Successful Stacy-Ann Shows Spunk

Priscilla Cargill

© Copyright 2021 by Priscilla Cargill

Photo of Stacy-Ann

Growing up in volatile, depressed areas of Kingston, Jamaica, poverty, and crime were clear. She could hear the booming sound of gunshots day and night, which left her terrified. Ambitious Stacy-Ann Cargill née Campbell, determined to change the narrative of her life, aimed to improve her standard of living. To succeed in life, she must get a sound education; and a well-paying job. Stacy-Ann wanted to move to a better neighbourhood, provide for her parents and two younger siblings. She desired to purchase a house and a car which must be red, her favourite colour.

Stacy–Ann Amanda Campbell is the first child of Mr Lloyd Anthony Campbell and Mrs Karen Jasmine Campbell. This chubby bald baby was born on Sunday, March 13, 1988, in Jones Town, Kingston 13, Jamaica. As Stacy-Ann grew, so did her hair. She is the pride and joy of her parents, especially her dad, who sobbed as he marched down the aisle to give away his beautiful daughter. Her younger siblings Andrew and Dehlaney were born much later, 1996 and 2001, respectively.

This shy but active child attended the Iris Gelly Primary School in Jones Town for three years. She then continued her education at Quest Preparatory School that recruited her to play netball and represent their school in track and field. In 1996, she went to Grenada to represent Jamaica in the 4 ×800 Metres Relay and Shot Put. The family had then moved from Jones Town to Rockfort, another low-income area. From there, they moved to Lincoln Road off Maxfield Avenue. Her Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scores placed her at the Holy Childhood High School, which she attended from 2000 to 2005. There she was an active participant in track and field, mainly athletics and netball. In 2003 she visited the United States of America when she represented her school in the 4 ×100 metres and 4 ×200 metres relay at the Miami Classics.

Her father's job as a security officer did not pay enough to support the family adequately. Formerly, her mom worked as an assistant teacher at Jackson Basic School in Jones Town. Stacy-Ann and her siblings attended this Basic school. Frequently, while in high school, Stacy-Ann assisted her mom with the making of charts and other teaching aids. It was no surprise that Stacy-Ann developed a love for teaching young children.

No one would believe that she was a shy girl that mom had to coax to recite or sing at church events. At age sixteen, she ministered to people as she became involved in missionary work at the Mount Olivet Open Bible Church. You could hear her sweet melody as she belted out songs at funerals and weddings. Her voice was strong and confident as she testified of her unwavering belief in God.

Stacy-Ann graduated from Holy Childhood High School with four subjects from the Caribbean Examination Certificate (CXC) and six subjects in the Jamaica School Certificate (JSC). She enrolled in the National Youth Service (NYS) programme. They placed her at the Tom Redcam Public Library, where she began her first job for six months as a library assistant.

Determined to fulfil her educational dreams, Stacy-Ann successfully pursued several short courses. She did a Certificate Management Couse which lasted three months, then did a Behaviour Management Certificate and a Marketing Certificate. Her desire to train young minds led her to HEART TRUST/NTA, where she enrolled in the NCTVET NVQJ Early Childhood Levels 1 &2. She was HEART TRUST Top Award Student for 2010.

June 2012 brought changes to her life when she married her church brother Phillip Cargill, who she dated for seven years. She complimented him with her optimism and bubbly personality. While Stacy-Ann is heavyset and lively, Phillip is lean and cautious. They both love to sing and watch movies. The young couple lives in Gregory Park, St. Catherine. In 2013, Stacy-Ann gave birth to a son Nathaniel Craig Cargill who resembles her and shares his dad's personality.

Stacy-Ann began her teaching career with confidence, despite setbacks from time to time. She taught at Central Academy for three years, then moved on to Tweety Tots and taught for one year but got promoted to the principal because of her leadership qualities. In her third year as principal, the owner of Tweety Tots closed the school, which meant that she would have to find a new job. Her search resulted in the headteacher position at the New Life Academy Group of Schools, where she stayed for five years. She then moved on to Smiths Better Learning as a vice principal. Stacy-Ann's son, nicknamed Nathe, attended school with her since he was a year old.

In 2017, while teaching at Smiths Better Learning, Stacy-Ann applied to read for the Bachelor of Education for the Early Childhood Education (part-time) at The Mico University College. After school ended at 2:00 pm, she struggled on the crowded buses with her five-year-old son from Spanish Town to Cross Roads. There, she would meet her mom Karen, that babysits her son while she attended classes, that would start at 5:00 pm. Three hours later, or sometimes much later, depending on his work schedule, Phillip would pick up her at the college entrance. He then would collect their little son and head home so that Stacy-Ann could begin reading for her next class or do assignments.

Funding for school was always a problem, so Stacy-Ann, an excellent cook with a food handler’s permit, prepared and sold lunches to her church community, friends, and family. She formed a company named Cargill’s Cuisine, which included her mom and a close girlfriend. Her supportive husband and her brothers would help deliver the sumptuous Jamaican meals of steamed fish, fried fish, and barmy; festival, jerk chicken; jerk pork and rice and peas to her many customers.

It was in her third year at Smith’s Better Learning that the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the closure of all schools. These Infant schools are private. Government do not provide funding for them, and they make their funds mainly from the payments received from parents for their children's tuition. If children are not at school, there is no work or pay for these teachers. Innovative Stacy-Ann wanted to continue teaching and to assist her AC technician husband of eight years with the bills. She started teaching kids at her home in Gregory Park, St. Catherine.

In March 2019, Stacy-Ann started with three students, including her son. She used her dining table as a desk for the children and decorated her walls with beautiful charts. Of course, she strategically placed the chalkboard to capture their attention. In addition, Stacy-Ann sewed sheet sets and cushions, which she sold to order under the name of S.C. Comfort Solutions. She even made head accessories, vests, and swimwear for friends. Meanwhile, Stacy-Ann was in her final year at University. She had to attend online classes, complete assignments, and participate in group projects.

November 2019 started her six months of Teaching Practice. Stacy-Ann did her practical with the Grade 1 class at the Bridgeport Primary School, St. Catherine. She continued her home school, which had grown to about nine students. Ages ranged from five to twelve years. Each student paid $2,000.00 JMD per week. The students came from nearby communities, and she also employed an additional teacher who taught the younger ones.

Interestingly, with all the varied undertakings, Stacy-Ann scored a GPA above 3.50. I see her determination to be an early childhood educator. As she nears completing her degree in August, she has been applying for a teaching position in public schools. Stacy-Ann, a devout Christian whose favourite song is “To God be the Glory," remains purposeful. In the future, this caring, ambitious, innovative young lady, whose hobbies are playing netball, singing, writing, and cooking, wants to pursue a Master’s Degree in Human Resources. With her training and experience, Stacy-Ann is ready to accomplish her lifelong goals.

Priscilla Cargill is a retired librarian. She is an avid reader from Kingston, Jamaica, who loves inspirational books and regency romance novels. She appreciates poetry, music of all genres, and nature walks. This mother of three adult children enjoys spending time with her grandchildren especially, her two adorable granddaughters who live with their parents in Florida. 

In recent times she has been thinking of a new career which is freelance writing.  Recently, in May 2021, she was certified with a distinction in the Freelance Writer Business Diploma from the Centre of Excellence Online Course & Distance Learning. She wants to be a writer that inspires and motivates her readers.

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