Shavel Ebanks is a shin­ing ex­am­ple in Can­ter­bury

The Star (Jamaica) - - FEATURE WESTERN STAR - AL­BERT FERGUSON STAR Writer

Eigh­teen-year-old Shavel Ebanks of the tough in­ner-city com­mu­nity of Can­ter­bury in Mon­tego Bay, St James, is seek­ing to bal­ance the score so­ci­ety places on her com­mu­nity while seek­ing a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion for her­self and other chil­dren in the area.

In­ner-city com­mu­ni­ties like Can­ter­bury are widely re­garded by many as com­mu­ni­ties that are un­able to rise from the dust of poverty, es­pe­cially in their cur­rent con­di­tion. How­ever, Ebanks who has had to strug­gle with the scar of be­ing a mem­ber of this com­mu­nity since birth, is adamant that the fin­ished pic­ture can be dif­fer­ent through ed­u­ca­tion.

Ebanks, who is the third and only fe­male child for her mother, with whom she lives in the com­mu­nity, is a first-year pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent-teacher at the Sam Sharpe Teach­ers’ Col­lege.

“There are a lot of strug­gles, be­cause I am from the ghetto along with the no­tion that noth­ing good will come from here, but I am de­ter­mined to change that as there are oth­ers be­fore me like my brother (An­dre Cleghorn), who has gone to col­lege and is gain­fully em­ployed,” Ebanks told the WESTERN STAR.

“I have been liv­ing with neg­a­tive views of the ghetto since my time at Chet­wood Memo­rial Pri­mary School. It con­tin­ued through my high school years and even now that I am in col­lege. The opin­ions of many are that the pres­sures of the ghetto will see me get­ting preg­nant and drop­ping out of high school, but I have made those opin­ions re­dun­dant and proven them oth­er­wise,” she said.

“It is sur­pris­ing to many, know­ing that I have come this far,” said Ebanks, who earned a place at Green Pond High School af­ter she took the Grade Six Achieve­ment Test (GSAT).

“When I passed for Green Pond High, the first thing that peo­ple said was that I am a dunce girl and was slow in learn­ing be­cause I passed for Green Pond and that my mother should let me go to a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion school be­cause that’s where slow peo­ple go.”

MO­TI­VATE CHIL­DREN

“I grad­u­ated from Green Pond High with five of six sub­jects sat at the Caribbean Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Cer­tifi­cate (CSEC) at Grade 3 of which I am now re­sit­ting them be­cause I know I can get them at Level 1,” she said.

Ebanks said that she still finds time to mo­ti­vate chil­dren in her com­mu­nity, helping with home­work and men­tor­ship.

“I have a pro­gramme here, where I gather 15 to 20 chil­dren and teach them in the evenings.”

“It is over­whelm­ing for me to the needs of the chil­dren in my com­mu­nity cou­pled with my own course work as a stu­dent teacher, but I have to con­tinue to do it for the com­mu­nity in or­der to help lift the pro­file of the peo­ple here, and I know it will be worth it in the end,” she said.

Shavel Ebanks, a stu­dent teacher at Sam Sharpe Teach­ers Col­lege in St James.

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