(Jamaica Observer) J’Quani Chung, one of 10 students who sat the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) from a hospital bed, is elated that come next month she will be attending the institution of her first choice, Hampton School.
J’Quani, who was diagnosed with leukaemia after falling ill in October 2017, told JIS News that she was excited to be attending the all-girl boarding intuition in Malvern, St. Elizabeth.
“I feel good. I wanted to go to Hampton because it’s an all-girl school and the best school in St Elizabeth,” she stated.
She noted that studying for and sitting the examination, was not an easy feat, as she fell ill within the first two months of grade six at Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High School.
“It was hard, but my mother stood by my bedside and read to me. She quizzed me and asked me questions and let me answer it,” J’Quani said.
Her mother, Amy Cassanova said she is extremely proud of her daughter and celebrates her achievement with her.
“I feel great knowing that the circumstances was of such and she had to finish her chemo before she had to do the exam; and the fact that her results, they were so successful, and she earned a space at Hampton, I think that is quite commendable,” Cassanova said.
“I wasn’t worried about her passing, I was only worried about the condition of her on that day of the exam — if she would be feeling well enough to go and concentrate,” she added.
Reflecting on the day they recognised something was wrong, Cassanova stated that she has admired the strength her daughter has displayed since her diagnosis.
“It was last year October. We went on a beach trip on Heroes’ Day and she fell … and when she fell into the water she started feeling pain in her knee and she went to the doctor. We thought it was muscle spasm, but after doing some blood tests we realised that her blood count was down, so we did a follow-up test which diagnosed that she had leukaemia,” Cassanova said.
“She’s a persistent girl; she always knows what she wants. She has accepted that fact, that it’s just her illness and that’s what she has to deal with. She’s even going about without the wig now,” she added
The illness has motivated J’Quani’s career choice.
“I want to become a hematologist oncologist pediatrician because… it’s a doctor that deals with children that have blood cancer or blood issues… I went through it already,” she said.
All other students who sat GSAT in a hospital last March were placed in a high school. They are: Kalimah Henry from Wolmer’s Preparatory School, who will be attending Tarrant High School; Laurie-McCooke from McNie All Age School, who will be attending Kellits High School; Tariq Wright, from Half-Way-Tree Primary School, who will be attending Papine High School; and Jermaine Dunbar from Woodford All Age School, who will be attending Donald Quarrie High School.
In addition, Oneil White from Louise Bennett Coverley All Age School will be attending Stony Hill High School Jahlanche Whyte from August Town Primary School will be attending Papine High School; Kennoya Dunn from Hagley Park Preparatory School, will be attending the Norman Manley High School Micah Sanson from Iris Gelly Primary School will be attending Mona High School; and Jahnia Johnson, from Ascot Primary School, will be attending The Queens School.