GLENMUIR HIGH School lower sixth form student Jaleel Williams has a lot to smile about as he earned a score of 1,550 out of 1,600 in the Scholastic Aptitude Test and he has been selected as one of the elite students who will participate in the Caribbean Science Foundation SPISE (Student Programme for Innovation in Science and Engineering) at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus.
With dreams as far back as he can remember of being a mechanical engineer, Williams said as he got older and acquired an interest in programming, his career changed to software engineering.
“I took interest in this field because I enjoy programming and working with technology. Technology can be complex, but as time progresses, we are becoming increasingly dependent on technology and even more complex forms need to be developed as a result. It was in using technology for work and leisure that I realised I wanted to pursue software engineering as my career path,” he shared.
His shift was influenced by the keen interest he took in video games and their designs as he said it inspired him to find out exactly how the games were made – that quest took him to programming.
“Though I enjoy video games, there has to be a balance between games and academics. Academic success is necessary for me to achieve my desires in life, so there are times when I put the games aside and focus on studying. Though I am a quick learner, I don’t take it for granted, so I study,” the 16-year-old said.
Williams is also thankful for the strong support system he has at home – his parents Joseph and Stacy Williams.
His proud mother, Stacy, stating that her son has always been a quick learner from as early as age two and a half, said he was completing activities on the computer unassisted, spelling and reading quickly and graduating from prep school at age 10 as the Top Boy with a 99 per cent average in the then Grade Six Achievement Test.
PREPARING FOR EXAMS
Williams, who completed fifth form at 15 as an honour student with nine ones in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, is now preparing for his Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations and looking forward to his summer programme at Cave Hill for students gifted in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The programme, which is very intensive and is described as a clone of the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is something he is looking forward to. A member of the school’s Chess Club, Key Club and vice president of the Robotics Club, he is walking in the footsteps of his sibling who made his stamp at the school.
“His big brother Jelani was also an honour student there and continued in college where he also graduated class of 2020 with bachelor of science in biochemistry and an associate member of the Sigma Xi The Scientific Research Honor Society by the Ithaca College Chapter for his contribution to science in New York,” Stacy shared.
His sister Shadedra, like her older brother is also a high achiever, she also got accepted into six universities (including The UWI) and five overseas with scholarships.
“She recently completed her second year of university, pursuing a career in Computer Science,” Stacy shared.
Now looking at this success, she applies it to the fact that she invests a lot of prayer and giving them names that will see them fulfilling their purpose.
“Jaleel name means, ‘great’, as Jelani’s name means ‘mighty’, I use the meaning of their names as affirmation of what they can accomplish with God, along with other positive words/quotes,” she noted.
Continuing on her tips in raising successful children, Stacy says she ensures all three are comfortable as possible to study by making them snacks, tea, reading to them when they need her to and listening to them.
“Their needs and wants, their concerns and fears are taken seriously, especially now in this pandemic when mental health is a major concern. Really listen to what their interests are and don’t push your interest on to them, try to hone on their unique skills, get help from a teacher in their interest area/areas if necessary,” she shared.