The Laventille community is mostly stigmatised by crime and violence but out of this community, nestled on the hills of the capital city, a lot of positive has emerged.
Aqueena Alexander is a 19-year-old who has emerged as one of the positives with a partial scholarship to St John’s University in New York to study Computer Science for four years.
Aqueena, a Form Six student of St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, has always been an exemplar in all aspects of schooling.
“I am going to study Computer Science with a focus on Cybersecurity. It was my Form Four and Five Student Based Assessment (SBA) and at that time I really fell in love with computers and programming plus the how much I learnt from writing computer language code and I was also influenced by watching my favourite TV series CSI-Cyber,” Aqueena said.
The scholar already plans to take the knowledge she receives help T&T.
She said, “I think in Trinidad and Tobago we need to advance a lot of technical aspects I see it within schools at the basic level. A lot of teachers don’t know how to use the basic information technology systems and then furthermore, we imply that same knowledge to businesses and all these companies. When you look at the global scale of how advanced the world is and how far technology is going to compare that to the system we have here we have to improve that”.
Aqueena contends that the only way to improve that is to have persons as herself going to learn the skills to return to T&T to assist in our nation’s advancement.
After receiving the scholarship after completing her SAT’s, Aqueena was faced with a financial challenge, as she was unable to pay her tuition for her first year in the amount of US$30,000.
“So, Ansa Mcal Group has committed US$5,000 dollars which is the first payment due this month, without that payment, I would not have been able to start this upcoming semester in September,” she said.
“They would have seen my plight on social media channels and then my mother is an employee of the Ansa McAl Group so they contacted her about how they wanted to assist me to pursue my education.”
Despite the negativity surrounding her community, Aqueena said she is proud to be from Laventille.
“I think throughout my life I just continued to be positive. I did not let these external negatives influence change how I view myself and how I view my community because people always think that these areas are just made up of bad and negative people,” she explained.
“I grew up there and I saw how uplifting and positive these communities can be. While other people look down at somebody who came from Laventille, I was proud to come from Laventille and that was something that never affected me negatively because I knew the truth. I knew what these communities really have to offer me besides the negative media highlights.”
Aqueena hopes after her four-year study in New York at St John’s University, she can gain some international experience and return to T&T.
“After my four years at St John’s University, I will like to complete my Master’s degree and after that perhaps work for a large company such as Google and these companies, and I will actually like to start a local technical institute for children that the upcoming generation who are grasping technology can get foundation skills to make them competitive on the global stage,” Aqueena said.
Anyone willing to assist Aqueena Alexander can make their contributions to her gofundme page at www.gofundme.com