A resident of Mount Diablo district in the Treadways area of Linstead, St Catherine, has been awarded a full scholarship to study veterinary medicine at the University of São Paulo as well as Portuguese at the Federal State University of São Paulo – both in Brazil.
Niveka Johnson, who holds 17 CXC subjects and owned 18 goats, will commence studies in February next year.
She told The Beacon: “I knew my parents would not have been able to pay my tuition for university. Hence, I worked really hard to become eligible for the scholarship.”
The past student of Bermaddy Basic School, Polly Ground Primary and Ardenne High School, is the holder of 11 CSEC subjects from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
She got the highest grade attainable (Grade One) in nine of those 11 subjects.
Niveka is now enrolled at McGrath High School, where she, this year, amassed six CAPE subjects – also administered by CXC.
Academic excellence is nothing new for the 17-year-old, who consistently made the Principal’s List or the Honour Roll at her different schools.
Niveka, who also is a lover of languages, told The Beacon that she is happy for the opportunity to not only obtain a degree in veterinary medicine, but to also pursue a certificate showing her command of Portuguese – the official language of Brazil.
One of the young scholar’s dreams is to master at least four languages – something that doesn’t seem far-fetched. After all, Niveka, last year, scored Grade One in CSEC English A, French and Spanish.
She also attained the best grade attainable in her pet subject – Agricultural Science, at both the CSEC and CAPE levels. In addition, Niveka finished third in the entire Caribbean this year in Agricultural Science (CAPE, Unit One).
She told The Beacon that her passion for agriculture is rooted in her love for animals.
Her first pet was a goat she received from her maternal grandfather, Lloyd Jones, when she was four years old.
“When my herd grew to roughly 18 goats, dogs attacked them one night, and my parents and I nursed them back to good health; I decided that I wanted to help animals,” said Niveka, who stopped raising goats in Grade Nine in order to focus on her academics.
Her love for farming, however, has not died.
“My grandparents farmed and reared chickens and goats; I often helped out,” Niveka explained. “When I started studying Agricultural Science at Ardenne High, I was introduced to the science behind animal reproduction and digestion – which peaked my interest and cemented my decision to obtain a degree in veterinary medicine.”
Niveka, who hopes to give back enormously to her country, served in various leadership positions and became heavily involved in extra-curricular activities throughout secondary schools.
She is President of the Debating Society and of the Sixth Form Association at McGrath High, which she represented in Schools Challenge Quiz, the national schools debating competition, and netball.
“I am striving to be someone all can emulate through my decorum and positions of responsibility,” added the former prefect and form monitor.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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