Finding balance between academics and athletics is a constant challenge for any student athlete; however, knowing the importance of making the grade in the classroom, while living up to the expectations of coaches in various fields of play takes extraordinary discipline and time management.
For two Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy track and field athletes their hard work and dedication to their studies, and responsibilities on the track will be rewarded this coming Monday (January 15) at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s Annual National Awards Ceremony.
Matthew Henfield and McKaylin Forbes, two current ninth graders at the Pineridge-based institution, produced a combined 11 A’s in The Bahamas Junior Certificate examinations for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Henfield and Forbes made A’s in the same subjects which included – Mathematics, Religious Studies, General Science, Health Science and Social Studies. Henfield also garnered an A in Technical Drawing and is also the recipient of a Special Subject Award, that will be revealed at the New Providence held awards ceremony January 15.
The accomplishment deserves even more praise as both young men – Henfield, 13, and Forbes, 14, did so in the eighth grade.
Henfield, is one of the top male junior distance runners on the island. He holds the crown as Grand Bahama’s 800-meter champion, while holding the national crown in the same event. He was also a part of the 4x400m relay team that broke the National Record in the Under 14 Boys’ Division.
Henfield was most appreciative of the help he received from his teachers and the constant encouragement he received from his parents.
“I’m very proud of myself … that my teachers were there to help me and my parents were also there, pushing me and telling me to study. Once I study, I can do whatever I want and have a chance at getting A’s on my BJCs,” he expressed. “It’s very exciting to keep on top of my school work and keep on top of track. You have to be committed that you’re going to study and practice every day, train hard so that you can be the best that you can be.”
Forbes, a 400m athlete for the Falcons with goals to improve on his performances this season, credited his mother for consistently affirming that he was more than capable of shining academically.
“My mother said I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. She said I’m a child of excellence and I believed that, and I put that to work.
“I’m not really the best on the track and I plan to train this year, and come first in the 400m finals at Nationals because I got beat last time. But this year I’m training harder and know I can do better. I hope God continues to guide me and protect me in my school work and my athletics.”
When asked what he would tell his fellow classmates and friends to encourage them, Forbes voiced, “I’ll tell them put God first and that academics are really more important. So stay focus on your academics. You need your education and then you put your athletic skills to work.”
Principal of Tabernacle, Edward Johnson said that the recent accomplishments of both young men should show the community that young men should not marginalize themselves to being either an academic student or an athletic student.
Instead, more young men should be pushed to prove that they can excel in both areas.
“Matthew and McKaylin are both great academic students and great athletic students, which opens up more doors once it’s time to go to college. So the young men don’t need to sell themselves short. Expand your horizons, go for the stars in the classroom and in sports, because you never know what could happen.”
Johnson added that both young men are shining examples among their peers and if it continues, which he certainly expects, it could mean great things for them in the future.
But even more so, he stressed, their grades tell the story of how impactful their parents are in their lives.
“We’re looking at both of them as potential candidates for head boy and deputy head boy, and so on. And I can’t say how much it means to have good parents. Both boys, right now, have good parental structure and family support. And it’s hard to achieve what they achieved without that. If you have great teachers, great coaches and great family support, you produce boys like this.”