Antonette Anderson, from Swift River district in Portland, has been awarded for her sterling academic achievement and for providing educational opportunities for young people.
While being grateful for the Governor General’s Achievement Award, which she received last month, Anderson told The Beacon that her benevolence in helping students with school work was selfless.
“None of it was done with the intention of getting an award or getting any recognition; it was just about helping students that need help,” she said. “This award is like icing on the cake to say, ‘Keep doing it and keep trying to help people’.”
Anderson believes it is important to share the knowledge she obtains with others and, as such, she established different educational initiatives to give back to her community.
Her first major act of civic service was done while she was attending Titchfield High School. At that time, she assisted students with school projects and assignments.
Upon leaving high school, Anderson refashioned the initiative into a tutoring programme for Titchfield students sitting CAPE and CSEC exams, which are both administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
More than 100 students benefited from the free tutoring sessions, which were done while Anderson was vice-president of the Titchfield Old Students Association (university chapter). That initiative was supported by other past students of Titchfield High.
Anderson also serves as a member of the New Jamaica Foundation. Through that non-profit organization, she voluntarily tutors students who are preparing to sit CAPE Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies.
She stated that giving back through education has been her main focus because academics is what she does best.
“I am good at academics and school, and so it made sense that I offer this to people,” she added. “It so happens that there are persons in my community who need help in this way and so they make use of it. I just keep doing it because there continues to be a need for it.”
Anderson recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, with a minor in International Relations.
While pursuing that degree at the University of the West Indies (UWI), she maintained a grade point average of 3.9 out of a possible 4.0.
That spectacular performance did not only earn Anderson a place on the Dean’s Honour Roll throughout her years at UWI.
It also resulted in her twice receiving the prestigious Faculty of Humanities and Education award for outstanding academic achievement.
In addition, Anderson was a recipient of the UWI Open Scholarship, which covered tuition, housing and other expenses throughout the degree programme.
University was not where the 22-year-old first proved her mettle in academics.
While at Titchfield High School, where she served as deputy head girl in 2019, she attained 20 subjects from CXC. Ten of those were at the CSEC level and the other 10 at the CAPE level.
Putting the icing on the proverbial cake, Anderson scored the highest grade possible (Grade One) in 14 of the 20 subjects.
She was also an academic standout while she was enrolled at Bloomfield Primary School as well as Mount Hermon Primary.
In more ways than one, academic achievement has paid off for the Portland native, whose parents Besecta Orr and Patrick Anderson were small-scale farmers, and so were not able to efficiently fund her educational pursuits.
From as early as high school, scholarships have been Anderson’s refuge of sort.
That’s among the reasons she, in addition to encouraging young people to take their education seriously, continues to volunteer her time to help them do better in school.
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