Visually impaired student wants help to finish college
He walks about the campus of Church Teachers' College much slower than his fellow schoolmates, but with no less precision and sense of purpose.
Though seemingly restricted by his eye defect, as a result of being born with cataracts on both eyes, 23-year-old Garfield Mitchell says he will stop at nothing to ensure his dreams of becoming a teacher and a father figure to the fatherless are realised.
"I have done two surgeries on my eyes one in 2015 and one in 2016 to remove the cataracts, but my vision has only improved slightly. The doctors are watching it to see what will happen, but nothing else can be done to correct my vision," Mitchell said
With that knowledge, Mitchell has decided to make the most of every opportunity that comes his way to excel.
"I have to look at things very closely to be able to see it, if it's not in big print. But I haven't allowed this to be a deterrent. Plus, I see people worse off than me doing greater things, so why shouldn't I step out. People like Senator Floyd Morris continues to motivate me to do well," he said.
Having attended the Salvation Army School for the Blind, Mitchell graduated with seven CXC subjects, grades one and two, including Mathematics and English, following which he sent in his application for a school he longed to be a part of.
"I have always wanted to be a teacher. I've been around teachers and I see their attitudes towards their student. I believe teaching is a very important profession. It really takes effort to get the minds of your students working, and I believe I have what it takes to do that," said Mitchell, who majors in primary education.
Mitchell's says his mother is a single parent, with two other children in school, and she constantly struggles to manage on a meagre janitorial salary and the small earnings as a chicken farmer.
"Sometimes I wonder how she finds the fare to give us. It's a real sacrifice, but it becomes overwhelming at times," he said.
SIT OUT SEMESTER
Based on his current situation, Mitchell may need to sit out the remainder of the school year because there is no money to pay his tuition.
"My school fee is approximately $122,000 per semester. I managed to pay for the first semester, but I am yet to pay for this semester and I don't see the funds for the coming semesters," he said.
With humility and persistence two of his greatest attributes, Mitchell says being able to finish college would mean the world to him.
"It would be a joy I can't even explain. I would feel like I've been given a chance to not only better myself, but also my country. I know I have the potential. I know how to do the work and be successful because I did an observation some time ago and the students loved me and did well. But I just need help," he said.
Persons wishing to assist Mitchell may call (876) 885-7788, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Church Teachers' College at 962-2662.