Tuesday, April 11th 2006
Sixteen-year-old Nizette Edwards may look like an ordinary teenager, but she's really an academic genius.
Behind that shy exterior is a future doctor or engineer just waiting to emerge. Edwards who makes daily treks from Las Lomas to St Joseph's Convent in Port-of-Spain, recently received CXC O' Level distinctions in English Language, Literature, Math, Spanish, Physics, Biology, a Grade one in Chemistry and a Grade A in the Cambridge Advanced Math.
Apart from placing first in Physics, Biology and Math and second in Chemistry and Spanish for the CXC CSEC exam, 2005, Edwards also placed second nationally in Physics for the CXC CSEC exam, 2005.
But Edwards is no bookworm, she is also well cultured . At the age of six, she made a bold switch from school gymnastics to dance at the Caribbean School of Dance.
Now a member of the Metamorphosis Dance Company, Edwards is a trained ballet and modern dancer, having excelled in her exams from the Royal Academy of Dance. She also played the piano since from age four, but it is now quite clear that when it comes to the arts dance is her first love.
"I started off doing ballet, modern and African dance and I am now learning contemporary and Indian. Dancing is not just a hobby for me, it's a passion and a great stress reliever," added Edwards whose fit body and calves speak for themsleves.
With after-school lessons almost every day, she declares it's not a challenge at all to find time for dance classes four days a week as well. And her weekends? Sorry, they are booked. Again, not a problem for Edwards. Currently her Saturdays are filled with dance rehearsals as her dance group is getting ready for a show at the Little Carib Theatre this July.
"What's your secret?" I ask.
She answers matter-of-factly, "Instead of eating chocolate and watching television when I get home, I do more constructive things. I don't watch tv that often and also we don't have cable at home."
While some teenagers may look to rap songs for inspiration and motivation on how to live their lives, Edwards, is different. She has managed to internalise and live by her primary school's motto, Only your best is good enough. "Since leaving Sacred Heart Girls' RC School, I took that wise saying very personally. It's better to live life without regrets and you will never have regrets when you do your best."
The oldest of five children, she is very thankful for her encouraging parents who play a very active role in her life. "My mother is very supportive and my dad picks me up from dancing no matter how late. I try to do my best because I'm the oldest and I want to set an example for my brothers and sisters."
She is so heavily into reading that for her there's no such thing as a bad book." Books are very inspirational", she opines.
Edwards is preparing to write her CAPE exams but also plans on writing the SATs, as she wants to attend a university in the US.
She is also still contemplating her career path. "Last year I wanted to be a doctor, this year I am toying with the idea of being a mechanical engineer, but then again, chemical engineering sounds interesting."
Right now Edwards is unsure of what her future career would be but at 16 she still has time to make up her mind.
An advocate for time management Edwards said, ''I'm not boring, neither am I perfect. I like liming with my friends, I do normal chores around the house and I sleep late on a Saturday.
But I am proud to say that time wastage is not on my agenda. I don't make homework a problem, if I have time before dance class I start my assignments so it won't pile up on me when I get home.'
"Don't get me wrong,'' she smiled , 'I'm not that organised to write everything down, I just fit things in my schedule. And yes, sometimes I take a break and do absolutely nothing."
Edwards demonstrates certain traits which some adults can emulate. "I don't like to judge people. I try to see the best in everyone. As a prefect and member of the Abstinence Club, people find it easy to confide in me when they need a shoulder or a listening ear. Friendship is very important to me. I never get into arguments and I hate fights. I am the mediator.
I have learned what many people don't seem to understand that stressing doesn't help any situation."
It's amazing that this 16-year-old possesses such grown up qualities. Who said you needed to be old to be an admired mentor? It is apparent that we can find brilliance in some of our youths.
Mr and Mrs Edwards, you've done well.