Tivoli’s shining Carr
Tivoli Gardens resident Kevaughn Carr is still basking in pride after securing 15 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects and two in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) last year.
The 17-year-old Excelsior High School student earned the first two CSEC subjects when he was in third form, three in fourth form, and the last 12 — which included the two CAPE subjects — in last year’s sitting of the secondary level exit examinations which was pushed back to July due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“When I tell people that I am from Tivoli Gardens they are always shocked as to how such a person can be from such a community. But I always tell myself that it is not about where you are coming from, it is about where you are going. It feels really good to be from Tivoli Gardens and accomplish so much,” he said.
Developed from a poor settlement named Back-O-Wall in the early 1960s, Tivoli Gardens gained notoriety as one of Kingston’s toughest communities plagued by violence and has been the site of many firefights between gunmen and the security forces.
However, the community has produced many outstanding students, as well as talented individuals who have excelled in various fields, especially in sports and the arts.
Carr told the Jamaica Observer that he was excited to do his exams, but was a bit concerned as he had to sit them during the pandemic.
“I had a bit of fear in terms of how we were going in and out of the rooms. Excelsior High is a very big school and the grade 11 students weren’t the only ones doing exams. However, it eventually worked out and I started to feel a bit more relieved during the exams,” he said.
Despite financial challenges, Carr said he has managed to remain resilient, mostly because of the love he received from his parents.
“Growing up hasn’t been easy financially. Based on who I am and how I perceive life and my academia, it really does something to me and gives me that push. It doesn’t really matter what my parents have to give to me, all I know is that they have love and that really drives me,” he said.
He said his mother, Tamar Carr, provides emotional and psychological stability, while his father, George Carr, shows his admiration by bragging about his grades.
“When my results came out, my mom gave me that one hug and I felt everything — every emotional flow. My father is the one who will go and tell persons or text them with excitement,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude for his teachers who he described as stalwarts, saying that they have pushed him to achieve his goals.
Noting that he is happy to inspire other youngsters in his community, Carr said his success has paved the way for younger people in Tivoli.
“It shows them that it doesn’t matter their place in society,” he said. “Say to yourself, ‘I have a mandate and I am going to live on’. Based on where I was before and where I am now, it shows progress and shows how God has done amazing things in my life.”
Carr will be sitting five CAPE subjects this year and wishes to become an actuary.
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