From as early as three years old, Chevano Baker’s resilience and fortitude to succeed was being shaped in and around the Christiana market, as he ventured out to the streets to increase the sale prospects for his parents who were market vendors.
He observed the hard work of his parents as they earnestly struggled to “make a sale”, and eventually, Baker was tasked to make his contribution to the income. He, along with his brother and their cousin, would scout for sales in the streets, driven by the need to secure their lunch money.
“I would sell shoe polish and matches. And we embraced it, knowing that it was something we had to do. And I felt that this hardship would give us a chance to beat the odds,” said the 21-year-old.
Throughout his high school years, Baker’s Saturdays were spent vending. He was the first to admit that it was not the easiest “part-time” job, as it exposed him to humiliation and crass remarks from his peers at school. However, he did not buckle under pressure.
“At school, my classmates who would say all sorts of negative things; but I motivated myself and never allowed the comments to derail my goal. I was working to assist my parents along a journey that would help me and my siblings to achieve our own success. And it was a part of a bigger picture, which they never saw.”
Fast-forward to years later, as Baker’s ‘stick-to-itiveness’ to achieve his academic goals, and defy the odds, would set an example for others.
A SUITABLE CANDIDATE
Recently, after completing his undergraduate degree in actuarial science at the University of West Indies, on an open scholarship, Baker was awarded the University of Birmingham and Jamaica National Foundation Legacy Scholarship.
It came as a surprise, but he was definitely qualified for the award.
“Looking for job opportunities and a scholarship were important for me,” Baker related. “Therefore, when I came across the JN Legacy Scholarship during my second year at university, I paid very close attention to the criteria. And I ensured that I would be a suitable candidate, based on my academic success and community involvement.”
The University of Birmingham and Jamaica National Foundation Legacy Scholarship, a three-year award, was launched in 2014. It affords one Jamaican student, annually, to study for a one-year master’s degree in a business-related field, at the UK-based institution, each year.
“I applied for that scholarship in my final year, when I became eligible, and was confident that I stood a chance. But, actually being selected was an amazing feeling,” he revealed.
This son of Clones district in Manchester will leave the country later this month to begin his graduate studies in financial economics at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.