Miracle Child Excels Despite

Twelve-year-old Denaelia Martin, Primary Exit Profile examinations (PEP) student of the Georges Plain Primary School in Westmoreland pushed through COVID-19 challenges by sitting at the window of her cousin’s house to do her online schooling.

Sherine Martin, expressed that she is proud of her daughter, who is the youngest of 5 children for her mother.

“She chose to sit by the window because she said she does not want to disturb the other children who also use to WiFi at the house,” she stated, “they attend another school so their work is different. Her attitude towards school is so good.”

Kedisha Bacchas, the owner of the house, allows several children from the community to use her WiFi. However, while she is at work, the house is closed, so they stay on the veranda.

Sherine explained that Denaelia’s determination started at birth when she flourished despite what doctors stated. Explaining that when her daughter was born, she was plagued with numerous illnesses.

“When she was born, they told me if she pulled through the night, it would be a miracle,” Sherine stated, “I developed diabetes during my pregnancy and they had to take her before time. She made it through the night. The doctors then told me, as she got older, that she would not be like normal children. That she would be handicapped. At age one she was still not walking, and even at age three she was still not talking as she should.”

Sherine explained that despite these challenges Denaelia was still allowed to enroll in school, starting at the early age of two. This helped her development. But she would go on to suffer through other illnesses which made her miss several days of school. Despite these challenges she excelled in school to become one of George’s Plain Primary School’s top student, always ending the term in the top 3 of her class, copping multiple awards since her enrolment.

“She is my last child,” Sherine continued, “I tell her that she will be the one to make our family proud.”

In addition to her illnesses, the family has been ill-fated over the years when first, Sherine, the matriarch of the family had to stop working when she developed several illnesses.“Everything was going okay so far, because I use to go out and do days work,” she explained, “I am diabetic and also suffer with high cholesterol. In January 2020 I had a heart attack and since then I keep having black outs. So I am unable to work now. But I somehow manage to keep her in school.”

While Denaelia’s father, now the sole bread winner of the family, was able to continue his trade, he was hit from his motorcycle in 2020 and robbed of his chain saw, which was his main work tool. While he has pressed on despite the challenges, by doing odd jobs, Sherine explains that it is still a very difficult time for the family.

She explained that Denaelia is on PATH so she had received a tablet through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI), but the internet access was the most challenging.

“She [Denaelia] now only suffers from allergies these days and she is complaining about her eyes being a bit blurry,” Sherine expressed, “But you know how it is I can’t afford to take her to get them checked out.”

Denaelia’s teacher, Taleisha Plummer expressed her pride in her student, stating that, “Denaelia is very disciplined when it comes on to learning. She is an active student when it comes on to extra-curricular activities. She doesn’t back down from any tasks given to her. She is a member of the dance group and she is one of the leaders in Brownie. I am now her Grade Six teacher, but I also taught her in Grade three. When she was in Grade three she was absent a lot, but she still always came first, because she was still doing her work during her illness. She works well independently.”

One week before she was required to sit the PEP exams, the family was successful in acquiring Internet at their home. Studying will now be easier for Danaelia who is confident that she did well enough on her exams and will be given her first choice to be enrolled at Manning’s School, which is a top choice for many Westmoreland students.

By: Rosalee D. Wood | [email protected]

Rosalee, originally from the parish of Clarendon, grew up in Frome, Westmoreland, and is a Manning’s School alumnus, who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Cultural Studies from the University of the West Indies (UWI Mona). She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration through the University of South Wales. Rosalee is also a businesswoman, who has owned and operated several businesses for the past 12 years. Her experience covers several fields and includes marketing and communications, business development, entertainment, tourism, food and beverage, and administrative duties. She currently wears several professional hats; a freelance writer for the Jamaica Observer; CEO and owner of Entertainment City Jamaica, a media production and marketing firm; and Editor-in-Chief of Off Di Track Magazine, a travel and entertainment guide, and Western Outlook an online newspaper highlighting western Jamaican news and views. She has transitioned from professional football player to volunteer football executive and currently sits on several executive boards within the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and other associations.  Rosalee’s philosophy of life has motivated her to offer her services and time to helping others. Her journey with Cornerstone Jamaica was peaked when she wrote her first article about the organization. CJ’s direction of teaching a man how to fish instead of giving them a fish is how she believes non-profit organizations should operate. Head of CJ, Gary Robinson’s personality and drive was also a great motivation. In turn, her most memorable moment was when she was given the opportunity to write an article on their fall 2019 vision clinic, giving her the view that Cornerstone Jamaica has set the standard on how non-profits should be operated.