A born leader with a drive to succeed, 18-year-old Immaculate Conception High School student Sherika Anderson is a model child whom any parent would love to have.
She is active in school, her community, and has achieved nine CSEC subjects at Grade One and five CAPE units at Grades One and Two.
But while her pleasant demeanour defies her true story, Sherika may not be able to complete her Upper Sixth Form education which begins tomorrow, as her parents are unable to find the $40,000 school fee, plus books and uniforms that she requires.
“This is the very first time I am finding it so hard,” Wilma Cuff-Anderson, Sherika’s mother, told the Jamaica Observer on Friday. “I have eight of them but one is not with me. The school fee for Sherika is really a problem right now because I have one in Wolmer’s, one just pass for Calabar, one in Bridgeport and two in UTech.
“One is in primary school, but that is not a problem. The two at UTech are there through student loan and their father do a little carpentry work so that back them up, and sometimes I will get one or two days’ work, but not regular,” she explained. Continuing, the mother said: “The books for her are really expensive, because one of them is $4,000-something and it’s about six of them she needs. But I have not checked out the cost for all the books yet. So we would like her to get a sponsorship because the school fee is really a problem right now,” she said.
And while Cuff-Anderson said the child’s uniform costs $3,000 and is sold at the school, her daughter is more than willing to continue in the ones that were purchased from last year since she cannot afford new ones.
The bewildered mother said that she would also love if her daughter would get a scholarship to university upon her completion of Sixth Form.
Sherika, whose dream is to become an architect, said that if her school fee is not paid she will not be placed in a grade.
“I have been accepted for the Upper Sixth school’s programme. But there’s a list of names, the list only has persons who have paid half or the full school fee, so if you don’t pay the school fee your name will not be on the list and not in the register, so my name won’t be on the list if my school fee isn’t paid. The list states that, yes, you are in a specific class, so I will not be able to go to class unless my school fee has been paid,” the student explained.
“Because they realise that over the years girls haven’t been paying their school fees, especially for sixth form. The seventh-graders pay their school fees but eighth to 11th graders don’t pay their school fees, so to fund the school throughout the school year they depend on the Sixth Form and the seventh-graders to pay their school fees and the 13th graders are restricted most of all because if you don’t pay your school fee, or you don’t pay half of it, you will not be able to attend classes.”
But the dedicated student said that she still intends to go to school tomorrow even though she will not be in a class.
“I don’t really have anything, so far, to go back to school because there is so many of us and she (mother) has to be paying so many school fees. So I was kind of placed on the back so everyone else has to be dealt with, especially the little one who just passed for Calabar,” she said.
Sherika said that she was placed 10th in the Caribbean and third in the island for technical drawing (TD) last year in CSEC. She earned ones in mathematics, English Language, English Literature, physics, geography, TD, Spanish, information technology and principles of business. She earned ones in the CAPE communication studies, geography, physics and twos in pure mathematics and management of business.
But while understanding her plight, not going back to school would be a big blow to her.
“At school I’m involved in the Tourism and Action Club, that’s something that draws me because I love tourism. I was placed third in the Mathematics Olympiad. And I was always placed in the top 10 so I started a Math club called the Immaculate Society of the United Mathematician. I was president for that,” she said.
She was also a part of the school’s heritage club; the school’s counselling team since grade eight; a grade captain; sub prefect then prefect; nominated head girl; on the executive board of the prefect council; a member of the school’s challenge quiz team; was second place in the graduating class of 2013 after receiving first place in geography, principles of business, TD, and mathematics.
“In the summer I normally have a teaching programme at home since about four years now. So within those four years, students within the community will come and I will help them.”
Sherika teaches children of any age, and after failed attempts to acquire the use of the community centre in Bernard Lodge where she lives, she started teaching students from inside her house before deciding to build a makeshift structure in the front of her yard that now serves as her classroom.
“Last year I had a tarpaulin, this year I have a board structure. I spoke to the police and they say that we might be getting the community centre so I would be given the key for the community centre and will be using that next year.
“During this year, parents want me to continue to help their children, so on Saturdays I will be helping them. I teach every level. I just had two students who just moved on to grade one, I work with GSAT students, some of those GSAT students passed for Bridgeport High, a few for Greater Portmore, some schools in Spanish Town and I have one from Wolmer’s. My brother passed for Calabar and I was the one who taught him extra lessons. They have all passed for traditional high schools. This year was special. This year I was working with students who will be sitting the CXCs so I was mainly helping them with their subject areas and their SBAs. I haven’t finished helping those doing exams next June with their SBAs so they will still be coming,” she said.
But she said that while she tries to charge a fee, this is not enough to help with her schooling as she can only charge them $1,000 – just enough to purchase material like charts, duster, papers, etc for their own usage, as she said the parents cannot afford to pay more.
But while she is busy academically, Sherika still finds time for what she loves best – sports.
“I’m a sports fanatic. I love sports. I love track and field, I love cricket – in primary school (Kensington Primary) I was the girl who ran, the girl who played basketball, football, cricket – I was all rounded in terms of sports. But at high school because of the distance between school and home and based on the time that all the sporting activities finish, it’s hard to get home. I love sitting down with my father and discussing sports. We play our dominos; we had a makeshift football field in front of the house for the whole summer,” she said.
Another love that Sherika has is politics.
“I can become a politician right now,” she said with a laugh. “I really think I can do the prime minister’s job! I really could! Give me a ministerial position right now and I will do it! We normally sit down as a family and any little political thing you hear going on we would sit and discuss that.
“Persons look at me and say they think I must be studying to get all of these high grades, but most of the time I’m playing games. I don’t have a phone, that was by choice, but now I realise I really need a phone because of all these club activities that I will be heading at school. I am going to need a phone for contact,” she stated.
Sherika’s mother said that despite not being able to find it all for their schooling her children are still happy.
“I don’t have any problem with them, they are happy, they have a good education and they really make me feel good. I just really want the little help to back them up,” Cuff-Anderson said.

0 thoughts on “HELP A SCHOLAR IN NEED

  1. Why her mother f**k so much. Secondly she should have found a summer job. Oh please. This isn’t a sad story it’s a worthless story. She have so much sense she should have helped herself.

    1. U r a real back n belly rat noooo let me take that back u are a leaning , full of hole ,sagging ,roof missing board shit house, u are over flowing with shit n white cockroaches as u have been kept them prisoners in ur belly so long they don’t know sunlight this is the time if u don’t have anything to say u go boil a pot of bleach n sip slowly nastiness how dare u dilapidated SHITHOUSE kmft

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