“When I heard that Bishop's High School had earned one open scholarship, I knew that it was mine.”
So said, an extremely confident Sharese Taylor, 19, the recipient of an open scholarship in languages.
Sharese graduated from Bishop’s High School in July and was first in the Caribbean in Spanish and French at Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
She received eight grade ones; Communication Studies, Caribbean Studies, Accounting Unit 1 and 2, Spanish Unit 1 and 2, and French Unit 1 and 2.
At the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level in 2017, she got eight grade ones and one grade two.
In an interview with Newsday on Monday, Taylor, who is originally from Bethel but now lives in Plymouth, said winning an open scholarship felt like the moment she had been waiting on her entire life.
“I can surely say that hard work really does pay off. On official receipt of the great news of achieving an open scholarship, I was quite elated. The moment I had so long anticipated had finally reached," she said.
“Firstly, I must say that I am most grateful to God for this blessing he has bestowed upon me. I am proud of my efforts and I am very satisfied with such a great achievement, after so many years of consistent hard work and dedication to my studies.”
Taylor said when she got the news, it was living testimony that anyone can achieve.
“After topping the region in both Spanish and French, I thought that there was now nothing that could possibly hinder me from earning a national scholarship...
“I must say that it is quite amazing that such a simple girl like myself, with an ordinary background like mine, could achieve this much. This goes to show that absolutely nothing is impossible, and as (late American author) Og Mandino says, failure will not overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
Sharese credited God, her mother and teachers for achievement.
“I give all praise and honour to God, because I never would have made it without Him.
“I am grateful for all the support I had from my mother, who is my number one fan. I also say thank you to my teachers, who were willing to go the extra mile with me.”
Sharese attended Dorothy Moses preschool in Lambeau before moving on to the Signal Hill Government Primary and later, Buccoo Government Primary School, where she sat the Secondary Entrance Assessment, which took her to Bishop's High School.
She is working as a clerk I at the Office of the Chief Secretary but intends to do a bachelor’s degree in the next academic year.
“Now that I have the opportunity to study anywhere in the world, I am faced with a huge decision that I must stick with for the next five years of my life.
“I do know that I love foreign languages. As such, I do wish to travel the world and to learn as many languages as I possibly can. However, I am aware that I must work and earn money to support this dream, so I am trusting God that my future occupation would be one that enables me to support my passion,” she said.
Asked what advice she would give to her fellow schoolmates, she said: “Recognise what is really important. Focus on your goals and refuse to be distracted. I challenge you to be self-disciplined, striving each day to be better than they were the day before. I encourage you to believe in yourselves, and to always chase your dreams regardless of how far they may seem.”
Her mother Germaine Alfred-Taylor, said she was completely stunned by her daughter’s achievement.
“Yes, I was surprised. Even though I know she is hard-working and dedicated, I did not expect an open scholarship and to top the region.”
She credited her daughter’s success to her steadfast faith.
“Prayers, trusting in God, hard work, self-discipline and commitment,” Alfred-Taylor said.
Her advice to other students: “It is no secret what God can do. If someone has done it, it means that you can do it too. Keep pushing yourself to achieve more and never give up on yourself.”