Khandé-Jae Fisher boasts an enviable record of academic excellence. Her performance in the May/June 2016 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate examinations was therefore no real surprise to the 16-year-old Mandeville teen who scored 11 grade ones, featuring nine straight ‘A’ profiles in the Caribbean Examination Council-administered school leaving examinations.
“I’ve always worked hard to maintain a high level of academic performance. Throughout my primary school education at El Instituto de Mandevilla, I maintained a high level of performance and I was the top girl for my graduating class. At Manchester High School I was inducted into the Principal’s Distinction Club, where I remained for all five years. I’ve also remained in the top three performing students in my year group and I have worked extremely hard to ensure that I remained there,” Fisher told the Jamaica Observer last week.
Fisher, who said she has never been one to toot her own horn, said her perfect track record did little to calm her dancing nerves, especially on the eve of the results’ publication.
“In all honesty, I was stunned. The first thing I did was scream because I just felt so happy and proud of myself for doing so well. Many people said that it was expected and that I shouldn’t be surprised by my results, but I couldn’t count my eggs [before they hatched]. I am still extremely happy and grateful for everything that I had gone through up until the moment my exams finished because all that work had finally paid off,” the young woman shared.
The Manchester High alum sat chemistry, biology, principles of accounts, economics, information technology, social studies, mathematics, English, additional mathematics, principles of business, and Spanish. She sat the last two as an independent candidate as the regular class schedule would not allow her more than nine subjects at any one time.
As she told Career & Education, she was not of the school of thought that pursuing more subjects than the recommended eight was a waste of time and money. On the contrary, she called it a lifesaver for students like herself who found themselves uncertain about a career path.
“One of [the] greatest challenges I had when I was going into fourth form was that I had no idea what I wanted to become. That is part of the reason I did so many subjects, I was trying to make sure that I had all the requirements. It wasn’t until the end of fifth form that I had narrowed it down to a career involving chemistry and economics, my favourite subjects. After researching careers in chemistry and economics, I think I have finally made up my mind. I will be pursuing a career in analytical chemistry,” Fisher said.
Fortunately for her, she never had to take on her challenges alone, citing the support and inspiration provided by her parents as beyond helpful.
“God’s grace, mercy, and blessings, as well as His guidance and strength, were [integral] to my success and, while hard work, discipline and a tireless commitment were also important, I owe my family, especially my parents, much of the credit.
“Without my family around me, I wouldn’t have been so focused and committed to achieving what I set out to. My mother, especially, has played a fundamental role in my success. She is an accountant and just as with my older siblings, she held classes with me in accounts and English, where she went through the syllabus with me and made sure that I understood all the topics.
“[She also] combed through SBAs (School-Based Assessment) to ensure they were on point or listened to me explain organic chemistry. I honestly don’t know how I would have done it without her. My whole family has been supportive with accommodating my hectic schedule,” Fisher explained.
Her parents, Jannett and Horace Fisher took pleasure in helping, noting not only that their daughter’s drive since infancy was admirable, but that the success of their children was theirs too.
“It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment because KhandÃ© has always been extremely vivacious and eager to learn. As a toddler, she was always involved in anything her older siblings were doing, and she learned by example. As a result, she started reading from a very early age. Her older sister, Kellye-RaÃ© taught her to read, count, add and subtract before she started kindergarten. We have always known that she was special and that she would do well because even before she knew it herself, Khande was willing to learn, and that’s one of her many inspiring qualities,” Mrs Fisher said of their daughter.
The second of the book lover’s challenges, however, she had to figure out on her own. Her decision to take on subjects outside the walls of Manchester High meant that she was almost always strapped for time. She was faced with being torn between ensuring her academic excellence and engaging in extra-curricular activities.
“Balancing all my extra classes while attending piano lessons, and ensuring that all my assignments were handed in on time, was difficult. However, I also knew I had to put in more to ensure that I succeeded, so I knew I had to put dance and Key Club activities on hold. This I did for everything else except for church, where I still actively participated in the teen as well as the performing arts ministries, along with the teens’ choir. My social life, however, was on pause,” Fisher relayed.
Now, with a perfect transcript as payment for deprived extra-curricular activities, Fisher, who has been accepted into the Manchester High sixth form programme, said she will have more time on her hands to invest in the areas which she is most passionate about, particularly piano.
“When I am not reading, I’m mostly playing the piano. I love to play the piano and I practise that a lot. I am going to sit an exam later this year so that I can hopefully matriculate to grade 8. When I am not doing either of those things, like anyone else my age, I enjoy watching shows and movies, making my friends laugh, and dancing,” she said.
Fisher will be taking on chemistry, biology, economics and pure mathematics as double-unit courses and single-unit courses in mathematics and communication studies at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination level in May/June of next year.
Source: Jamaica Observer