Seventeen-year-old Abigayle McGrowder defied all odds when she surpassed all her peers and was awarded Jamaica’s top achiever for the year 2022 by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC). Abigayle, who is a past student of St. James High School, reflected on her past trials when she told the Jamaica Observer how she remembered days of going to school without money for lunch after her mother lost her job because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. She then vowed to excel so she could attain greatness and help both her mother and stepfather, who had to bear the responsibility of being the only breadwinner in the family during that time. She now attends Herbert Morrison Technical High School.
According to the Jamaica Observer, to qualify for the award given to Abigayle McGrowder, the child must attend a non-traditional high school, overcome great odds, and obtain five or more Caribbean Secondary Education (CSEC) subjects. Being the amazing overachiever that she is, Abigayle did this and more. McGrowder obtained grade ones in seven CSEC subjects and grade twos in the other two. She also managed to attain stage-three passes in English and mathematics at the City and Guilds Examinations, which she completed in 2021.
Another requirement to get this award is to keep up with the spirit of volunteerism, and like her academics, Abigayle did not fall short in this. Based on the information provided about the teen, Abigayle was a high-ranking member of numerous clubs, such as the 4-H and the Mathematics club, and she also plays table tennis. Abigayle continued by expressing her challenges of getting to school earlier than most of her peers and leaving late during the assigned school days, as well as attending classes on weekends while having group study sessions with her peers at night.
Barbara Cunningham, the information technology teacher of Abigayle, expressed that she was not surprised by her student’s academic success since she was always in her books. Cunningham shared her views about McGrwoder and stated that while others were busy playing around, Abigayle, being the self-motivated and driven person she is, stuck to her books, and that is what led to her success in so many areas. She even went so far as to describe the teen as well-mannered, reliable, and helpful.
Cunningham wishes for the teen to go straight to university after she finishes the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) at Herbert Morrison High School, where she is studying accounting, management of business (MOB), entrepreneurship, communication studies, and computer science, but expressed that this may be a challenge because of financial constraints.
According to sources, Abigayle not only sought to achieve her goals but tried her utmost to take others with her and so she took the initiative to create a mobile studies group, which saw students from other schools join.
Abigayle had even given words of encouragement to her peers, telling them to try and keep a positive mindset and that their backgrounds do not dictate where they will go in their lives. Abigayle wants to pursue a career in business and technological fields.