missing

Abbigayle Daley (right) is pictured here with her mother Maxandra Malcolm

Abbigayle Daley, who saw her father only once in her lifetime – when she was a baby, has brought pride and joy to her mother, who struggles medically and is often hospitalized.

The child is the top performer this year in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) at Tulloch Primary School in the Bog Walk area of St. Catherine.

“I feel really excited about my performance, and my mommy and other family members are really proud of me,” she said.

Abbigayle, who is working to become a medical doctor, has been placed at St. Jago High School – her first choice.

Her placement score is not among the best on the island, but it reflects perseverance and strength.

Abbigayle, who is the Deputy Head Girl at her primary school, told The Beacon that she studies hard because she wants to give her mother a better life.

She is also hoping to meet her biological father, whom she already forgives for being a deadbeat.

“I don’t feel angry about him,” the child declared.

Her father is originally from Buena Vista in St. Elizabeth.

Her mother, Maxandra Malcolm, a shopkeeper, explained that she and the child’s father broke up when she was three months pregnant.

She recalled the only time her daughter, then two years old, saw her father.

“Him buy her donuts and some snacks; that’s all,” the mother told The Beacon.

She said her daughter’s main desire is to develop a bond with her father – not to beg him to give her money.

The mother added that she, on one occasion, offered to even pay the father’s fare and buy him lunch just for him to meet the child.

He is yet to show up.

The mother has lost contact with him.

Meanwhile, the mother noted that her daughter’s step-father, Paul Duncan, is a tower of strength for the family.

“My daughter loves her step-father, but she wants to have a bond with her [biological] father,” she opined.

The mother further stated that, regardless of her medical struggles, she always goes the extra mile to ensure that her daughter does well in school.

“I expect pure greatness and success from my daughter. I want her to turn out to be the one that helps the family – or to make us proud, because we are not that educated. She is getting the opportunity and I want her to be successful,” the mother reasoned.

Her child’s Grade Six teacher, Rose Sharpe Williams, commended the duo.

“It was a pleasure to have been given the privilege to be Abbigayle’s sixth grade teacher. She is quiet-natured, but a force to reckon with when it comes on to academics. She topped all her classes throughout the six years spent at Tulloch Primary School,” the teacher added.

She continued: “Abbigayle’s mother, Maxandra Malcolm, has been a tower of strength for her daughter despite illness. I just want to encourage Abbigayle to continue being focused and reach for her stars because the sky is the limit.”

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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