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The smart kid every parent wants to meet: Interview with Elaina Jarju
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The smart kid every parent wants to meet: Interview with Elaina Jarju

Elaina Jarju is the cleverest kid in The Gambia, right now. The 16-year-old, from Faji Kunda got straight 1’s in the Gambia Basic Education Certificate Examination (GABECE). In an interview with What’s On-Gambia, she said achieving straight 1’s is not only about cramming and painful all-nighters in your bedroom. 

What’s On-Gambia: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family? 

Elaina: My name is Eliana. I’m a girl of 16 years. I’m an Alorn (koronika) and residing in Fajikunda. I have three sisters and four brothers.  My father is around and sadly my mother is of late memory. 

How does it feel to be the best student in this year’s GABECE? 

A big challenge! A challenge to continue the hard work, because all eyes are now on me (laughs). 

You got straight 1’s in all of your subjects, but what subject is your favorite and why? 

My favorite subject is Mathematics, because it is complex. I like to be in a situation where anything can go wrong and you have to analyze every step to get the right answer. 

You got 1 in Metal Work. Is Metal Work no longer a subject for only boys? 

This goes to the one that invented Metal Work and chose to make it a male field. To the whole world, I say it is time for change of mentality. 

As a straight-1 student, what are your secrets? 

  1. I acknowledge and appreciate the gift of God for me and made optical use of it.
  2. Self-discipline and hard work.
  3. Challenge my weakness by seeking counseling and help without fear or being shy. 

How did you celebrate your achievement? 

My family organized a light get-together for me and I invited my friends. 

So you have time for friends (laughs)? 

Oh yes! I do have friends. 

Who are your role models and why? 

My parents! They’re kind, concerned and loving. They showed us the right path to take in order to become respectful and productive people in the future. 

We’re made to understand that you are continuing with St. Peter’s, why not a change of school? 

It’s the environment I’m used to. I have friends there, good tutors and they provide students with all the support they need. 


What do you do for fun? 

Reading, listening to music, chatting with friends and playing indoor games. 

Who is your favorite musician and why? 

My favorite musician is Jackie Evancho. She is a young talented musician, who uses the inspirational power of words combined with her strong golden voice – she keeps me spellbound. It’s always good feeling listening to her songs. 

What do you think are the current problems that are affecting students of the country? 

I would call them challenges. I would say the lack of self-discipline, respect and the strong desire to excel. 

If you could change anything in St. Peter’s today to make a positive difference for most students, what would it be and why? 

Already my achievement is one of the changes I have made in St. Peter’s.  I only want to be given the chance to talk to the whole school in the school hall. 

Did you receive any scholarship offers since your results were announced? 

Not yet. 

What was the best Christmas present you ever received? 

A special gift from my sister-in-law – it’s a secret.

What do you want to be in the future?

A gynecologist!


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