Wed | Jun 16, 2021

With 18 subjects, Denbigh student eyes impacting world

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 12:16 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer

Sixteen-year-old Wadada Dixon has every reason to be proud. After sitting 15 subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, she attained 12 ones, two twos and a three.

Dixon, who hails from the Portland Cottage district of Dry Hill in Clarendon, said she intends to be a “legendary woman of the world”.

The Denbigh High School 2020 valedictorian also has three more CSEC subjects to her credit as she bagged two grade ones and a two while in fourth form last year.

Giving credit to her family and the school body, including supportive teachers, Dixon singled out her stepfather Christopher Lawrence, who she said believed in her and was convinced she could sit more than the normal nine subjects.

“I knew it, too. That led to my decision to sit the three subjects in fourth form. The results boosted my confidence in supplementing six more for fifth form,” she told The Gleaner.

Sitting 15 subjects meant a lot of sacrifices and juggling for Dixon as she had to attend extra classes at May Pen Educational Centre as well as Denbigh School’s evening institute. There were times when her classes clashed and she had to attend on alternating days.

She expressed gratitude to friends who shared their notes, allowing her to catch up on missed classes.

Being enrolled on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, Dixon had eight subjects paid for by the Government. However, there were the remaining seven to think about.

“I was undoubtedly knowledgeable that this mission would be challenging, but I’m the kind of person who stares a challenge in the face and suggest that we shake hands. My parents and I were absolutely clueless about how we would pay the subject fees, but with the good God watching over me, I was selected as the female recipient of the Past Students’ Association Scholarship at the beginning of fifth form. We were therefore able to pay my subject fees and I am tremendously thankful to them,” she beamed.

Other challenges

With fees out of the way, there was still the challenge of attending school, paying for extra classes and buying school supplies, and if there were days when she had to make sacrifices to save a dollar, Dixon was willing to do so in her quest to achieving her dreams.

She said her parents tried their best to ensure she could attend school and she did not experience high absenteeism.

“There were days when I had only a small bag of coins in my pocket as my mother had to empty her savings container to send me to school,” Dixon told The Gleaner.

She said the shift from classrooms to online classes in March did not affect her as she prides herself on being an “independent learner”.

“Self-educating was an already established habit of mine,” Dixon said. “I saw the formation of virtual schooling as an opportunity for students to be independent in their learning, which, for me, is a key factor for academic excellence. The physical absence of teachers most definitely strained the learning process, but with the mindset to adapt to change, I pulled through.”

Her biggest challenge was the poor Internet service, which affected attendance in online classes, but with her textbooks, she covered the relevant topics.

Dixon admitted that completing school-based assessments for that many subjects was also tough, saying that she is forever grateful to the teachers and friends who saw her through the process.

Looking ahead, Dixon said her goal is to “liberate education throughout the world by ensuring information security among all of its citizens” and she is convinced that through the establishment of virtual education systems, this vision can be actualised.

“I plan to commence a project that aims to deliver the finest CSEC education accessible by the students of the Caribbean region,” she said, adding that her ultimate goal is to impact billions around the world using various platforms, including technology, business, writing and politics.

But for now, she will be enrolling in Denbigh High’s sixth-form programme, although she could be staring at the challenges of lack of finances, textbooks and a laptop if financial aid is not received.