By FELICITY DARVILLE
HE may only be in the sixth grade, but Neeson Williams is already becoming a leader in his community. He has proven that no matter how young you are, you can do amazing things that make a difference in the lives of others.
Since relocating to Central Andros from Nassau with his family in 2021, Neeson has made it a goal to volunteer, donate and participate in events associated with the Central Andros branch of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas - “Andros for a Cure”.
Neeson saw how cancer affected the lives of some of the women in his family, who were dear to his heart. They include his “aunties” and godmother, who were diagnosed and are survivors of breast cancer. He was also seriously impacted by the loss of a cousin from aggressive leukemia. Neeson’s tender heart also grieved at the recent loss of a friend’s mother, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma but unfortunately lost her battle.
This humble young man looked at the world around him and decided to view things from the bright side. He couldn’t let all the sickness, pain and death around him affect him negatively. His mindset is one that focuses on what can be done, instead of focusing on the things that are out of his control.
This led him to begin “Neeson’s Coins for Cancer” which is a coin drive with the initiative to raise funds for cancer fighters, survivors and grieving families in Central Andros. Neeson’s Coins for Cancer is a year-round coin drive, and every month of the year is dedicated to a particular type of cancer. This coin drive initiative will be placed in schools where students are able to contribute and make a difference in the lives of Central Androsians.
Neeson believes that cancer targets all ages and “can be a scary process without the support of the ones you love by your side”.
His main goal in life is to help others in any way that he can. It doesn’t matter who it is - from his siblings, to his family, to his classmates, to his friends - he is always seeking to extend a helping hand to others.
When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Neeson’s response is always: “I want a career in an area where I can help others”. To date, he seems to be leaning towards law as his field of vocation.
In the meantime, Neeson is sticking to getting the best grades in school that he can. He is an “A” student who has been on the principal’s list from the first grade and a top achiever of his class from the second grade. He especially loves his mathematics, science and reading classes.
“These subjects are my favorite because they open my mind to new things, strategies and possibilities I will see out in the world,” Neeson said.
Just recently, Neeson received the prestigious honour of being named student of the year at Fresh Creek Primary School. He was a junior prefect in the fifth grade, and was recently pinned senior prefect for Fresh Creek Primary on November 10.
Neeson will be representing his school in the next Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards. He also will be representing his school at the District Spelling Bee next term after placing first in the Fresh Creek Primary Inter-House Spelling Bee.
In addition to being an “A” student, Neeson’s extra-curricular activities include participating in the Spelling Bee Club, Track and Field Club, Choir Club, Discovery Club, JA Elementary, and Junkanoo Club. He also enjoys soccer, basketball, swimming, and track and field events.
Neeson attends and participates in the Children’s Ministry - Children’s Church and Friday “Youths” - at Salvation and Praise International Deliverance Ministry in Andros.
When he is not busy at school or church, Neeson makes time to read a book series, play video games, ride his bicycle, draw or sketch, help his family with cooking, and help siblings and friends with school work.
“Neeson is smart, wise, dedicated and determined,” said his mother, D’Andra Thompson-Smith.
“Neeson is always encouraged to use his brain to achieve all that his heart truly desires. I always tell him, ‘I can’t do it for you. You have to want it for yourself, but I will always be standing in full support as your number one cheerleader.”
His fourth grade teacher, TeEdra Hinsey, also sung his praises. She consistently tells him: “Continue shooting for the stars; if you fail, you will still land among the clouds.”
Neeson is inspired and mentored by the following individuals that he looks up to and who play an important role in his upbringing: Lavonne Neymour, Ka’Desh Hepburn, Vernita Coakley, Prophetess Amanda Miller, and Rico Cleare. They feed positivity into his daily life with words of wisdom and encouragement.
Neeson is encouraged by his biggest supporters which includes his parents, grandparents, siblings, uncle, ‘aunties’, cousins, and godparents. Each individual he holds near and dear to his heart. They are present, involved and helpful with his success, concerns and challenges. He strives to do his best to make them proud. The loss of his uncle in January 2021 has stayed with him and has also motivated him to keep him in the count, continuing to make him proud as well. Even in times of sadness, Neeson has found a reason to keep on smiling.