Beacon of the day | Young achiever aces 16 CXC – she now faces a different test

Esther Thomas has smashed 16 major exams, but her mettle is now being tested in a different way.

She must decide if she will allow her dream of becoming a paediatric surgeon to be crushed by the University of the West Indies (UWI), which recently rejected her application to study at its Faculty of Medical Sciences.

The university instead gave the past student of Immaculate Conception High School a place at its Faculty of Science and Technology. Esther reluctantly accepted that secondary offer, but subsequently withdrew.

Notwithstanding the university blocking her from studying Medicine at its campus, Esther, a personification of perseverance, will not discard her dream.

She intends to start pursuing it another year, if not this year.

She, now more than ever, is also motivated to study abroad.

In fact, three overseas universities accepted Esther this year to study Medicine.

Her mother, Keisha-Ann Thomas, explained why those offers were turned down. “My daughter didn’t accept the offers that she got overseas. By the time UWI responded to our students here [in Jamaica], they had missed every [overseas] deadlines. By the time UWI’s letter of denial came, Esther already lost those opportunities [to study abroad this year].”

The mother also noted that Esther was awarded partial scholarships to study overseas, adding that her family is unable to find the remainder.

To avoid a similar financial pitfall next time round, the family has established a GoFundMe account. Persons can contribute towards Esther’s education by clicking HERE.

Esther’s academic performance has been stellar – as shown over the last three years that she sat two major types of exams (CSEC and CAPE), which are administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

She, in 2018, attained these CSES subjects with the highest grade attainable (Grade One):

  • Biology – Grade One
  • Chemistry – Grade One
  • English A – Grade One
  • English B – Grade One
  • Information Technology – Grade One
  • Mathematics – Grade One
  • Physics – Grade One
  • Spanish – Grade One

In 2019, Esther achieved the following subjects in CAPE (Unit One):

  • Biology – Grade One
  • Chemistry – Grade One
  • Communication Studies – Grade One
  • Physics – Grade One

In 2020, the young scholar belted these subjects in CAPE (Unit Two):

  • Biology – Grade One
  • Chemistry – Grade One
  • Caribbean Studies – Grade Two
  • Physics – Grade Two

The student’s mother told The Beacon that her family is seeking a review of the Grade Twos her daughter received. It is hoped that the grade will be elevated to Grade One.

Esther, in the meantime, said she remained focused in order to attain the total 16 subjects.

“Preparing for exams was very good,” she added. “During every examination, I was completely locked in and was engaged with the paper.”

The young scholar, driven by patriotism, was passionate about studying Medicine at UWI.

She explained: “Unfortunately, Jamaica has a critical brain drain situation, and that is the reason I wanted to work and study in Jamaica. However, the education system here is unable to facilitate that – which is what leads to this whole brain drain situation.”

The rejection by UWI has strengthened Esther’s resolve, and has left her more open-minded regarding the pursuit of her dream – even if it means studying abroad.

“I am very open minded about studying overseas,” Esther now declares, adding: “I have to do what’s best for my education. So, wherever the opportunity is, I am willing to go.”


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