Jameilia Wright, who got perfect grades in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), will be able to personally offset some of the expenses associated with secondary school education.
With help from her mother Val Marie Jackson, she operates a chicken production and cake-baking business at Llandilo in Westmoreland.
The business is the child’s brainchild.
Her early knack for entrepreneurship emerged when she was in Grades Three and Four at Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland.
In each of those grades, Jameilia was awarded US$100 (or JA$14,000) after topping her class.
She advised her mother to initially invest the funds into egg production. The task was given to a grand-uncle in Clarendon, but the business eventually crumbled.
Jameilia did not give up.
When she topped Grade Five and got another US$100, she again approached her mother, who, at that time, was building a chicken coop.
The mother recalled: “Jameila came to me and said, ‘Mommy, I want to put some chickens [in the coop] because I want to go to Hampton School, and I can see the [financial] challenge for you and dad [Jasil Wright]’. I bought the chickens [with the funds she got for topping Grade Five].”
The business has grown from 100 chickens to 200, and Jameilia intends to pick up some more in the coming week.
“I know that my mom and dad are not financially capable to cover my educational journey, so I was looking at different ways to accumulate more money by using what I had [been awarded],” the child told The Beacon.
She does not only own the business; she also helps to feed and care for the chickens.
In addition to raising chickens, Jameilia, with help from her mother, also baked and sold cakes prior to the onset of the novel coronavirus (covid-19)
Although she has managed to put aside a portion of the earnings from her business to help with her schooling, she is seeking scholarships to cover the shortfall.
In the upcoming school year, Jameilia will attend Hampton – a boarding institution.
She got her first choice of school based on her performance in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).
A breakdown of her perfect PEP results shows that she earned 100 percent in the Ability Test, and was ‘highly proficient’ in Language Arts and Mathematics.
She also achieved ‘mastery’ of the Literacy and Numeracy component of PEP.
Jameilia, who had been topping her classes since Grade Three, said she cried tears of joy when she realized that her dream of being placed at Hampton had become reality.
“I was surprised and then I started crying at the moment I heard that I passed for my first choice. I will continue to do well; I will try to improve because there is always room for improvement,” added Jameilia, who was valedictorian at her recent graduation from Sir Clifford Campbell Primary School.
Her mom, who recalled her crying when she finished second in exams in Grade Two, described her as competitive.
She added: “Jameilia is a great competitor. She does not like to be second in anything… She is a student who loves competition, and so where there is competition it is going to help her even to achieve more.
“From Jameilia was a little child growing up, she was always interested in learning… I could see that she is an achiever,” added the mother, who has another daughter, who is majoring in accounts at Bethlehem Moravian College.
In the meantime, Grade Six teacher at Sir Clifford Campbell Primary, Felicia Salmon, noted that Jameilia, at age 10, is among the youngest students to have sat the PEP.
“I was a bit concerned, and so I spoke to her mother about how she actually felt about Jameilia sitting the exam at such an early age. Her mother assured me that Jameilia indicated that she was ready,” the teacher said, adding that the rest is history.
The educator also lauded Jameilia’s business acumen.
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