‘’I was born at the Falmouth Hospital. I grew up in Kinloss, Trelawny, which is about 35 miles from Falmouth. My mother worked in Montego Bay while my aunts, uncles and grandparents took care of me. My grandparents had 12 kids so I would say I was privileged to have everyone looking out for me. My family and the community raised me. It was a collaborated effort. I’ve never really had my father in my life. He was there, but not present. I have seen him probably two to three times. I can’t tell you if it has affected me or not. it was one of those things I never pondered about.
I attended the Kinloss Basic and Primary Schools; I was doing Mathematics and reading at a very high level in the fifth grade, so at the age of eleven, my aunt took me out of Kinloss Primary School and moved me to Ascot Primary in Portmore, St. Catherine. They wanted better for me. After spending a year at Ascot Primary, I became valedictorian, head boy, and captain of the quiz team. I was also playing football and doing tracks. I never thought I was overachieving nor did I compare myself to others. For me, it was just going with the flow…being the best I could be while giving the credit to my mom and aunt. My mom and aunt were instrumental in selecting my schools for GSAT exams. After the final exam they asked me how it was. I said ‘it was ok.’ It was always ok… I passed for Campion College. My family was happy so I was happy!
Heading into Campion was a huge culture shock. I struggled as I did not have a full grasp of the English Language. The patois was still engrained in me. It is always a struggle being among the best academically and in social status, but I stayed on top. I managed to always stay at top five in class. At this point in High School I was not thinking about my future; I wasn’t thinking about college or what I wanted to become. I played football, did tracks and was captain of the Manning Cup Team right through high school. I was placed second in triple jump at Boys Champs in 2008. In 2010 I won for Campion. I ended up at Penns and was placed second. After fifth form I got nine subjects; eight ones and One two. I did four Cape subjects and was top three in Geography in the Caribbean.
At the end of fifth form, I remember filling out a form online. I eventually got a letter from the Princeton University coach inviting me to a camp overseas. I thought it was a prank. I knew I was good but never thought I was that good… it was no prank…it was real! He reached out to me and encouraged me to pursue my S.A.Ts. I only sent my application to Princeton… I never sent an application to any other institution. The University of Pennsylvania sent me an invite while in upper six. I visited the university. It was great, but I knew if Princeton made the offer I would accept.
Upper six was a great year. I got into Princeton. Full scholarship. I was again making the transition into an uncomfortable situation. It was exciting but uncomfortable for me. I never saw snow before and this was a whole different culture. This was not moving from Trelawny to Portmore to Campion. This was moving to New Jersery. This was moving into Princeton University. This was being among the top one percent of the smartest kids in the world! It was intimidating! It was very difficult as suspected, balancing everything. I was a chemistry major. I was doing twenty hours of lab per week, I had classes and training and at the same time had two jobs, but I had decent success in Ivy League and track and field. I was eight time Ivy League champion and two time all American. I am the school’s record holder and regional field athlete of the year 2013. Last year I came to Jamaica trials and won, then went to Commonwealth Games and became a finalist. I did not do all I wanted to do on the track in university; I focused on my academics as much as possible and I graduated last year from Princeton with a degree in Chemistry. My family never saw a report from me from Princeton in four years, but on the day of graduation I was one of ten students who got to walk on stage…I was one of the few who had an opportunity. I also received one of the top athletic awards.
I now reside in Arizona and is in training. I want to be a world class triple jumper and do my masters before I get to age thirty. This year is for rebuilding. I know it is going to take time to be that world class triple jumper but I am working towards my purpose. I am never meant to be mediocre.
I am just coming back from spending the weekend with my family in Trelawny. It was filled with relaxation and laughter. It was a really great feeling having no emails to respond to every other minute. While there I found out that many of my friends who were equally as smart as me chose many wrong roads to travel on. I thought ‘that could have been me.’ We go through many seasons in our lives but we have to find the joy in these seasons…
I am heading back to Arizona after the summer. I just went back to Campion to help students with their college process, hoping they could get a first- hand view. Even in Arizona I talk to high school kids. They want to be a Usain Bolt. They want to be great. Sports is great. We all love to win but it will only last for a certain time. After age 35, we won’t be able to compete at such high level, so what do we do? There has to be a back- up plan! Part of my purpose and calling is to inspire young people to be the best they can be. I am grateful for the inspiration and motivation I have had from my family and now I can look at them and say ‘thank you. I did not do this for me alone but for all of you…’’