For children getting ready to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination tentatively carded for August 20 it is stressful enough. Several children recently testing positive for COVID-19 is nerve-racking and only adds to their uneasiness.
In light of all the anxiety that surrounds the upcoming SEA Examination, Kepha Morales-Isaac, a 12-year-old Queen’s Royal College (QRC) Form One Y student wants to show other students as well as parents, how he was able to channel his SEA stress into positivity through journal writing.
His mother, Natalie Morales, submitted his journal to the Bocas Lit Fest at Carifesta in August 2019 and he was accepted to do a reading with other authors.
He also writes quotes and recently started creating his own computer games coming out of a NIHERST programme.
Kepha said "I got into writing when I was in Junior Five at Hope Academy Preparatory School writing SEA last year. I was reading a book series called Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
"He didn't make me feel as if writing was a chore or burden that I had to do. It was more of how much fun it was, reading was really for fun, not just work and I wanted to create a hilarious book just like him.
"I like authors Rick Riordan and Jeff Kinney," kepha said. He said Kinney brings out some really funny and relatable stuff while Riordan brings sense into classic Greek mythology stories which he finds fascinating and amusing.
"Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus."
When asked how he was spending his time at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, he said lately he had been a "little lazy" but he was getting some work done in between with robotic classes.
Kepha said the college gave online work and he had been going to some Zoom meetings involving robotics while he keeps practising.
On advice for SEA children who may be stressing because of COVID-19 and exams, he said don't just say you believe and not put in any work; just do it.
Kepha's mom said she started seeing how stressed he was and when the curriculum had changed, it was no longer easy work, it had become difficult.
She said her son was an A-plus student up to that point, and all of a sudden he was getting 30 per cent to 40 per cent grades. SEA was imminent, there was a new teacher and every day he would come home and say how stressed he was.
Morales said she wasn't a "lessons mom," but she found herself doing that and anything extra because Kepha felt totally stressed.
She said she told him to write about it. When she looked at his work, at first she didn't know if it was true but it was good.
Morales said at that time Kepha had all the school children at Hope Academy Preparatory School reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She said the principal, Dr Jennifer Collymore told her she didn't like the book, but if it got the children reading, she was fine with that.
Morales said the entire school paired off reading the book, and parents were badgered to get the books which were circulated in school.
Here is an excerpt from Kepha's Journal, a book that his family hopes to publish someday soon.
Topping the Headache Chart
Today got off to a great start. It was 8:35 am, and Miss Trench was not there yet. You see, 21st-century children love it when teachers don’t come to school. When my teacher doesn’t show up, I make as much noise as possible to get a substitute. Now, this may not be true, but our entire class, including me, believe that temporary teachers don’t make the rules and certainly have very little authority to uphold them. It wasn’t always this way with me, but most people who know me, think that the Secondary Entrance Assessment Examination (SEA) is freaking me out. At times, I think that I’m not even ready. But enough about that, and back to Miss Trench’s absence, since it’s time to shout to the rooftop.