Spreading Light through a Passion for Numbers

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Young Actuarial Aspirant Daniel Raphael

Spreading Light through a Passion for Numbers

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Young Actuarial Aspirant Daniel Raphael

Spreading Light through a Passion for Numbers

LIKE most children born in his particular circumstances, Daniel Raphael was, by his own admission, “caught in a cycle.” It can be a vicious cycle, the articulate young actuarial aspirant said, adding that it brings forth nothing but negative outcomes if care is not taken to break from it.

And for a time, Raphael exhibited the negative, self-limiting behavior, to the point where his father said to him one day, “Son, you are a failure. You will end up in prison or die before your time.” His mother too would voice her disapproval of his early conduct, all the while extolling the wisdom of pursuing a good education.

Today, Daniel is a totally different person. Now in his second year of Actuarial Studies at The University of the West Indies (UWI), he is at the top of his class. Daniel has already passed two of the rigorous professional exams administered by the Society of Actuaries, and has every intention of being admitted as a Fellow of the Society by 2021.

The Turning Point

How did things turn around for Daniel?

A seminal moment when he realised how much his actions were hurting and angering his father really shook him up. After a tough confrontation with his father, Daniel was essentially “scared straight.” With it came the realisation that he had to take a different approach to his life, if he wanted to stay alive.

“I thought to myself, now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is no point in either accepting the conditions of my life as is, or journeying further into the darkness. Moving forward is the only thing I envisioned myself doing, for education is the movement from darkness to light,” Daniel noted.

Enhancing his journey towards the light is the support he receives from the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation. He was introduced to Grace and Staff while at St George's College and was able to receive support with school expenses which continues even now that he is at UWI.

He, in turn, has deepened the relationship by giving of his own time as a math tutor at the GraceKennedy/Parade Gardens Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics Centre(STEM), and at his alma mater.

Daniel is one of the over 500 students who have benefited from direct assistance through the outreach of the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation. Many more are “sharing in the light” through the aforementioned STEM Centre, learning science, math, music and more.

Of greater impact, arguably, than the facilities, is the commitment of the GraceKennedy staff, who share their time and talent in inspiring (and being inspired by) the youngsters who have come to depend on the support of Grace and Staff. In some cases, it is the only form of support that they have.

His contemporaries now invariably describe Daniel Raphael as “determined” “inspirational” and, overall “obsessed with mathematics”. It's the kind of passion and focus that promises not only individual accolades for him as he progresses, but undeniable benefits for the country.

Not only is Raphael guiding and inspiring future generations, he appears poised for the kind of breakthrough that gets – and keeps – the world talking, the kind for which Jamaicans are famous.





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