Tue | May 26, 2020

Cornwall College head boy says ZOSO helped him to smash CAPE

Published:Monday | August 19, 2019 | 12:06 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

Rashawn Stewart, the outgoing head boy of the St James-based Cornwall College, has said that the declaration of his Mount Salem community as a zone of special operations (ZOSO) has contributed to his success in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

“The ZOSO might have helped improve my opportunities for studying. There were times prior to the implementation of the ZOSO that my studies would be interrupted due to the barrage of gunfire, so I had to duck and take cover to avoid getting hit by any stray shots and that kind of thing. So the implementation of ZOSO calmed that a bit,” Stewart told The Gleaner yesterday.

The 18-year-old, who has been accepted to The University of the West Indies, Mona, to pursue undergraduate studies, attained grade one in biology, chemistry, physics, integrated math, Caribbean studies and a grade three in pure mathematics.

The aspiring doctor said that while the journey had sometimes been challenging, his faith in God had brought him through.

“There were times when studying that I found that my eyes just began to water [while] staring at the pages, and I would reread the same paragraph 10-20 different times and still feel like it wouldn’t stick at all. So in those times, I would put away studying for a while,” Stewart said. “I would read a psalm, probably sing a little hymn or so, recalibrated, and went right back to it.”

Stewart said his success came out of his desire to rise out of his current situation, having grown up in the violence-prone community on the outskirts of Montego Bay.

While he still faces his own set of challenges, Stewart had a message for others seeking to find success.

“I believe that it is imperative that while we retain faith and hope for a better tomorrow, the fact is that in this life, there will always be ups and downs, but it is important to remain optimistic. Hard work does pay off, and with faith and utmost belief in self, every dream can be actualised,” he said.