By Vanessa Moore
Despite being visually impaired, Tanji Waldron, a graduate of the Wismar Hill Primary School, defied all odds by copping Linden’s Sixth Form school, Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (CWSS), with 438 marks. The elated little Tanji is especially ecstatic that she made her parents proud who endured many challenges to ensure she garnered success. Tanji who hails from Blue Berry Hill, Wismar, Linden, is the fourth of seven children. Two of her older siblings are also visually impaired wile two others suffer from mild vision loss. This is as a result of a genetic disorder called congenital toxmoplasmosis.
While her older siblings secured places at Mackenzie High School, Tanji said she is still very happy about gaining a place at CWSS with their very help. “I’m very very happy, I felt very excited when I got my results because my cousin also passed to go the same school,” she said. Her mother, Ronella Waldron, said Tanji experienced a lot of challenges during the entire preparation process and even on the day of the examination. “Even on the day of the exam, she faced a lot of challenges, like over and hour and a half the exam started and the scribe wasn’t there and that was a little frustrating for her,” Waldron related but she stayed with her throughout the entire process and will continue to support her throughout secondary school journey.
Tanji did not enjoy the benefits of extra lessons because of her condition, so her family ensured they put in the extra work with her after school and on weekends. Now that she is venturing off to high school, her mother is hoping that better systems will be implemented so that she does not experience the same challenges and limitations her older sons experienced while attending high school. This resulted in her eldest son dropping out of school despite having the natural ability to succeed. “I’m really hoping that things will be better at Multi, we have a new Special Needs Officer in the region and she promised that someone will be there with her and that things will be in place for her to get her work so I’m really looking forward for her to get a better secondary experience.”
In addition, while Ronella believes it is best for Tanji and other differently abled students enjoy inclusive education, she believes more should be done to ensure these students are comfortable. “I went to Multi and I know it has a lot of steps, and some areas are also dark, so I’m hoping her classroom is not nowhere she would have to climb a lot of steps and so on.” While Tanji was not born blind, she started showing signs of visual loss at nursery and like her brothers, had to adapt to a different life. One challenge she faced at school is being hit down regularly by children running since she might often stand in the middle of a walkway trying to feel her way around. Her mother however believes that the joys of inclusive education are more than the struggles and that more parents should ensure their children attend school despite being differently-abled