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Dream altered to help people

by Latoya Burnham

It was only a year ago when Kristen Clarke realised that in order to fulfil one of her bucket-list of items to help people, she would have to alter her childhood dream of becoming a dentist.

So with medicine now firmly in her purview, the 18-year-old lass resorted to prayers from the time her exams at Queen’s College ended to let her do well enough to secure a national award.

But even as she was announced as one of 18 individuals who received a National Exhibition, Clarke said today that she was still a little in shock at how well she did.

“It was the furthest thing from expected. I guess I was praying for a really long time. When I say really long I mean from the time exams were finished I was praying, saying, ‘Lord I need this, I really need this.’ So to say it was expected, no, it was actually a surprise to me.”

In fact, she said her family has been celebrating her success, while she herself is still trying to come to grips with it.

“It is medical school that I am pursuing and that is no kick in the sand. You kinda need to know where the resources are coming from to pull that off,” said the lass who received Ones in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Communication Studies and Caribbean Studies.

The only Grade Two she had received was in Communication Studies in Lower Sixth Form.

“I actually decided in my final year that I was going to switch to medicine. All my life I wanted to be a dentist, so I had all my plans, going to dental school. I have dentists in my family, so I would spend a lot of my summers and Christmases working and getting the feel of it so one day I would come and own the practice. And now, I am going to be a doctor, I have no idea what is going to happen,” she said, with a cheery laugh nonetheless.

She explained: “On my bucket list of things to do, I was always interested in doing mission trips and travelling abroad and helping people. That was my greatest desire … So I actually want to travel to places like Chile and Brazil and further abroad and help people.

“So in order to do that I need something behind my name. I can’t just go and administer help to people as just Kristen Clarke. So my things is to become a doctor so I will have the knowledge to help other people.”

Now she is just waiting to see whether she will get into the University of the West Indies at Mona Campus to push her dream along, even as she thanks her classmates and teachers at QC for guiding and supporting her efforts.

The youth who is involved with several community groups and organisations said it was good to see that the backing of the teachers, the Skyping until 11 p.m., the nights classmates spent at each others house rotating eating, sleeping and studying, finally paid off with awards of scholarships and exhibitions for most of them.

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