Jerlea: Felt like I was on cloud nine

Top primary school student says she hopes to continue to share sprinkles of kindness among other service acts whenever she can

As Jerlea Adderley was being acknowledged as among the top two finalists for primary school student of the year, the 10-year-old was between looking at her mother Leandra Kelly trying to determine if she was crying – which she was – and thinking about what she was going to eat when she got home after the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation’s (BPSSYF) ceremony, which she said was a “bit long” (at two and a half hours).

At the same token, she said she was “happy and excited” to be named the 2022 Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year (BPSSY) and the winner of a $7,000 scholarship among other prizes.

“After my name was called it was like a light bulb clicked. My mom and Nana [Veronica Frazier] ran over to me and were hugging me. It felt like I was on cloud nine. I was smiling from ear to ear. It was just so fantastic. People were clapping and cheering and it was awesome,” said Jerlea.

Two days after her win, Jerlea said “it almost feels like a dream” after she was named the 26th BPSSY.

“This honor means the world to me. I am grateful to God for bringing me to this point in my life. I am blessed to have the support of my family, especially my mom, who is my biggest fan, my godparents, church community, administrators, teachers and friends.”

The honor she said proves, “It’s not where your start but it’s how you finish.”

“I live in the inner city – in Bain Town to be exact. Most times when people think of communities ‘over the hill’ they think about gangs, murders and crime – but my number one goal is to prove them wrong. It is my hope that other young people in my community would see all that I have accomplished in my short life and that this would encourage them to believe that they can do the same and achieve even greater things than I have.”

Jerlea said she also shares the honor with her late uncle, Rashad “Uncle Sharky” Frazier, and that it gives her the opportunity to honor his life and memory, and to share with the world how he inspired her to always put her best forward in everything that she does and always be willing to go the extra mile to help others.

Jerlea, a graduating sixth-grade student from Sts. Francis & Joseph Catholic Primary School, was welcomed back to school on Monday by the principal, Tiffany Glass, administrators, teachers and her peers.

“We took lots of photos. I was so happy,” said Jerlea.

Her mom and godparents, she said, are also organizing a party to celebrate her achievement once school closes for the summer and she said she can’t wait.

“It’s going to be epic!”

When Jerlea was nominated by her school, the daughter of Jerome Adderley said she remembers feeling nervous but excited.

“I felt a great sense of pride knowing that my principal, administrators and teachers see me as a model student who is kind, caring and respectful. They also had the confidence in me to represent Sts. Francis and Joseph Primary School very well.”

Jerlea, who has a 3.95 grade point average (GPA) said for as long as she can remember, she has always gotten good grades and loved school, but said it wasn’t until 2019 when Lauren Scriven, a friend at St. Francis de Sales School in Abaco, was named student of the year that she became interested in the program.

“Assisting Lauren with her Kindness Patrol community service project at school inspired me to establish my very own Cupcakes of Love – Sprinkles of Kindness Foundation in third grade. That’s how it all began.”

Jerlea baked and sold cupcakes to assist Theresa Haynes, a member of her church in Abaco, who was in need of funds to pay for cancer treatment. Since then, she has continued to focus on her studies as well as give back to her community and people in need by spreading joy and kindness one cupcake at a time. She hopes to continue to share sprinkles of kindness with those in her community whenever she can.

The BPSSY said she also hopes to finalize plans for a permanent home for her Tutoring Tots program at the Bain and Grants Town Community Centre.

“With the help of Minister [Wayde] Watson and his office staff, my mom, godmothers Maria Dorsette (finance professional), Samantha Anderson, Shona Knowles, my aunt Tavette Kelly (all teachers) and my aunt Melony Romer-Kelly (finance professional), we will be able to assist students in the constituency specifically in the subjects of math and language.”

Jerlea said over the summer break, she also plans to work with Sister Marva Coakley to replant impatiens in the garden at St. Martin’s Convent because the flowers aren’t getting enough sunlight where they are now, and to add more beautiful colors to the yard.

