Jamaican teen wins scholarship to 9 US universities

Tchakamau Ra.

It’s competitive enough for American students to be accepted into U.S. universities. But just imagine an immigrant being accepted to 11. Consider the odds of nine of those institutions of higher learning offering scholarships? Add to that the prospect that the individual was home-schooled …in Jamaica.

Such is the case of Tchakamau Ra, a teenager in Kingston, Jamaica.

Ra is on Cloud Nine after learning that her applications to Yale, Princeton, Duke, Stanton, The University of Chicago among others were approved for this fall’s freshman class. At 17-years-old, her dream is to study to be an astrophysicist researcher. As if that would not be a full academic load, Ra also wants to study the behavior of jungle animals.

Reportedly, she has attributed all of her successes to home-schooling.

As a young girl, she was home-schooled. Along with her three siblings, her parents Kamau Mahakoe and Omari Ra gave her lessons at home until she entered the seventh grade.

After that, she attended Immaculate Conception High School in the capital city and while there earned a scholarship to one of the island’s most prestigious high schools, the Hillel Academy in Kingston. While attending those private schools her parents continued to tutor her at home.

Ra told the local newspaper “she would have chosen home-schooling over public or privates schools without a second thought. She said she enjoyed the freedom that was given at home-schooling because she was able to choose the subjects she wanted to learn about instead of being told what she was going to learn. She said that it was nice being at home because the only one that the teacher had to focus on was you, and possibly a couple of others if you had siblings.”

Ra said she enjoyed the one-on-one approach because she was able to get extra help and attention. This allowed her to master the subjects that she was learning instead of being held at one speed in a classroom.

Ra’s mother said that her children are very mature and adjusted well to home-schooling. She said that they were flexible with what they were being taught and excelled.

“Clearly, l’m ecstatic. I feel really good for her because she has been focused from the start,” the teen’s mother, reportedly said.

“She has never lost sight of her goals…you don’t have to push her…she uses her initiative.”

About her choice and where she will study, Ra said she is still contemplating where to go even though Chicago was her first choice.

“I was just thinking that it’s a really good thing that I got accepted by so many.”

Her father, Omari Ra is a senior lecturer and artist at the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. He said he has home-schooled all of his four children from the primary years.

The soon-to-be collegian is not the only intellectual in the family, her brother Kuti won kudos three years ago when he earned the maximum amount of subjects that would qualify him for high school. He is now in his fourth year at Jamaica College.

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