By Jamar Grant, Jamaica Beacon Journalist
Tiana Dinham from Maryland district in Hanover has been accepted into 13 university campuses in the United States, Canada, and China, and has received a total of 11 scholarships including five that cover all her university expenses.
The institutions that have accepted her are: Barry University; Lynn University, McGill University; Wingate University; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Dartmouth College; Washington and Lee University; University of British Columbia; Emory University; Duke Kunshan University; as well as University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, Mississauga Campus, and St. Georges campus.
The 17-year-old automatically narrowed her options to the University of North Carolina and Duke University when she chose the Robertson Scholarship, which is tenable at those two institutions.
The Robertson scholarship, which is for eight semesters, is a full-ride, meaning that it covers tuition, boarding and all other mandatory expenses.
Tiana described it as her greatest achievement yet, adding that she is the first applicant from a Jamaican school to have received that award.
Reflecting on the moment she was preparing the applications, she told The Beacon: “I remember feeling intimidated [in applying] and saying I’m just a girl from rural Jamaica.”
The Mount Alvernia High School head girl’s final decision is to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States. There, she will pursue a first degree in Health Policy and Management, starting in August.
Eager to start the new chapter, Tiana noted that her decision to study overseas is based on her interest in exploring new places and expanding her horizons.
“I always wanted to know what life was like outside [the places I know],” she said. “There must be something I can learn over there and bring home to make Jamaica a better place.”
The teen’s interest in seeing her island become a better place is not far-fetched, considering that her mother, Andria Dehaney-Grant, is the deputy mayor of Lucea in Hanover, councillor for the Sandy Bay Division, and principal of Maryland Primary School that Tiana attended.
Grant is confident that her daughter will continue to do well.
“I am not worried for her,” she declared. “Tiana has always been a hard worker. From ever since, she has been self-motivated… I support her in the work that she does, but she is somebody that pushes for what she wants.”
Now on the verge of sitting her final set of regional exams, Tiana already has the highest grade attainable (Grade One) in 16 subjects administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). Of that number, 12 subjects are at the CSEC level and four at CAPE.
Tiana achieved that feat while being heavily involved in extra-curricular activities at Mount Alvernia High. She explained that the road to success was not always easy, but she is grateful to have a good support system in place.
She is hopeful that her success eventually will redound to the betterment of her community and its residents. “If I am the only one succeeding and everyone around me is failing, I would have failed as well,” Tiana asserted.
Her mother shared her wish for her achievement to be an inspiration especially to Maryland district.
“Tiana is going to be a motivator for the community. To be frank, sometimes I feel so proud, my heart is overwhelmed to think about her achievements as a little country girl,” her mother further said.
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