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Jun 2, 2016

Rowan Heads for College Abroad

For quite some time, we have followed the adventures of Rowan Garel; his ascent to the summit of Victoria Peak, his mission to walk across Belize and his dive into the depths of the Blue Hole.  While a children’s story book highlighting these brave feats has been published, the recent high school graduate is preparing for what may very well be his greatest challenge yet.  Rowan, no longer the little boy that we watched growing up right before our eyes, is getting ready to attend Drew University in New Jersey.  It’s a giant step for him, leaving home to take on the big city by himself.  He spoke with News Five’s Isani Cayetano about his pending challenge.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Eighteen-year-old Rowan Garel, I’m certain most of you at home know who he is by now, is getting ready to fly the coop.  Yes, the little boy who grew up right in front of our television sets, is heading for college abroad.  For some, it may not be as big a deal as his thrill-seeking interests, but for this visually impaired adolescent, leaving home to pursue higher learning is his way of embracing adulthood.

 

Rowan Garel

Rowan Garel, Visually Impaired Student

“Certain things I’m looking forward to are just very, not necessarily college-related but living on my own.  One of these things is learning how to cook.  I, as I mentioned before, I speak to blind people on Skype sometimes and I just hear them saying very casual things like, “oh I think I’m going to have breakfast now so I’ll be back.  I’ll go make pancakes with eggs and sausage and bacon and that just sounds so amazing because to be able to get up and cook your own food, I mean I probably wouldn’t feel very happy about doing that in the early morning when I’d probably like to be asleep.”

 

While he may not necessarily be a lark or a morning person, Rowan’s high school years have somewhat prepared him for what lies ahead.  So have his parents.  His mother, Milagro Garel, has been at his side every step of the way.

 

Milagro Garel

Milagro Garel, Rowan Garel’s Mother

“For me, I never thought that I would still be as strong as I am to be able to do everything that needs to get done and we’re here and I think I’m ready to let him go.  It’s very important for him to find his independence and Rowan has proven that he definitely wants to take on that challenge.  So we are ready to let him go.”

 

Of course, a huge part of Rowan’s liberation has to do with him deciding which university he wants to attend.  That decision, unfortunately, was born out of the many hurdles he’s had to overcome at school.

 

Rowan Garel

“Some of the challenges were just applying to college, making sure that I got everything in.  Normal stuff.  But another challenge we faced was with the SAT.  Since I am a blind or since I’m disabled it’s a normal SAT exam that I have to take but the procedure is different.  The school is supposed to register for the exams since it’s a modified version and if it was a sighted person taking it they would have to register by themselves so there is a different process there.  And, the process was not carried out in a timely manner.”

 

That foot-dragging, on the part of secondary school he attended, according to Rowan, has severely limited his options.  A majority of the universities he applied to require students to sit a Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT.  To date he has been unable to do so.

 

Rowan Garel

“I applied to the Williams College in Massachusetts, to the University of Richmond in Virginia and Davidson College in North Carolina but all of these colleges require SAT scores to accept a student.  It’s mandatory.  So, unfortunately, I was not able to get into those but I am going to the Drew University in New Jersey and it doesn’t need SAT scores but it’s still a very prestigious university and I am really happy to be going there.”

 

Carla Ayres-Musa

Rowan’s accomplishments, whether academic or otherwise, would not be possible without a strong support system which includes his family at home and at the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired.

 

Carla Ayres-Musa, Executive Director, BCVI

“We’ve known you for so long and we’ve watched you grow from a very smart, intuitive little boy to an amazing, even smarter, selfless young man and we’re so proud of you.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Rowan Heads for College Abroad”

  1. Abe says:

    One love for a young man who, with a zest for living and accomplishing, is a role model, especially for the lazy-a** adults around Belize several times his age.

  2. *67 says:

    Belize’s Matt Murdoch!!!

  3. David P says:

    Proud of him!

  4. shirley says:

    hi rowan
    welcome to jersey I would love to meet you and show you around nj
    from one Belizean to another.

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