Shyan Edwards, a native of Highgate in St Mary, always wanted to bring pride and joy to her community and family, especially to her mother Lesia Campbell-White.
Campbell-White, who is a big source of inspiration, engineered a massive comeback after she dropped out of secondary school to give birth to Shyan.
She eventually returned to school and attained a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology, and is now a guidance counsellor.
With such an inspirational mother around her, Shyan felt compelled to aim high.
“It was after seeing my mother’s progress that I realized the value and transformative power of education,” she told The Jamaica Beacon.
Shyan, like her mother, has beaten many odds in academia.
She graduated this month from Western Illinois University in the United States with her second Master’s degree. She just completed a Master of Science Degree in Instructional Design and Technology, two years after she attained a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from the said university.
Shyan has accomplished a lot at 31 years old, but she has made it clear that ‘there is much more to come’ despite the financial challenges involved in studying abroad.
She has a supportive family. “I am very grateful for my parents Lesia and Patrick, who are my biggest cheerleaders and have supported my decisions no matter how crazy and unrealistic. My brothers Matthew, Jonathan and Stephen look up to me, and that pushes me to work harder and be the best version of myself.”
Shyan said she was raised by her maternal grandmother, Pansy Morris, because her mother was furthering her education after becoming pregnant as a teen.
Shyan attended Highgate Primary School and, after being successful in the last sitting of the Common Entrance Examination, she was awarded a place at St Mary High.
While at St Mary High, she was involved in many co-curricular clubs and societies.
She was the deputy Head Girl from 2004-2005, and was a member of the debating team in 2005 that won the National Secondary Schools Debating Championship.
After she completed studies at St Mary High, Shyan went on to the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Philosophy.
She then taught at Marymount High School for girls in St Mary. During that time, she pursued further studies to solidify herself in the classroom as a trained teacher.
After five years of teaching, Shyan made the decision to travel to the United States in order to expand her horizons. That led to her to settle in the small town of Macomb, Illinois, home to the main campus of Western Illinois University.
Now that she has completed her second Master’s degree, Shyan is in a better position to give back to her community of Tremolesworth in the Highgate area of St Mary.
She said the major issues there are bad roads and job shortage, adding that she was unemployed for a year after she graduated from the University of the West Indies.
“One of the many problems we face is that there are not many job opportunities available to absorb our young people. In St Mary, we have all the raw materials and natural resources available. We just need to have a plan to channel them into viable industries,” Shyan reasoned. She is ready to help!
Her mother, Campbell-White, said the 31-year-old is usually helpful and resilient.
“Shyan epitomises kind and thoughtful feelings wherever she goes. Determined and resilient are adjectives that come to mind,” Campbell-White declared.
“Shyan is always willing to assist whenever the need arises. She is indeed a very special human being, a special daughter, a gift indeed.”
By Horace Mills