Loud cheers pierced the air at Blackman and Gollop Primary School as the news broke that ten-year-old Jovan Linton was named the island’s top boy in this year’s Common Entrance exam with 99 per cent Mathematics, 99 in English and an ‘A’ in Composition. Smiles adorned the faces of teachers and students alike and Jovan was smothered with hugs and kisses.
With a big grin, Jovan said hearing the news made him feel great, especially knowing he was among the youngest who sat this year’s exam.
“For other people it would have been an extremely big experience but I knew I could do it and the people that encouraged me were a great help,” he said with sheer confidence.
Jovan will be going to Queen’s College come September, a school he has had his heart set on for the past five years. While crediting his parents, teachers, principal and some friends for his success, he admitted that he put in lots of work to achieve his academic goal.
“I did my work in class, then I would go to lessons and then go home and study,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Class teacher Lisa Goring, who taught Jovan in both Class 3 and 4, described him as enthusiastic, confident and a student who always gives of his best.
“I wanted him to keep on track and he has proven himself. When he said he is going to do something he definitely attains it,” Goring said while giving her top student a big hug and brimming with pride.
Principal Petrona Holder was filled with unexplainable happiness. Holder, who recently joined the school in her first assignment as principal, would not have known Jovan very long, but she only had glowing things to say about him.
“He is well-mannered, a very respectful young man, well spoken and intelligent. He has self-confidence, and not just an air of self confidence, but the confidence he has is remarkable. A child that does not take a failure as an excuse to not try again,” she said.
Echoing Jovan’s class teacher’s sentiments about his perseverance, Holder added that he faces challenges with a level of maturity that belies his age.
As the news was still sinking in, the principal had not yet determined how Jovan’s achievement would be celebrated but noted that the school itself was also in celebration mode as they were marking their five-year anniversary.
Jovan’s parents Alex and Sharon Linton could not hide their excitement, with his father laughing heartily as he spoke about his son’s success.
“He worked hard for a number of years, not just a couple of months. His mum worked with him tirelessly from the inception,” Alex told Barbados TODAY.
Both parents gave God thanks for Jovan’s remarkable feat acknowledging that without Him none of this would be possible. The Lintons were also very grateful to his teachers and Dave Layne, principal at St Cyprian’s Boys’ School where he attended before Blackman and Gollop, and family friend Angela Sealy-Lewis, teacher at St Christopher Primary, for working assiduously with Jovan.
Mum Sharon said she always knew her son would be a success.
“He always said,‘mummy I want to be top boy’ and he was always eager about doing his school work. Sometimes you would put Jovan to bed and when you look Jovan is with a searchlight under his pillow doing work,” she revealed.
Jovan’s heavy focus on his academics did not stop him from taking part in a number of extra-curricular activities. He took violin and singing lessons, did music theory and played a number of sports, including road tennis, cricket and swimming. His mother emphasized the importance of having a well-rounded student since secondary school was not just about Mathematics and Grammar.
Dad Alex also had some words of wisdom for other students who completed the exam and would be entering secondary school in a few months time.
“I was to wish all the kids in the exam all the best as they move on to secondary school. It is not just where you go but the effort you put in and what you get out at the end,” he said.
According to Jovan – whose three siblings attend Blackman and Gollop Primary – his next goal is to be a great cricketer. He also has aspirations of being a neurosurgeon, and with his positive attitude and determination, believes anything is possible.