The Black sheep eventually turns into a Goat. I am that black sheep, the one that got judged all the time and the one nobody expected to come out on top.

Diego - Grade RI am Diago Jackson 19 years of age. I live in Valhalla Park where poverty and gangsterism play a very huge role in a
place where violence demands lives almost every day. They say the road to success is never easy, well that is true, because I am proof of that. My educational journey started off at Hillside Primary School, where I wasn’t the best learner and where I got bullied. I even failed in primary school, at that time I did not know what I have inside of me and what I can do. After failing in Grade 5 I worked harder than before and completed my Primary School in 2015.

Where everything changed for me was when I entered the gates of Bishop Lavis High School. I was not just in school because I had to be there, I lived for Bishop Lavis High School. This school was a place of comfort that resulted in me having hours of fun and giggling. It was a place where I could transform. Being part of a disadvantage community is tough and we are faced with lots of challenges such as severe gang violence, high level of unemployment, poverty and substance abuse. These are the issues that we as young people have to face. The impact negatively on our well-being as we live in fear. There are times we do feel hopeless but giving up is not an option.

While I was growing up my father was in jail and my mother and grandmother took care of me.
Was surrounded by many negative influences and I could have easily decided to follow the wrong path but through the Grace of God, the help I received from my mother and grandmother and the support of the lovely staff at Bishop Lavis High School. I kept away from these negative these influences, at times it was tempting but I managed to survive. My father came out of jail and to me he is an inspiration because many people who comes out from jail go back to the gangesterism and drugs but that is not what he did. He was now mature and developed a new being and decided to stay and provide and take care of my mother and me.

My mother and father got married and that is what kept me going. Seeing them happy, my father changed his ways for us, and this made me realize how lucky and blessed I am. That is when I grasped that I need to work hard, that I need to always give my best to make then proud and to get the successful life that I am dreaming of.

In my high school career at Bishop Lavis High School I participated in almost everything. I was a part of the RCL from
Grade 8 – 12 and I got the chance to be chairperson for 2 years in 2019-2020. This was where I honed my leadership skills and my love for public speaking. I was also part of the school choir and this is where I found my voice and the love for singing. I also participated in the Argus Quiz that uncovered my love for reading and writing. I was also the basketball captain and I served on the SGB all those activities kept me going. Over the years I developed a positive mindset I kept focus on my studies and now I’m a mentor to younger children. When I look back at my life I only see blessings upon blessings.

At the beginning of my matric year I got a huge disappointment not being chosen as a head boy and that actually motivated me to work hard and to never give up. Then Covid-19 came and to me it felt like everything was going downwards but during lockdown I sat down and told myself: “Now is your chance, this is our moment”, from then onwards I was unstoppable. To complete Grade 12 during a pandemic was tough but when the going gets tough we must get even tougher. To me the pandemic actually had a positive impact because it gave me time to reflect, to figure out who I really was and it gave me the chance to prepare for life as a whole.

The final exams came, and it was very tiring and that where the incredible teachers of Bishop Lavis High School came in nobody can inspires us as great teachers can. They seem to come along at just the right moment at a time when we need them the most, great teachers show us things about ourselves we cannot see. They see potential in us that others including ourselves cannot see. Above all they give us the courage to find our own way with just enough guidance to show us that the impossible or what we perceive as impossible can be made possible.

The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called failure a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies, caution lights called family but if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith you will make it to a place called success.

To make a long story short I passed, and I received a Bachelor Pass with FOUR (4) Distinctions, I am also the top learner at Bishop Lavis High School. I feel so proud of myself and I want to thank everybody that was a part of my journey. This is proof that everything is possible when we put our minds to it.

I want to inspire each learner to give their best at all given times. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Always strive to make the right choices and learn from your mistakes. Do not let your background define who you are or who you can become. Remember to always be yourself and to strive for excellence.

Build yourself up it is very easy to get stuck in negative thinking ignore all those negative thoughts and choose to believe in yourself. Even if you have doubts go for it.

My future goal is to become a teacher I know that need to work even harder to achieve this goal. I want to be a teacher that inspire and empower learners from disadvantage communities. I want to let each learner know that they are capable of doing amazing things and not to let their situations hold them back.

We can and we will reach success despite life’s detours.

If you can assist Diego Jackson to pursue his dream of studying at UWC it will be most welcome. He hasn’t heard
from the Fundza Lusaka bursary fund as yet.

Contact Details: Diago Jackson
Email address: [email protected]
Cellphone number: 064 677 3791
WhatsApp number: 084 877 5022