Tobago’s scholarship winner conquers pandemic challenge

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Tobago’s lone national scholarship winner Daniel Wilson. – Photo courtesy Daniel Wilson

TOBAGO’s lone national scholarship winner Daniel Wilson is advising students to be steadfast, committed and spiritually grounded as they navigate life’s challenges.

Wilson, 19, a former student of Bishop’s High School, was among the 100 national scholarship winners in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) for 2020/2021 awarded by the Ministry of Education last week.

“My advice would be to stay grounded in your faith, stay purposeful and committed to the cause and ensure that in whatever you do, you put your best foot forward and make it a priority to do your best in all things,” he told Sunday Newsday.

“I think that is important because my mom always instilled in me, at the end of the day, the important thing is to do your best.”

Wilson, who studied sociology, history, entrepreneurship, communications studies and Caribbean studies, also advised young people to take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow, even after they have finished high school.

“Make learning a priority but make it fun. I think you could achieve anything with faith, commitment and purpose.”

Wilson admitted studying during the covid19 pandemic was challenging at first.

“Initially, that was a big challenge because as soon as I started sixth form, that is when school closed and I felt really robbed of that kind of holistic sixth form experience. But, I believe that in this world you have to adapt and I think I was able to adapt to the online mode of studies pretty well.”

“It is all about being purposeful and consistent in every circumstance life may throw at you. So, I think I was able to do that quite well and make a transition pretty easy.”

He said, however, he would have preferred the in-person setting.

“But you just have to do what you have to do at the end of the day. That was my mindset.

The Sou Sou Lands native, who is currently a first-year law student at UWI’s Cave Hill campus, Barbados, said he was able to successfully balance academics with his work in advocacy and volunteerism.

“I am all about volunteerism, service, advocacy and giving back.”

Wilson, whose older brother Dexter, is a former Caricom youth ambassador, said he has been involved in various youth-oriented organisations such as youth ambassadors and the THA’s youth assembly.

“I like to be out there helping people develop. I love public speaking, love debating and imparting whatever knowledge I would have gained from those whom I consider to be my role models for the next generation.”

Saying he intends to continue his work in advocacy and student leadership at Cave Hill, Wilson said he is running for the position of hall chairperson in the campus’ undergraduate guild elections on March 25.

“So, that is an avenue for me to also advocate and give back to the residents on campus.”

Asked how he felt on learning that he had received a national scholarship Wilson said, “I was so surprised. It was something totally unexpected.”

He recalled his form teacher Abeni Taylor gave him the news.

“It really blew my mind because at the time I was studying for one of my courses here at Cave Hill. The emotions were overwhelming. I was happy, grateful and humbled. It was just a very emotional event.”

He said his mother, Charlene Wilson, who was sleeping at the time, leapt from her bed and screamed in joy when she learnt the news.

Still overwhelmed, Wilson said he simply wants to return home to celebrate with his family, friends and teachers.

“What I really want is to come home, even if it’s for a few days, to just give thanks to everyone – my teachers at Bishop’s, my family, my friends. That’s in the perfect world.

“So, if anyone is willing to send me a ticket home to express my gratitude to Tobago, that would be greatly appreciated.”

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