My achievement is a token of appreciation to my mother – Stevenson
November 9, 2012
My achievement is a token of appreciation to my mother – Stevenson

Born with congenital abnormality which restricted growth and movement in his left arm, Keisean Stevenson, a 23-year-old resident of Old Montrose,{{more}} rose above his challenges to become this year’s valedictorian at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica.

Stevenson, who attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with first class honours, from the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, was among 2,400 graduates, who on Friday, November 2, received their coveted diplomas.

Apart from his selection as valedictorian and graduating with first class honours, Keisean, in his final semester, was also afforded the opportunity to attend the University of Gothenburg in Sweden as an exchange student.

“That was a really defining time for me. It was a good experience to experience another culture. And the way they teach was different as well. The topics were completely new to me and I think that is the time I found most challenging in my journey through University.”

In his final year exams Keisean obtained 4 A’s and one B+.

The subject areas included: Organic Chemistry in Medicine and Agriculture (A), Chemistry of Polymers (A) and Advance Research Project (A).

The other two subject areas, Advanced Organic Chemistry (A) and Electrochemistry (B+) were achieved while on exchange at the University of Gothenburg.

“I have learnt that time is precious and valuable; it quickly slips by, but treasure that time, because with each passing moment, we will be left with less than what we had before. Learn from your mistakes and help others to learn from these things, as being wrong only means you still have much to learn,” Keisean said in his valedictory speech.

Growing up in a single parent home, where his mother Cecilia Stevenson was his main provider, Keisean told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that his UWI achievement serves as one of the many tokens of appreciation that he can offer his mother.

“She was really happy after hearing the news. She’s proud of me and has always been very supportive throughout my life,” the excited young man said.

The aspiring environmental chemist said when he found out about his nomination, he was elated, but after being selected, it was a “really good feeling.”

“It feels great. I wasn’t expecting it, because I wasn’t working towards being a valedictorian. I am not a particularly competitive person, but I always try to put my best foot forward and hope for the best.

Keisean’s education started at the Kingstown Preparatory School, from where he passed his Common Entrance examinations to enter the St Vincent Grammar School.

He was the recipient of a National Exhibition scholarship in 2008, and entered Mona the same year.

When he was growing up, Keisean said some children made fun of his abnormal arm, but this never affected his mindset to achieve in life.

“As a child and up until now, I was taught not to let it restrict me. So I pretty much learned to get along with it. It’s something I have to live with, so I coped with it throughout. It was never much an issue unless someone pointed it out to me…,” he said.

His philosophy growing up has always been: “If you enjoy doing something and if you are capable and you can see a way, you can help others with it, then go for it.”

He noted that young people should be taught not to be afraid of failure.

“Every time we take a risk or make a decision there is always going to be some chance of an error or failure. So, we learn from it and we grow,” the Montrose resident stated.