Akeem Has Big Dreams

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A report by Ainsworth Morris for the Jamaican Information Service.

Winner of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage Poster Competition for 2017, Akeem Plummer, wants to become a medical doctor – a good one, who will help people like himself who come from modest circumstances.

“I want to help people. I know that I may not be a millionaire… but with my passion for science and my willingness to help people, I could become a doctor,” says the sixth-form student of Belair High School in Mandeville.

He is in the process of applying to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

The 19-year-old, who was awarded his prize at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew on Monday (November 27), tells JIS News that he is excited to be the winner of the Heritage Poster Competition. He says he was not expecting to win, as it was his first time entering.

Akeem’s poster celebrates the country’s history with drawings capturing global achievements in sports and the arts, and showcasing the heritage sites. At the centre is a raised fist bound by chains, and at the top is a girl standing in salute to the Jamaican flag.

“This poster… commemorates transcendence, reverence, strength and unity… some of our achievements through the 55 years since we gained Independence,” Akeem says.

For his victory, he received a cash prize plus a gift certificate, smartphone, tablet, graphics course at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, a book and a trophy.

Akeem says he is proud of his work, “even though there were small errors”.

Achieving excellence is nothing new to Akeem, who is one of the outstanding scholars at Belair High and a top art student.

He passed 10 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects with grade one in Art, English Language, Biology, Integrated Science, Human and Social Biology, and Social Studies. He earned a grade two in Mathematics, Chemistry and Information Technology and grade three in Physics.

“I had a lot of sleepless nights. I had to really work hard, because some of the subjects were really challenging (and)… I’m not really a math person, but I still had to do it. There was peer pressure, but I had to overcome that in order to get the excellent grades and avoid all distractions,” Akeem says.

He tells JIS News that he is looking forward to passing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) that he will be sitting in 2018.

Akeem cites his mother, Carlene Bailey, as his main motivation, noting that he wants to make her proud.

“She does housekeeping. I really want to make her proud, because she is the only one there and she does everything for me. She provides everything. Sometimes I don’t know how she does it, but she does it. So I am thankful,” he says.

Akeem was among 20 youth who were awarded for their essays, posters and photographs, which they had submitted for the JIS Heritage Competition.

Zarri-Ann Baugh from Ardenne Extension High and Aliyah Wright from Manchester High were second and third, respectively, in the poster section of the competition.

In the essay category, Jaida Lalor and Gianne Willie from George Headley Primary placed first and second, respectively, while Janelle Ellis from Praise Tabernacle Christian School was third.

Say-rah Buckland from the University of the West Indies (UWI) won the photo competition, with Lamar Salmon from The Mico University College second, and Janielle Lyn from the University College of the Caribbean third.

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