For Rebecca Roberts, an education is an opportunity at a better life and a pathway toward a successful future. It is with this in mind that the teenager is focused on ensuring that she fulfills her goal of being the first person in her family to attend university, and has hopes of being awarded a scholarship to facilitate her university matriculation and ease the financial burden on her parents.
Rebecca credits having applied herself academically as the reason she is a 4.00 grade point average (GPA), 11th grade student at Kingsway Academy (KA).
The teen owns up to not having always been “invested” in school, but said as she matured, she realized it was in her best interest to make school a priority. She also gives a lot of credit to the student she is today to her mom, Charmaine Roberts.
“I remember how my mother used to scream at me to study, and get upset at me when I would receive poor grades because of a lack of interest, in the first half of elementary school. To be truthful, I hated constantly being told to study and her constantly testing me on material, but it was those moments that taught me how vigorous the world of academics is, and that if I wanted to get ahead, I would have to put in the extra work,” said the teen.
“Now as someone who is extremely invested in school, education is an opportunity to a better life and a pathway toward a successful future.”
Rebecca entered ninth grade at KA after two years of homeschooling and successfully sitting two Bahamas Junior Certificates (BJC) examinations in math and English in eighth grade, for which she obtained A grades in both subjects. She has since completed another six BJCs in ninth grade and obtained five A grades and 1 B grade.
The daughter of Charmaine and Darin Roberts has had the gamut of education studies – she went from regular school to homeschooling for two years, before repacking her backpack to return to the regular classroom, then was faced with reverting to online learning when the pandemic hit. It was quite a see-saw for her.
“The adjustment was actually quite difficult in returning to regular school because of the vast differences in American and Bahamian curricula,” said Rebecca. “I remember it as basically a whole year of catching up, trying to complete three years’ worth of work in only one academic year in order to sit BJC examinations.”
And being homeschooled, she said, did not prepare her for the abrupt closure of schools, nor did it make it any easier, after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in The Bahamas on March 15, 2020.
“The homeschooling curriculum I used took many years to develop, and was designed for online learning. However, when schools closed, since our curriculum was structured for the ideal in-person classes, it proved to be a different way of life to adjust to.”
In February, Rebecca, like thousands of students, engaged in hybrid lessons at KA, after months of solely online learning. She prefers the hybrid model of learning as opposed to fully remote classes, and believes that fully in-person classes would be the most beneficial.
“The entire pandemic has been nonetheless stressful for me as a student,” said Rebecca. “The never-ending work, eye-strain, and the valuable time lost are just a few of the challenges that I have experienced.”
The teen is preparing to sit seven Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams – English language, mathematics, physics, bookkeeping and accounts, economics, commerce, and Spanish.
And she admits that physics is currently her favorite subject simply because the subject material is interesting to her, which also accounts for it being the subject in which she has the highest grade.
Rebecca, who is adamant she will pursue post-secondary education, said she has not identified a course of study as yet andthat currently, all pathways are open for her in relation to business studies.
Academics became priority for Rebecca when she realized that to achieve her dreams, she had to put in the effort and work. That paid off for the youngster when she received the Genesis Primary School’s Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year nomination in 2016; she placed 12th, which she said motivated her to continue to excel.
And excelled she has. In 2021, Rebecca was inducted into KA’s honor society, Alpha Kappa Tau. She was also given prefect duties at the beginning of her 11th-grade year.
While she has her eye on the prize, like a true teenager, Rebecca admits that there are times when she may feel like quitting, but knows that if she quits, she is doomed to fail.
“I always tell myself that it doesn’t matter how bad I feel, I should still work and do my best. If there is a goal I need to accomplish, I need to accomplish it, regardless of the obstacles.
“The truth that many students do not want to hear is that sometimes, studying is boring. It is mentally exhausting at other times. Trust me, I never feel energized after a day of studying for nine hours.”
The teen said every student must find their preferred method of studying and what works for them.
“I know that I do better when I study for consecutive hours as opposed to shorter intervals, but that is not the case for everyone.”
At the end of the day, she said she feels the most satisfaction when she achieves her dreams knowing it is because of her hard work and persistent efforts. She also advises her peers to take education seriously because an education, she said, affords the opportunity at a better life.
As a primary school student, Rebecca also showed an altruistic spirit, raising money to aid the work of The Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation, which resulted in her making an $800-plus donation to the foundation. She said as she matured, she realized there were other ways that she could better assist her community, which she did by volunteering to ring the bell with the Rotary Club of East Nassau for The Salvation Army, assisting with Vacation Bible School at Global Village Methodist Church, and through her donation of Christian literature to the Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home, on behalf of Senior Teens for Christ, a Christian outreach club in which she is the president.
“Engaging in activities like these are important to me because I believe that we should do our best to assist those who are less fortunate. Even if we do not see ourselves as very fortunate, there is always some way that we can help others, such as offering our time to assist with ongoing projects.”
The teen is also a member of Build-A-Bridge and Earth Watch clubs at school.