Jamaica Gleaner / Called from her house early on Tuesday morning to turn up at an essay-writing competition presentation that afternoon, Julie-Ann Henry thought she was just going to collect a prize for her daughter, Othia Fyffe, who attends Brown’s Town High School.
She did collect the prize, in the absence of her daughter who had gone with her school team to play a netball match. Othia was chosen as the top student from a field of 18 prize winners drawn from six of the top high schools in the region, which had entered the competition.
Her prize included a trophy, a certificate and funds to cover six subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations next year.
The event, which was held at the St Hilda’s Diocesan High School auditorium, had students from York Castle, Westwood, Aabuthnott Gallimore, Ferncourt, Brown’s Town, and St Hilda’s high schools collecting trophies, certificates, and most important, funding for three, four, or six CSEC exams in 2018.
But Henry was in for a really pleasant surprise as competition organisers, Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) Group Foundation, presented her with a top parent award in recognition of her daughter’s achievement, with children’s achievements being invariably tied to their upbringing.
“Excellent,” Henry replied, when asked how she felt at being named top parent, for which she earned a tank full of gas.
A cosmetologist, Henry made it known she is proud of her daughter’s efforts at Brown’s Town High School.
“Othia is in grade 11. She is head girl and is doing well and I’m very proud of her. She’s a keen student when it comes to her book work. I can’t even explain how that little girl makes me proud, very proud,” Henry said.
She explained that she is working to ensure that her daughter enjoys the success she never had.
“Where I didn’t succeed in life, she will. She is the top girl for the school and now she has got six of her seven subjects paid for. And knowing the child I have and how stern she is when it comes to her book work, whatever she decides to do, she will achieve. I believe in her. She wants to be a nurse and I’m trying to let her achieve that.”
Asked in what way she supports her daughter, Henry was humble in her reply.
‘Trying to be the mother’
“I’m trying to be the mother, trying to be the mother that’s all I can do because I’m a single parent, so I just have to try to be the mother,” she said.
Obviously, she’s doing a good job of it.
Othia is the oldest of three children for Henry. Apart from being good academically, she is active in sports as she is a member of her school’s netball team.
Taking time off from work was well worth it for Henry as it turned out to be a good day for her.
“Yes it was,” she confirmed with a smile.