Seventh heaven

Gittens overcomes dyslexia to win Barbados Scholarship

At the age of seven, Daveed Gittens was diagnosed with dyslexia, making it difficult for him to learn to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols.

However, the disorder does not affect general intelligence, and Gittens’ parents knew he was intelligent, therefore they did their best to ensure he had a good academic foundation.

Today, Gittens was named as one of 26 students to be awarded the prestigious Barbados Scholarship.

“I always struggled with reading, writing and spelling, but my parents always knew I was intelligent. They always said, ‘two intelligent people could not produce a child that was not smart’, so they always worked with me. They realized I had difficulty expressing myself, so they took me to the Caribbean Dyslexia Centre to get help,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Drawing from his own experience, the young Daveed felt there was a need to assist students with similar conditions.

In 2014 he launched the No Limits Foundation, in which he and some schoolmates “began  raising funds with the aim of setting up a scholarship, so less fortunate dyslexic students can get the opportunities I was afforded”.

The Harrison College student wrote Mathematics, Physics and Accounting at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination level, and will pursue studies in actuarial science at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

It was an easy choice, he said, because Mathematics was his strength.

“Mathematics was the only subject I was good at, so I had to love it. And I am always frugal when it comes to spending, so actuarial science combines those two things,” he told Barbados TODAY.

The young Gittens is also continuing a family tradition, as his father, David Gittens, who also attended Harrison College, won a Barbados Scholarship, and his mother Wendy, a past Queens College student, was an exhibition winner.

Meantime, Azariah Forde, all but stood alone as the sole awardee from Christ Church Foundation School.

Forde was one of only three exhibition winners not to come from either Harrison College or Queen’s College, the others coming from the Barbados Community College.

She told Barbados TODAY that winning a Barbados Exhibition was reward for the hard work she put in over the last two years.

“I feel very grateful. I’m also very proud of myself and just feel really blessed by God. It’s great to have something like this, especially since times are hard. It’s just amazing, and I feel happy and at peace.

“All that hard work has paid off very greatly – all those extra lessons, all the extra past papers, and the time spent after school with the teachers,” she stressed.

Forde will be heading to the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies to study medicine, and is eventually hoping to become an ear, nose and throat specialist.

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