KERRISSA Scott awoke each day at 4.30 a.m. to carry water along a pothole-filled road, but overcame the challenges of living in a small village to become the first in the area to win a national scholarship.
Scott, who won an additional scholarship in the field of science thanks to her excellent results in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), spoke of the hardships of life at Lot 10 Village, Guapo.
She told the Express yesterday that transportation out the village could amount to a wait of more than two hours, as taxis avoided the dilapidated road.
It was only in January the area got pipe-borne water.
This meant that over the years Scott had to carry buckets of water from the roadside communal tank to her home.
Scott said the area is also without a proper Internet feed and during her school life she spent many hours doing research at Internet cafes.
Scott, who attended Vessigny Secondary School for five years, attained six grade ones, including two distinctions and a Grade B in the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) tests.
She said she wanted to move on to study Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry at her alma mater, Vessigny, but would have had to choose between the first two subjects.
Scott, 19, decided to apply to schools in San Fernando and was accepted by two institutions.
She chose St Joseph's Convent and spent the next two years at the school.
During that time she had to make several adjustments.
Getting out of bed at 4.30 on mornings was one.
"I hate to get up early (and) in the first year of CAPE, I wasn't coping well. I was always tired," she said.
It reflected in her grades that year and Scott said she was displeased with the results.
She decided to repeat the units, meaning that her studies amounted to eight units rather than four in her second year.
"People told me I was crazy and that it would interrupt studying for Unit Two but I didn't take it on," she said.
She and four others at the school repeated and Scott said it paid off for her.
She was able to attain seven ones, which included four distinctions and a grade two in CAPE.
Nine other pupils also received scholarships at St Joseph's Convent, San Fernando this year.
Scott said beside the support of her teachers over the years, it was her mother's "push" that helped her to excel.
"Education was her first priority... I could not have done it without her," said Scott, the youngest of five children.
Scott also had the support of her father, a retiree, and her siblings, who are employed as teachers, a police officer and biochemist.
They all are expected to join this weekend to host a thanksgiving for Scott's success.
Scott plans to study medicine at the University of the West Indies.
She wants to be a gynaecologist.