Meet Jevonie Thomas, The “Best Brain” in the Caribbean in 2019

News > The Caribbean

By STEM Caribbean | Posted on June 6, 2019

When Jevonie’s former chemistry teacher signed him up for the Grenada Brain Bee Challenge in October last year, he had no clue about the gesture. Intrigued by the mysteries of the human brain, he accepted the challenge anyway, with his mind set on learning more about the brain. For the next five months, the 15-year-old science enthusiast spent extra hours studying and even missing classes at school to prepare for the grand finale in March this year where he won the title of Best Brain in Grenada. Jevonie will journey across the world to South Korea in September this year to compete against other national winners in the International Brain Bee World Championship. He is the only competitor from the Caribbean region. The first place prize includes a $3000 cash award and a summer research internship with the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 30,000 scientists who study the brain and nervous system.

Jevonie Thomas, Winner of the Grenada Brain Bee Challenge 2019 / Photo by Grenada Brain Bee

Despite the rigors of a packed schedule, Jevonie would always maintain focus and go above and beyond what is required. His coach and former chemistry teacher expressed what it was like working with the ambitious and diligent teenager.

“Jevonie is a student with great potential. He has always been a competitive individual, not just with other students in the same form, but he always sought to improve himself letting himself be his competition most times,” remarked Prisca Blackett, Jevonie’s former chemistry teacher.

His dedication to learning and curiosity of the unknown motivated Ms. Blackett to register him for the Brain Bee Challenge.

“He has always been the type of student who, when other students forget to do homework assignments, would 100% of the time come with his work completed and with additional information obtained by delving deeper into various topics under study. This was the quality in him that prompt me to sign Jevonie up for the National brain bee competition,” Ms. Blackett added.

The journey to the grand finale in March this year was not only impacting for Jevonie but also his coach, Erin John, who has been intrigued by the information learnt along the way.

“Working with Jevonie was an amazing experience. In order to keep him abreast with all this new information brought to him, I had to keep up to date with the information. This continued to light that burning desire in me to pursue medicine and specifically towards the brain,” Ms. John expressed.

The Brain Bee challenge continues to affect everyone involved, especially teachers and students, in a positive way.

“The competition not only reinforces student learning but also teacher learning. It’s fascinating to see the amount of students interested in science, and I believe the future of science is bright in Grenada,” Ms. John also remarked.

In the future, Jevonie hopes to become a neurologist. Read our conversation to learn more about him.

How did you prepare for Brain Bee?

The national finals at least, wasn’t too hard of a task nor easy, I mean I didn’t have any idea what exactly would be asked, so I prepared for every possible question ranging from brain development to genetics. All along the way, I had the help of my coach/biology and math teacher, Ms. Erin John.

How did you balance Brain Bee and your school work? Were there any significant challenges?

It was indeed a bit of challenge trying to keep up with the school work but Ms. John was always there when I needed help in balancing my time and making sure i’m on top of things.

Describe your emotions and thoughts after winning the Brain Bee competition.

Well in the moments leading up to me winning I knew I had the right answer to the final question that was asked. I felt a rush of excitement as the suspense grew, waiting for the judges to tell me I won. As they announced that I had won, it was pure euphoria flowing through me, I felt like I did it. All the studying, all the school work I delayed doing, was all for that moment.

What extracurricular activities are you involved with?

Right now I’m only involved with the Grenada Cadet Corps, holding the rank of Lance Corporal. After the International finals in September I plan to learn the guitar and also spend a lot more time in learning languages, French and German to be specific.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my free time I’d usually be studying but other than that I’d find myself making sure my uniform is in check for Cadets, researching languages and reading books. I would occasionally attend parties depending on what type of party it is and if I find myself with enough time, finally I would find myself looking deep into a random topic I find intriguing, just for the sake of knowing about it.

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