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But despite the odds, he is now pursuing his lifetime ambition - studying to be a medical doctor.

"Growing up in a boys' home was very rough, especially at such an early age. But I think it has taught me to appreciate life and that no matter what situation you are in, from you put your mind to it you can make it," Wilson told the Observer.

Wilson, who stands at 6 feet, 3 inches, said he was positively influenced by persons he met at the boys' home and at schools he attended, that has allowed him to pursue his main goal in life. He was scheduled to leave the home at the end of last month to pursue a degree in medicine in Cuba.

"When I was in grade four at Clonmel Primary and Junior High, the principal, Miss Hamilton, came into my life and really motivated me," said Wilson, as he recalled the early years.

He said that after passing the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), he went to St Mary Technical. He said that when he was in grade nine, the current superintendent at Swift Purcell Boys' Home, Donald Stewart, impacted his life positively.

"When I was in grade nine Mr Stewart came to Swift Purcell and I talked to him about my aims and ambition and he told me that if I worked hard at school he would try to assist me," Wilson said.

Two years later, Wilson sat and passed seven CXC subjects - Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Biology, Principles of Business, Food and Nutrition and Home Management. He then spent two years at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland, graduating with an associate degree in natural science.

While at CASE the towering six-footer, who bears some resemblance to world junior record holder over 200 metres, Usain Bolt, participated in track and field, which along with music shared his interests. He won the 800m and placed second in the 400m.

His studies in Cuba is expected to take seven years. "I am going to do general medicine for now. I have never done Spanish, but I am looking forward to that challenge and hope to overcome it," said a confident-sounding Wilson.

Wilson believes his experience can serve as an influence to others. "Other young people can learn from what I've experienced here (at the boys' home). I tell the boys daily to put their minds to their books because it's not where they are coming from, but where they're going," he said.

Wilson also spoke kindly of Stewart, whom he hailed as being a beacon of hope to the youngsters at Swift Purcell Boys' Home.

"With Mr Stewart, the home has really changed. He doesn't look at us as just children, he looks at us as his sons and he just loves us and treats us right. Now I really appreciate growing up in a boys' home because it's just like the family," said an appreciative Wilson.

Source: The Jamaica Observer

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