Photo Caption: Claudine Allen (left), general manager of the JN Foundation presents Zhane’ Harrison with a certificate at the at the 40th JN Scholarship Awards ceremony held at the Summit (formerly Knutsford Court Hotel) in New Kingston in November.

One may be surprised to know that Zhane’ Harrison, the 2023 JN Foundation Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Scholarship recipient for Manchester, is no bookworm. Although the 12-year-old performs well academically, her passion lies in drawing, writing poetry and playing video games. And, the mathematics ‘whiz kid’ also believes in balancing her studies with lots of fun time.

“A lot of children would go to extra lessons as part of their preparation for the PEP exams. I signed her up, but she didn’t go and was not interested in that. She studies on her own. I was worried because I was not seeing her study, but she would often go to her room and lock away,” her mother, Janice Ann-Marie Clarke, explained.

Ms Clarke, however, took comfort in the knowledge that her daughter was a consistent high achiever and had been excelling in her studies since kindergarten.  So confident was she in her ability that when her cousin, who resides overseas, encouraged her to apply for the JN Foundation PEP scholarship, she applied before even receiving the results of the exams.

When the results arrived, as predicted, Zhane’ had done exceptionally well, scoring 351 overall in the exams and securing a spot at the first school of her choice, Manchester High School.

Spilling a little about her secret to success, Zhane’ explained that she relied on a lot of practice papers to help prepare her for the exams, along with educational videos to help with her studying.

“Sometimes I watched videos on the topics that we were studying, and that helped a lot in my preparation,” said the young freestyle artist.

The former head girl at El Instituto de Mandevilla, a preparatory school, said that she was pleasantly surprised when her mother told her she was awarded the JN PEP Scholarship for the parish of Manchester. She was one of 37 students awarded the five-year prize for 2023 at the 40th JN Scholarship Awards ceremony held at the Summit (formerly Knutsford Court Hotel) in New Kingston in November.

Zhane’ expressed gratitude for the scholarship, which she said would assist financially. “I’m grateful for the scholarship. It was a big surprise, and I am happy to receive it,” she said.

An aspiring paediatrician, Zhane’s goal is to help heal children when she grows older. Her desire was inspired by her own doctor. “She (Zhane’s doctor) works really well with children, and she inspires me to really want to become a doctor as well,” she said.

The secret to success is the ability to balance, the soft-spoken cat lover believes, and her advice to other students is to strive towards achieving parity between one’s academics and personal passions. “Do not overwork yourself and pace yourself,” she advised.

Her mother also has some advice for parents. She underscores the importance of supporting children on their educational journeys, relying on her own experience with her only child to bring home the point.

“I just made sure she goes to school. If she is absent from school due to illness, I would get the work and have her do it. I made sure she was up to date and had the necessary resources. I must give God thanks,” she said with gratitude.

She continued: “Be there for them. Just support them. Don’t be too anxious about the exams. Ensure that they also get time for themselves to relax. They can’t be in the book 24/7,” she said.

Despite being a single mother, Ms Clarke informed that Zhane’ has a village supporting her, which includes her extended family members who are always there to encourage her.

Kezia Fullerton, a sixth-grade teacher at El Instituto de Mandevilla, who taught Zhane’ in grades five and six, said that she was one of her best students.

“She was very studious, thorough, and quiet. She is a very good leader, and she was particularly strong in mathematics and language arts,” she said as she noted that she was not surprised at her performance in the PEP exams.

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