JAMAICAN GENIUS (CONGRATULATIONS): Jabari Hastings’ delicious dilemma.... Brilliant Campion and A-QuEST student gets offers from four of the world’s top universities — California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Stanford, Harvard, and Amherst.

BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor — publications davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com  Sunday, April 17, 2016  
By the time Jabari Hastings celebrates his 18th birthday on June 29 this year he would have settled the question as to where he’ll pursue his undergraduate studies.
Jabari Hasting of Campion 
For most students that would not be a difficult decision. But Jabari is no ordinary student. Based on his Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) results and his outstanding performance in an advanced partial multivariable differential equation, the Campion College headboy got offers from four of the world’s top universities — California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Stanford, Harvard, and Amherst.
That was a few weeks before The University of the West Indies (UWI) told him last Tuesday that it, too, had accepted his application.
Noted scientist and educator Dr Dennis Minott summed that up very well. “Jabari and his parents are experiencing what I like to call a delicious dilemma,” the physicist mathematician told the Jamaica Observer with a wide smile. Dr Minott’s joy is grounded in the fact that yet another of his A-QuEST students has excelled. In fact, the Kingston College old boy believes that Jabari’s offer from Caltech is historic.
“I have not, in 30 years, known of any Jamaican who is not an American green card holder, or who holds US citizenship getting anything, let alone adequate financial aid from Caltech for undergraduate work,” Dr Minott said last week.
“This is a first, because they are not disposed to giving scholarships or financial aid to foreign undergraduates, and in his case they gave him a special international student’s scholarship or grant,” Dr Minott said. “I stand corrected, but it’s something we’ve tried to achieve in the past but never did.”
According to Dr Minott, Stanford, Harvard, and Amherst also extended similar offers of “generous financial aid” to Jabari.
“The schools came in well within what the parents said they could pay,” explained Dr Minott, whose A-QuEST has been preparing top Jamaican students for colleges abroad since 1987 and has scored many big successes.
Yesterday, Minott made the point that although Jabari excelled at CAPE — scoring grade 1 in Pure Math unit 2, Applied Math unit 1, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, and Communication Studies — he would have been viewed by the overseas universities as just another bright Jamaican student.
What got them to sit up and look, though, was the grade he achieved in that advanced multivariable partial differential equation course.
The idea of doing the course was pushed by Dr Minott who saw Jabari’s potential over the two years the teen spent at A-QuEST, which is totally online.
“He said, ‘Do you think I can do it?’ I said, ‘of course, go in there and do your best’, and he did,” Dr Minott related.
“It was a full Stanford course and he got an A minus, and I’m pretty sure that if he had concentrated a little bit more he would have been able to do an A or an A plus.”
“I said, ‘Now inform all your colleges’ and he did, and I believe that was the icing on the cake to confirm to them that he is perfectly capable of handling the most demanding academic work,” Dr Minott told the Sunday Observer.
Of course, Jabari’s parents — Heather and Lynval Hastings — are elated.
“I’m over the moon, so to speak, but I try to contain myself, but on a personal level I’m very, very elated,” Mr Hastings told the Sunday Observer. more

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