The multi-talented Gabrielle Clarke, who recalled being bullied in prep school, has blossomed into a strong academic achiever and anti-bullying campaigner.
She is serving as Deputy Chair on the island’s Children’s Advisory Panel, and is founder of the anti-bullying group called Bully-Proof Kids.
“I really want to have a greater impact on young people in Jamaica, offer workshops, offer resource material to schools – and I really want to get partners and sponsors to do more voluntary work within the children homes,” said Gabrielle, who is yet to choose a career path.
However, she has started to build a strong academic foundation for a bright future.
She recently obtained the highest grade attainable (Grade One) in nine CSEC subjects, which are administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
The subjects are:
- Biology – Grade One
- Physics – Grade One
- Chemistry – Grade One
- Mathematics – Grade One
- Additional Mathematics – Grade One
- Information Technology – Grade One
- Spanish – Grade One
- English A – Grade One
- English B – Grade One
“I am absolutely happy,” said the Immaculate Conception High School student. “To be honest, I didn’t have a choice. I really wanted those [Grade] Ones and, as far as I was concerned, I couldn’t get anything less.”
Gabrielle admitted that preparation for the exams was not easy. She explained that, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) forced schools to close in March, she was yet to complete some lab sessions, which are part of the School-based Assessment (SBA) component of some subjects.
Gabrielle also struggled with disruptions in Wi-Fi connection, which resulted in her missing some online classes.
On top of that, she had to juggle classes for the Standardised Aptitude Test (SAT), which is widely used for college admissions in the United States.
Gabrielle also had to attend swim training.
She is a member of the Tornadoes Swim Club and the swim team at Immaculate.
She is also a member of her school’s orchestra and is fairly an accomplished violist – scoring the highest grade on the island last year in the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) examination.
Despite the relatively heavy work-load and COVID-19, Gabrielle was determined to succeed.
“I believe that we can’t let one circumstance distract us from what we want,” she reasoned. “It is a pandemic, yes, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me from getting what I wanted and what I have worked so hard for over these five years.”
Gabrielle credits her mother Marilyn Clarke and other members of her immediate family for keeping her motivated.
“My mother motivates me a lot; I pray and speak with my mother and she definitely helps me and encourages me. She is definitely my support system,” added the 17-year-old, who has transitioned to sixth form at Immaculate.
Editorial Note: The information for this story was provided by the state-owned Jamaica Information Service.
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