When Andrew Forsythe heard his name announced as top male communication studies student at the Seventh-day Adventist-owned Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in 2016, he was stunned.
“I said, ‘What? No!’ because I knew my history,” he said.
But that first award was only the beginning of a string of achievements.
The final-year NCU student recalled that he scored predominantly Cs and Ds from primary through to high school.
“My mother taught at my high school, and not even that could get me to do an assignment. I just wasn’t interested,” he said.
His mother, Acynthia Forsythe, felt his apathy was connected to issues with self-worth due to a condition he was born with, cleft palate – openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate) or both. It results from the facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby not being closed completely.
Forsythe, on the other hand, said he became interested in pursuing orthodontics because of all the visits he made to the doctor while wearing braces. Although not earning stellar grades, he pursued the sciences.
Meanwhile, a hobby of his was earning him recognition. He started online video streaming of the services at his church, the Seaforth Seventh-day Adventist Church. He became known in church circles for his media work, but he didn’t consider it a career.
In 2009, he graduated from high school and started working. After four years, he applied to study orthodontics but could not start the programme because of the expensive fees.
While Forsythe was dead set on studying orthodontics, many persons who knew him felt he was destined for media work.
Destined For Media
“My former pastor, Windel Montaque, told me that he believed media was my calling. After that conversation, I asked God to give me a sign so I could be sure. I knew orthodontics would pay well, but media was just something I did for fun.”
He tried to raise the tuition for orthodontics, but nothing worked, and he deferred for a year. During that year, he got a phone call from NCU that changed his direction. He had applied there some years before, but it hadn’t worked out. Now NCU was asking if he was still interested in enrolling. After consulting with his parents, he said yes.
“I figured if I’m going to do media, it had to be NCU. Nowhere else could match what I was hearing being offered there. I don’t regret that choice,” he shared.
Forsythe enrolled in the NCU Department of Communication Studies (DCS) in 2014. His older brothers, Mical and Richard, who preceded him at NCU, gave him financial and moral support. Soon, he found a student job as an NCU FM engineer to help pay his fees.
“I would leave classes to go to work. At times, I would just be getting home at 4:00 am, and I had assignments. Sometimes after doing assignments, I only had time to bathe and get going again,” said
He was determined not to fail any courses, but he did not realise he was excelling until that first achievement in 2016.
“At the time, GPA wasn’t something I paid attention to. But after the affirmation service, I was motivated to put out even more effort,” he said.
Did Not Forget Promise
In 2017, Forsythe was recognised for being the top male DCS student overall, top male junior, top male for the College of Humanities, Behavioural and Social Sciences, and a DCS holder student ambassador.
He is on track to graduate in August 2018, but not without stacking up more accolades first. His achievements this year include five awards at the DCS Week of Excellence Affirmation Service on April 11, including top DCS male student overall and Today’s Student Leader for the NCU main campus, and six awards, including Best Overall Film, for his film submissions in the recently held DCS Lignum Vitae Film Festival.
All these achievements have not caused Forsythe to forget a promise he made.
“Media, for me, started in the church, in ministry. Even if I’m not in ministry full time, I still intend to do it because that was one of my promises to God,” he said.
His father, Lascelles Forsythe, couldn’t be prouder.
“We support him in ministry because he grew up in a mission-focused home,” said the beaming father.
Wherever media takes him, young Forsythe is determined to set the bar high.
“I want to ensure that when you hear the name ‘Forsythe’ in the media industry, nobody has to doubt whether or not they are going to get quality. I have to maintain that,” declared.