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Trish-Ann Thomas navigating through life’s challenges

Published:Friday | September 3, 2021 | 12:10 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer

Seventeen-year-old Trish-Ann Thomas is fearful about her job prospects after high school.

“How do we prepare to compete for the limited job opportunities that exist in Jamaica?” she questioned as she ponders about her future.

Thomas, who is without Internet connection, was forced to repeat 10th grade in order to catch up on the subjects that she missed out on when schools closed last March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she was introduced to online classes in late October.

“But still, I didn’t get to start online class in October and I didn’t get to complete any of the exams, all because of the pandemic. I started my first online lessons in February 2021, and knowing that CXC was in June, and I missed out a lot. I decided to repeat 10th grade,” she shared, pointing out that she is still not quite ready for the new school year which begins on Monday, September 6, but she is determined to push through the challenges that she knows will come, she told The Gleaner.


Thomas said she didn’t perform badly in school with face-to-face classes. However, her performance suffered with the advent of online classes.

“The sad part is, I haven’t really gotten the opportunity to make up for all that I’ve missed out on. This is because whenever I tried to help myself to understand the topics that were given in class when I’m absent, I fail to tutor myself. I know that if I get the opportunity to do better, I will do better because I have the ability to do so because failure is not my thing because I’m very determined,” she shared.

She bemoaned the fact that while there are many free online training opportunities available to advance herself, she is unable to take advantage because of the lack of Internet connectivity in her community.

“This is a real problem for all students in rural communities, and students like myself are at risk of being left behind. We desperately need help to get reliable Internet to help us grow in our schoolwork,” is the plea coming from Thomas.

Acknowledging that the challenges she now face are part of life, the teen said she will not allow them to stop her as “school is not a choice, it is an option, and so is education because I want to be successful in the future. Not to just have a job, but to have a career.”

Looking ahead, Thomas said her ultimate goal in life is to be an architect and an entrepreneur, and it is with that in mind why she is focusing on business subjects.