Arriana Hewitt, JN Foundation Scholar for St. Elizabeth

When Arriana Hewitt placed second in the end-of-year academic results in Grade Four at the Black River Primary and Infant school, she cried. Since grade one, she has been at the top of the class and being unable to achieve her usual scholastic feat left her heartbroken.

Her persistence to maintain her high academic performance over the years has borne fruit, as she gained a placement score of 345 in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which earned her a place at the Hampton School, the top school of her choice.  In recognition of her accomplishment, she emerged as the JN Foundation Scholar for the parish of St. Elizabeth and was awarded a five-year scholarship by the organisation.

“I was extremely glad, I was so overjoyed,” said eleven-year-old Arriana, a resident of Barbary Hall in the parish.

Despite doing extremely well in PEP, Arriana related that she felt doubtful that she would be awarded the scholarship, when her mother applied for it on the JN Foundation’s website.

“I believe that a lot of persons would apply for it,” she related.

Arriana, along with 34 other top PEP performers across the country, were recognised as JN Foundation 2020 scholars. The cohort consists of one recipient from each parish and county, while 18 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group

The scholarship award was not a surprise to her grade six teacher, Nicolette Samuels McIntosh.

“Arriana has been a high achiever and a top student at our school, who doesn’t give up easily. Whatever she puts her mind to, she goes for it.  She is friendly and gets along well with her peers,” the educator pointed out.

Samuels McIntosh also disclosed that Arriana achieved perfect scores in the PEP Ability Test in grade six; and highly proficient rating in mathematics, science and social studies in PEP, while in grade five.

A prefect for the past three years, Arriana proved to be an all-rounder, who also did well in extra-curricular activities. She was captain of the schools’ challenge quiz team; a member of the debating team; and the math club. She also excelled in sports, as a member of the netball and the track and field teams.

“Don’t only focus on schoolwork; also pursue extra-curricular activities. When you focus only on schoolwork, you will get tired of it, and your brain will become lazy,” Arriana opined.

Outside of school-related activities, she enjoys reading; cooking her favourite meal of fried chicken and rice and peas; and playing dominoes, a game, she mastered by frequently observing her uncle and his friends play.

“I know how to ‘read’the game. I beat [won] my uncle twice,” she related.

Arriana, who is keen on becoming a nurse or paediatrician, is looking forward to attending her new school.  Already, her determined spirt is evident.

“I want to come first in class,” she said.

Like her peers, who are entering high school in October, the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a concern.  However, she explained that, if her new school resorts to online classes, she will be able to cope.

“I had ZOOM classes in Grade Six,” she related. “I am also confident that I’ll be able to participate in online classes at Hampton. I don’t want anyone to catch it [the virus], because many people are dying from it.”

The scholarship awards marks the 37th year since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in which numerous students have benefitted from five-year scholarships. They are required to maintain at least a 70 per cent average for the renewal of their award, each year.