Jamar Brown triumphs over tragedy to pursue higher education

August 11, 2023
Jamar Brown
Jamar Brown

Jamar Brown, at just 18 years old, has experienced more than his fair share of sorrow and adversity. The heart of his struggle lies in the profound loss of both his parents, who tragically passed away within a span of eight months.

In October 2020, the life of Jamar's family was shattered when his father, Denton Brown, fell victim to a fatal shooting at their residence in Clarendon. This devastating blow was followed by another profound tragedy in June 2021, as his mother, Kedeisha Thomas, succumbed to a stroke.

In an interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, he candidly shared the emotional turmoil he endured in the aftermath of his parents' untimely deaths. The profound sense of loss hurled him into a vortex of despair, confronting the daunting prospect of navigating life as an orphan.

Yet, amid the darkest of times, a flicker of hope emerged. Brown summoned the strength to complete both fifth and sixth forms at Denbigh High School, a testament to his unwavering determination. Today, he stands on the cusp of a new chapter, having successfully matriculated to The University of the West Indies where he is set pursue a bachelor's degree in political leadership.

His success, however, was no easy feat.

"My years at Denbigh High were filled with many ups and downs -- moments of success and moments of major upsets. Things weren't easy for me in the slightest. The beginning of grade 11, I lost my dad. He was shot and killed when gunmen came to our house. My dad saved my life by holding the gunmen off long enough for me to escape along with my other family members," said Brown.

Brown said the grim reality of that night haunts him daily.

"The fact that I was in the house the night he was killed means that I have to endure the images of what happened that night. Even while studying, I had to be pushing down the trauma or trying to not let my grief and sadness keep me from getting work done. One night I had some [School Based Assessments] to do, and while working on them, a wave of anger and frustration took me over and I started to cry. That was a breaking point for me, because while I was crying, I closed my laptop, turned off my phone and just decided that I'm not going to do anything," said Brown, adding that he felt demotivated.

He said, however, through the support of family and friends, he was able to reposition himself on a positive trajectory, but the grief lingered on, and was compounded by his mother's untimely demise.

"The year 2021 was supposed to be my graduating year (from fifth form) and also the time in which I would be doing Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, which meant I had to make a decision, whether I would give up, or work my hardest to become someone my parents would be proud of."

With making his parents proud as his mantra, Brown said he pressed on, but was hurdled along the way.

"I was studying one night and just started crying because I wasn't grasping anything, because my mom died shortly after my dad, which was so puzzling. I felt like I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything," Brown shared.

He managed to pass all nine CSEC subjects he sat, and with four units of Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subjects under his belt, he is now awaiting the results of four additional CAPE units.

He said while he was elated at his performance, there was a void.

"I was going through a lot, physically, emotionally and even financially, as my father used to cover most of my educational expenses. A few family members were willing to help with what they could to ensure I had what I needed to close the chapter of my high school education."

Brown, a former senior prefect and peer counsellor is now seeking assistance to undertake his tertiary studies.

"It would be amazing if I had the help necessary to pay my tuition of $325,383 per semester. I also would like to extend heartfelt thanks to those who are moved to contribute, and even if you are unable to, I find solace in sharing my story," said Brown.

Jamar Brown may be contacted via telephone at 876-539-9237.

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