Gabrielle Spence: Montego Bay High student shines


Staying focused and the support of an extended family unit were key components of Gabrielle Spence’s study programme to tackle her nine subjects in the 2012 sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

The 16-year-old student of Montego Bay High School in St James has walked away with distinctions in the subjects that span business and the arts.

“I was surprised at the results because I thought that this year’s exams, to me, were harder compared to past papers,” Gabrielle told The Gleaner.

She topped mathematics, English language, Spanish, office administration, principles of business, information technology, principles of accounts, human and social biology and religious education.

The youngster also has a 10th CSEC distinction for the social studies paper, which she wrote in 2011.

She is still undecided what position her future career in the business field will take.

“I think I want to be a chief financial officer or have my own accounting firm. I’m really not sure yet,” said the soft-spoken teen, who will celebrate her 17th birthday in November.

During the lead-up to the CSEC exams, Gabrielle said she used the ‘free periods’ when teachers were absent from classes to do group studying, and did reinforcement work at home.

“At home, I studied straight through the nights. There were times when I didn’t sleep or finished studying at four in the morning,” she shared.

“The mock exams really help as well because it tells you where you need to brush up and study more. Interestingly, after the mock exams, I came first in my class so I got to be the valedictorian for my school.”

Four loving parents

Gabrielle boasts that she is blessed with four loving parents – her father, Orville Spence and stepmother, Nadine; and her mother and stepfather, Lisa and Carl Ireland – who all played their roles in being her support unit.

Now, the scholar has her sights set on the Montego Bay Community College where she will be pursuing a two-year pre-University of Technology (UTech) curriculum towards her Bachelor of Arts in business administration.

From there, she will do two more years of study at UTech in Kingston.

But this plan is subject to change as Gabrielle also wants to sit the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in hopes of getting a scholarship to an American university to study business.

“For those preparing for CSEC next year, you have to pay attention in classes, use past papers and you have to study hard. Don’t be easily distracted, stay focused,” Gabrielle advised.