Th new primary school student of the year is also a member of the 9th Bahamas Brownie Pack – Bahamas Girl Guides Association and said she’s looking forward to becoming a group leader in the near future.

Jerlea, who will attend Aquinas College (AC) in the fall, said she hopes to continue to be a good citizen and member of the community, to help others as best as she can and to inspire other young people to have confidence in themselves to achieve their goals.

Her decision to attend AC she said stems from the fact that during her campus tour, the student leaders told them about their wonderful experiences and opportunities to travel to Spain and Australia as World Scholars and the amazing administrators and teachers.

“Best of all, I love science, and when we toured the labs, I was blown away. Mr. [Raymond] Knight showed us his collection of bugs, snakes and other creatures. Mrs. [Carniqua] King-Rolle even did a short demonstration of elephant toothpaste. [A foamy substance that’s created when you combine water, hydrogen peroxide, yeast and dish soap. It is commonly used in classrooms to demonstrate an exothermic reaction. More recently, it’s been used for gender reveals.] That was awesome! Not to mention, my mom is a proud alumna (class of 1999).”

Jerlea said she was also amazed to see a beautiful, spotless campus during her tour.

“You would not be able to find one candy wrapper on the floor.”

Jaishon Rajon Pickstock, a Bishop Michael Eldon School student out of Grand Bahama, was first runner-up. He received a $6,500 scholarship.

Among the ranked finalists, Priya Beneby, a student at Xavier’s Lower School and Jaya Mackey, a student at St. Anne’s Primary School, were second runners-up; they both received $6,000 scholarships.

Dinah Dean, a student at Hugh W. Campbell Primary School, was fourth runner-up; she received a $5,000 scholarship. Karis Moss, a St. Thomas More Catholic Primary School student, was fifth runner-up; she received a $5,000 scholarship.

Lazario Bastian (Nassau Christian School) was sixth; Kimya Poitier (Palmdale Primary School) was seventh; Sara Bertoldo (St. Andrew’s International School) was eighth; Melissa Beukes (Lyford Cay International School) was ninth; Arianna Miller (Queen’s College) was 10th; Aaliyah Rolle (Kingsway Academy – Elementary) was 11th; Malaya Gordon (Eva Hilton Primary) was 12th – they each received a $3,500 scholarship.

Eleven students received $3,000 each and five students each received $2,500 in scholarship money. Sixteen students each received $2,000 scholarships; 19 students got $1,500 each and 38 students each received $1,000. In addition, the top 16 students each received a laptop, while four students each received a tablet.

Each child received a trophy; the top 10 students each received a $100 voucher for school shoes from The Shoe Village; top 30 students each received a $100 school supplies voucher from Scotiabank; and Jerlea also received a $100 uniform voucher from Carey’s Fabric and Uniform Store.

The prestigious competition recognizes talented sixth-grade students around The Bahamas for their high scholastic and extracurricular achievements. Each school is allowed to nominate one student.

The ultimate winner is expected to be a well-rounded, standout student, and doesn’t necessarily have to be the smartest student with a 4.00 GPA.

Judging criteria for nominees include contribution to school life, academic achievement, extracurricular achievement, community involvement and overall presentation of their submitted portfolio.

“Academic achievement alone does not guarantee placement in the awards program,” said BPSSYF president and founder Ricardo P. Deveaux.

In selecting the ultimate winner, the judging panel making the decision takes an all-encompassing approach to candidates – scrutinizing everything from the child’s academics, to leadership and community involvement from as far back as third grade. The award is not meted out necessarily on what the nominee might have started doing in their sixth-grade year and year of their nomination.

Deveaux previously told The Nassau Guardian that the judges are looking for a child who has been consistent, and who has been doing a service over time, and not just something they decided to do their last year in primary school or to receive a nomination. The ultimate winner’s portfolio reflects a child who was engaged in their project/platform from as early as third or fourth grade.

The awards program was established in 1997. Since its inception, the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation has presented approximately $2 million in scholarships and prizes, and recognized over 2,800 of the best and brightest primary school students.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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