Three months after her mother was declared Mathematics Teacher of the Year, 11-year-old Tajanae Thomas has brought another big round of celebration into her household.
She attained Advanced Proficiency – the highest designation one can achieve in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which facilitates the placement of students into secondary schools across the island.
“I feel elated and proud,” Tajanae told The Beacon, adding that she is raring to start her first choice of schools – St Jago High.
The young achiever, out of a maximum 400 marks in each subject area, scored the following points:
- Mathematics – 358
- Language Arts – 341
- Social Studies – 345
- Science – 341
With those scores, Tajanae is the only student at Carron Hall Primary School in St Mary to have attained Advanced Proficiency in all four PEP subject areas.
She did that despite having to travel about 27 miles on three taxis daily to school from her home in the Linstead area of St Catherine.
Tajanae covers the distance along with her mother, Karema Mundell-Thomas, who teaches Mathematics at the high school in Carron Hall.
The child told The Beacon that, over the years, she has become accustomed to the journey.
“For over a long period of time, I just get accustomed to it and it doesn’t affect me anymore,” she declared while noting that the long-distance travel has paid off.
The eloquent Tajanae stated that she wants to become a neurosurgeon to help people who suffer from brain damage or tumors.
“It’s a unique job that not many persons are interested in, and neurosurgeons are few especially in Jamaica,” she noted.
The academic achiever, in the meantime, has proven to be an all-rounder.
She is the Head Girl at her school, and has won a number of gold medals in competitions hosted by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
Tajanae participates in 4-H competitions every year, and has won public speaking, table-setting and rabbit care contests at the parish level.
She also made it to the final round of the UWI Math Olympiad, and placed second in St Mary in the Gleaner Spelling Bee Competition last year.
Her mother, Karema, is justifiably proud.
“I feel great,” she told The Beacon.
“When you have put in the work as a parent and it pays off, there is no better feeling. She never ceases to amaze me.”
The mother also attributed her daughter’s success to hard work and her faith in God.
“Of course there is natural ability, but hard work is also a factor,” she asserted.
“Many times we study while travelling to and from school. Many times I prepare tests for her based on the notes she has in her books… I told her that she will achieve much more than I will ever accomplish in my lifetime, so she should just remain focused,” the mother further said.
By Horace Mills, Journalist (B.A. Media and Communications, UWI)
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