From 30s to Harrison College: Mum’s sacrifices, Ariel’s determination Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Eleven-year-old Ariel Barker-Yarde defied major odds to pull out a stellar performance in the 11-plus examination. Achieving 95 in English and 90 in Maths, Ariel secured herself a spot at one of Barbados’ oldest educational institutions – Harrison College.

I actually thought that we were starting to put in the work too late but we never give up

Watching her mom Kerry-Ann Walters wipe away tears from her red eyes as she read and re-read the results on the slip outside of the Charles F Broome Memorial Primary School, Loop News asked if there were tears of joy.

With a shaky smile, Walters said, “Yes, for sure!”

Slightly wary, because her daughter is not in the “Top 10”, she was shocked to learn that that’s not the story Loop was searching for, we really wanted to hear about some of the overcomers, but it was proving a little more challenging in these post-COVID times. This year, the schools were not given the full list of results, so principals and teachers could not point us in the direction of the students who were sort of the underdogs or dark horses of the 11-plus. To this, she burst out laughing and said, “My daughter going HC, but I ain’t tell you she was getting 30s and 40s when they returned to school and started the face-to-face classes in February.”

Ariel was that child – the most improved, who never quits.

She does not quit. She is very deserving!

Walters said that she didn’t realise that Ariel was not taking to the online learning well because she used to be at work, but as soon as she saw those shockingly low grades she took leave from her job at the prison and the pair went to work. She said she found a retired teacher in St Philip for extra lessons – Patricia Vaughn, and the teacher at school, Shani Grant also did lessons some days after school.

At the school without Ariel, who was left at her camp located in St John, Walters said, “I wanted to see the results before her. But I know she’s going to be extremely excited.” Mum even confessed to taking a different route from home just so that Ariel would not look out from camp and see her driving by.

Asked if she expected the result after their efforts in the last term, she said, “No… I actually thought that we were starting to put in the work too late but we never give up.”

Talking to Class 4 Teacher Grant, she said, “Ariel really worked. She’s not a quitter. Even in sports, not just academics. At NAPSAC she was not feeling well and she was in last place but Ariel made sure she finished the race. She does not quit. She is very deserving!”

Ariel will be the first to wear the maroon and gold in her family when school starts.