Watching mother’s struggles fuels twins to work hard, gets top spots at Leonald Connor School

Watching mother’s struggles fuels twins to work  hard, gets top spots at Leonald Connor School

~ ‘If yuh waan good yuh nose affi run’ ~

By Judy H Fitzpatrick

COLE BAY--A mother toiling day in and day out to take care of her children and give them opportunities she never had, turned out to be the fuel that drove her children – twin boys – to work extra hard and strive for excellence in school. And it paid off. 

  The 12-year-old Jamaican-born duo Traceton Terrance Walters and his twin brother Treyshaun Tyreek Walters swept the two top spots at the Leonald Conner School for the 2023 Foundation Based Education (FBE) Exit Examinations, crediting their success to not just their hard work and competitive spirits, but also to the perseverance they see in their own mother.

   “Seeing how my mother struggled to take care of us, gives me the drive to do better and make something of myself,” Traceton told The Daily Herald, as he attempted to paint a picture of what helped ignite the fuel in him and his twin brother Treyshaun.


From left are: Simply Masters Organization representative Pamela Gordon-Carty, the twins mother, the twins older brother (back), Treyshaun T. Walters, the twins father, Traceton T. Walters and the twins Group 8 teacher Christine Anderson.


  Traceton was named valedictorian at the school’s graduation ceremony held on June 28, 2023, and his twin Treyshaun, tied for the second spot with another pupil – St. Maarten-born Jhareef Nei.

  The twins had their eyes set on the top spot at Leonald Conner, not just to take the steps needed to make something of themselves, but to also follow in their older brother’s footsteps. Their brother had also walked away with the valedictorian title at Leonald Conner when he sat the FBE exams in 2009.

  There is a Jamaican saying, “If yuh waan good yuh nose affi run,” the top student said, giving an insight into the hard work required to reap success. “Your desire for success has to be stronger than your fear of failure. We are not perfect, just go out there and do your best, not my best.”


The group of graduates. 

  Traceton and Treyshaun have always shared a healthy dose of competition and working hard comes naturally. As valedictorian Traceton earned spots at St. Dominic High, the academic section of St. Maarten Academy and Milton Peters College (MPC), his brother earned spots at the same schools, but prefers to attend the Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts (CBA).

  “We did afternoon classes twice weekly,” said Traceton. “And school hours were also spent on exam prep.” Learning Dutch was a new experience that the twins embraced. “A new language was the most challenging part for me, but I did my best and will continue to do my best to learn the language,” noted the high achiever.

  In his valedictorian speech, Traceton was high in praises to his teachers for their guidance. “I really enjoyed my time in the [Leonald] Conner School. My Group 8 teacher Ms. [Christine – Ed.] Anderson always told us to do our best, and try to make learning as fun as possible. She even took time out of her carnival break to help prepare us for our exams along with Ms. Matthew, Tr. Giddens, and Tr. Ray. Now, when I look back at my time here, I have learned a lot about myself,” said Traceton. “One of them being that school can be difficult at times, but if you are persistent, you will succeed. I want to give thanks to God, my mother, father and teachers for always being there for me. Thank you so much. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” To our fellow graduates, keep at it. Even when you feel like giving up. In this new chapter of our lives, let’s continue to aim high and reach for the stars. Believe in yourself,” he said.

  The Leonald Conner School is immensely proud of Traceton and Treyshaun’s achievements, celebrating their remarkable academic journey and the resilience they demonstrated throughout their time at the institution.  “They are quiet and well reserved, but highly competitive. They stop at nothing to get good grades. They have their YouTube channels and are extremely tech savvy,” said their Group 8 teacher Christine Anderson.  

  The twins relocated to St. Maarten after the COVID lockdowns ended in 2021. They had to join their mother earlier, but were grounded in Jamaica for five months due to the pandemic, cancelled flights and nights spent sleeping at airports. “My mother brought us here,” said proud son Traceton. They joined Leonald Conner in the fifth grade and started to work hard from the inception.

The twins are highly ambitious and goal driven. “I see for me, a future of entrepreneurship. Having my own chain of restaurants, investing in stocks and real estate. Being my own boss is key,” said Traceton, adding that his brother wants to be an animator.

  But it’s not all work and no play for the determined duo. “I enjoy cooking with my mother. That’s our thing. I also help my twin with his YouTube channel.” 

  The twins have some positive influences around them, which is a plus for their development. “My brother was valedictorian in 2019. We butt heads at times, but he’s an inspiration to us. We call him Wikipedia. He knows the answers to almost everything, lol [laugh out loud],” said Traceton.

  The twins were amongst 23 pupils who graduated from Leonald Conner School at the Belair Community Center on June 28, 2023. St. Maarten-born Faith Arrindell secured the third spot and student Jhareef Nei was rewarded for having the top grades in Dutch. In addition to being named valedictorian, Traceton also earned an award for being the top pupil in English receiving a gift and a laptop, while Treyshaun was top for General Knowledge and Math.

  During the graduation ceremony addresses were delivered by School Principal Alice Samuel-Girigoria, Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel and keynote address was delivered by former student and Student Care Coordinator Shaneida Connor. Simply Masters Organization representative Pamela Gordon-Carty presented the top students prizes. 


The Daily Herald

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