ENDURING FAITH: Super mum goes to great lengths to ensure son’s education

ENDURING FAITH: Super mum goes to great lengths to ensure son’s education
  • 12-year-old Rashylo Gaston received a GPA of 3.30 to close Grade 7

  • Mother and son used open Wifi outside of Superwash to facilitate his virtual classes

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Rita Cartwright, a mother of three and Baha Mar room attendant, refused to let her struggles in life prevent her children from having the best chance at being successful, requesting late-night shifts and driving her son to use the WIFI outside a Superwash near where they lived to ensure he could continue his education virtually.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Cartwright, who posted her son’s grade point average and report card online, inspiring hundreds, said despite not performing well in school herself, she knew the importance of receiving a good education — a goal she set upon for her children despite numerous hurdles.

Rashylo Gaston, 12

Her son, Rashylo Gaston, a Jordan Prince William High School Grade 7 student, achieved eight B’s and three C’s in the 11 subjects taken in the final term of the school year — a significant improvement over the first two report cards he took home in which his grade point average was just above a one.

“I can tell you firsthand that I’m not an ordinary mother,” Cartwright said.

“My main goal in life is that I could fail at just about anything, but I can’t fail at being a mother, especially to my young sons… I can’t afford to fail in that area.

Cartwright, who is married to a Haitian national, implied there is a certain amount of stigma and challenge that comes along with marrying a non-Bahamian.

She said she was determined to ensure her children are never “treated less than anyone else”.

“I go extra hard for that reason to,” she said. “I try to take the load on my shoulders so that they can stay standing. I believe that’s what a mother does.”

Cartwright, who said she has been doing the “best I can”, acknowledged there have been shortfalls.

Rashylo Gaston, 12

However, she said she could not allow that to become her children’s burden or hindrance to them achieving and doing better in life than she has.

“I’m not so financially stable, where I would like to be right now. I’m struggling more than people would even believe because I don’t carry myself in that type of way.

“And my Internet and my current and my light, everything was off and the fact is he had to be in school year to be in school, so no matter what obstacles hit me, he has to be in school.”

With no Internet access or electricity, Cartwright and her son drove from their home on Marshall Road to Superwash next to SC McPherson Junior High School to use its open WIFI so that Rashylo could continue his virtual classes.

She requested that her manager give her night shifts to allow her to continue this routine for more than a week, taking breaks in-between classes to charge the laptop wherever she could.

“The most important thing to me is his education because that is for him, to help him, so that he wouldn’t have to struggle like me,” said Cartwright as she held back tears.

“I know sometimes family, friends, we all are human and sometimes people are tired of you or sometimes, you know, everyone is carrying their own load and I really didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.

“So, I just thought about Superwash and I said there WIFI is always open so, ‘come on baby’. I said come you’ve got to go to school. Whatever we got to do, that’s what we have to do.”

Seven Gaston 5, (left), Rita Cartwright (center) and Rashylo Gaston, 12 (right)

She said on one occasion, one of Rashylo’s teachers commented that he appeared to be in a vehicle.

Cartwright said she typed to the teacher, advising that she would explain the matter after the class.

She said she was never concerned about being looked down on by anyone, sitting in her car outside of the washhouse for hours as her son was learning.

She told Eyewitness News that she never felt ashamed.

Rashylo attended all of his classes.

As he transitioned into Grade 7 at Jordan Prince William from Carlton E Francis Primary School, where he had performed well, his grades dipped for the first two terms, giving cause for concern to his parents.

She said teachers assured her that Rashylo was a hard worker and the transition, new environment and increase in teachers from one to 11, was likely the cause for the dip in performance.

She received his report for the final term this week and read the 2.73 GPA, recognizing it as an improvement.

But before she could firmly take hold of the report card, school officials advised her that there had been a computer error and his actual GPA was 3.30.

Cartwright said she ran outside in the rain, tears falling from her eyes and thanked God.

Rashylo Gaston’s Grade 7 report card

She said the result made every moment of effort, pressure, and oftentimes feeling overwhelmed worth it.

She drove home and called out for her son, who stood stunned, unsure of what to expect.

She embraced Rashylo.

“I just burst through the door, saying where’s my baby and he was standing there stunned and scared because I do carry him hard, I’m not going to lie.

“But I always just tell him everything I do is out of love; it’s always for your best; it’s always because Mummy sees something in you, so he understands.

“I just hugged him and held him and said baby, how you think you do? He said good. I said you did great… and I told him he made a 3.30 and he started crying.”

Cartwright thanked the Samaritans that helped her along the way, including a woman who gave her funds to activate the data on her phone to help keep her son in school; another woman who found her address and visited her home earlier this year to turn her Internet on for $150 that month.

She also thanked Superwash President and Chief Executive Officer Dionisio D’Aguilar for having open Internet access at his business.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.


This is an amazing and inspiring story! May God’s blessing and favour cover this family

Very inspiring, I pray that God’s hand of mercy be ever on your family as you trust and believe in His only begotten son. While education is important, knowledge of the Holy One is even more important. I pray that you introduce and lead your children to the Lord and I pray that your trust is in Him also. Congratulations to your son. Keep up the great work young man. Let the knowledge of your mother’s sacrifice and love for you keep you going.

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