Our Readers' Opinions
September 8, 2015
Excel amidst adversities, students. Excel!

EDITOR: Many success stories of students at various learning institutions throughout the country have been recorded in our nation’s newspapers in recent times. They should serve as a great source of encouragement to other students. These students joyfully tell their recipe for success, including the help of God; support of teachers, family and friends; dedication and self-sacrifice.{{more}}

The story of top performer of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Jeremiah Augustus, was fitly highlighted in at least two newspapers. It was very instructive indeed! According to the reports, Jeremiah had to leave his home in Union Island and parents’ side at a tender age to attend secondary school on the mainland. He changed homes of residence several times. Additionally, he had to struggle ‘to make ends meet’ by making cakes and pastries for sale. However, the hardships seemed to increase Jeremiah’s motivation to succeed. Just 17 years old, but his experience is filled with countless valuable lessons for youth. The way Jeremiah handled his obstacles testifies that difficulties, even financial, cannot take away our determination to succeed. Sometimes, many young people choose to take a laid back attitude towards their school work. They behave as if the world owes them…and they blame everything and everyone (except themselves) for their failure to ‘press on’ along life’s rugged path.

Jeremiah’s testimony is a reminder to youths that financial hardship is no excuse to get involved in crime and violence. Legal means should always be pursued to sustain yourselves. He prepared food with his hands to sell. In addition, the youngster chose to do right, although he was not always under the watchful eye of parents or a responsible adult. In fact, it was reported that he was even living alone at one point. One may say, he could have done ‘whatever’ he wanted, including involvement in immoral and illegal activities ‘to make a dollar’. His recognition of God as his Helper not only shows that he understands the Hand of the Almighty in keeping him, but it also shows that he realized that there is One greater than his parents, to whom he must give account for his actions. May God help him to continue to do right by the grace of Christ. And may he influence his peers to do right as well!

Jeremiah’s expression of gratitude to all who have helped him is also noteworthy. It reminds us that we must not be forgetful of those persons who contribute to our success – parents, guardians, teachers, friends and well-wishers. Most of all, the Almighty God deserves praise and thanks for His kind mercies and preservation. Without Him, none could know what good success is.

Congratulations to Jeremiah and all who performed well in the recent exams. Keep working diligently and do not allow anything or anyone to prevent you from achieving your good goals. Nineteenth century inspired religious writer Mrs Ellen G White wisely counsels us that “poverty, humble origin, and unfavourable surroundings need not prevent the cultivation of the mind.”

Ann-Marie Ballantyne