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Numbers finally add up for Anthony

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Anthony Cherrington Jr was awarded a $4,000 education bursary from the Continental Society of Bermuda. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Anthony Cherrington Jr dreamed of becoming an actuary but life seemed to be conspiring against him.

He’d had no luck with the many scholarships he’d applied for.

And though he was putting in long hours at work, the cash wasn’t enough to cover the cost of his studies at the University of Leicester.

“Getting a scholarship was the only real way I was going to be able to go to school,” said the 18-year-old. His father, Anthony Cherrington Sr, raised him and his siblings on his own, after their mother died of breast cancer.

“My dad wasn’t financially ready to send me,” he said. “He’d just finished putting me through Mount Saint Agnes 15 months ago and did that by himself, which kind of drained him.

“I also have younger siblings and my dad also had to make sure they had a good education too so he wasn’t able to go all in for me this time. I had to work, and then find a scholarship on top of that, to be able to go to school.”

He upped his hours at Auto Solutions to about 60 hours a week, and saved all he could.

“I was on the verge of giving up and was fully expecting to just work as hard as I possibly could to see how far that would get me,” he said.

It was at that point his luck changed. The Continental Society came through with a $4,000 bursary. He was chosen from more than 100 applicants.

According to Society spokeswoman Denise Simons, an essay that accompanied the teenager’s application showed just how desperately he needed help.

The charity was founded 55 years ago to provide financial support and education opportunities to underprivileged children and youth on the Island.

“It really did make the difference between me staying in Bermuda or leaving because even though I was working 60 hours the math wasn’t all there.”

The teenager is enrolled in a mathematics and actuarial science degree programme at his UK university.

He said he’s been interested in math as long as he can remember. “I really couldn’t put my finger on it, but something initially drew me to math, numbers and calculations. Then when I researched it further I realised actuarial science was the perfect fit. It allowed me to blend my passion for math and also be creative and think in new ways every day, not the same old routine.

“When I was in Grade 10 at MSA we did our first career fair and I was the only one of my classmates that went to the insurance stall.

“After that I knew I wanted to follow that path; show me a mathematical equation and I’ll figure it out. I do problem-solving activities at home and have to use that skill sometimes at work as well.”

Mr Cherrington Jr worked part-time last year and took business classes at Bermuda College, but felt the time was right to go overseas.

“I felt with Bermuda College it was a great starting point, but not necessarily pushing me enough. At the same time I also wanted to strike while the iron was hot and get to school before I lost my focus and never ended up having the time to go. Other things could always come up so just get there as soon as possible — that was my thinking.”

He credits his father for the success he’s achieved so far.

“My father owns a landscaping company and drives the trash truck in the morning. He used to bartend, but had to give that up because he was barely able to go to sleep at all,” he said.

“I learnt how to work hard from watching him. He really did give me an example of a hard-working person providing for his family.

“I barely saw him, but it meant a lot that he was sacrificing so much for us. He’s my only parent and wanted to do his best for me so it does mean a lot to me. We have been through some rough patches, but are doing okay now.”

The teen’s advice for anyone else in a similar situation is to never give up.

“At first I didn’t think I would get a scholarship and get to go away. My dad, he didn’t want me to get my hopes up and be discouraged if nothing came through, but I kept the faith and found there was some help out there.”

Anthony Cherrington Jr was awarded a $4,000 education bursary from the Continental Society of Bermuda. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)