Shauna Helps taking things in stride
By Dania Bogle
Wolmer’s Girls School student Shauna Helps has proven it is possible to do well on the track and in the classroom.
Helps, who is the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys & Girls Athletic Championships Class Two 100m silver medallist, is now in the sixth form at Wolmer’s Girls School after she passed all eight of the external high school examinations she took last summer..
“My mantra is that I am a student athlete. I like when I am receiving academic awards and people say ‘oh she runs AND she does her schoolwork’,” Helps said.
“From I was growing up my parents always stressed that I had to manage my athletic career and my schoolwork. This year was rough because I had to leave training at 4 o clock to catch a class. Although my track career kind of suffered it made up for it in my results,” she added.
“My mother is a teacher so she was able to give me pointers. They brought me up so I knew what I had to do.”
Helps, who turns 17 in October 23 says her parents told her that she was running before she could walk.
“I was always running so from then I just had it in me.”
Helps grew up in the United States in Brooklyn, New York and while track and field was not a big part of the extra-curricular activities she participated in karate and swimming.
She joined Wolmer’s track team when she entered high school in Jamaica. Helps is something Champs legend as she has been winning sprint titles since her first year at Class three.
She claimed the class three 100m and 200m in her first year and the 100m in the second year. In 2013 she lost to her god friend and teammate Jonielle Smith.
“For a very long time I just wanted her to have her big break and there it was,” Helps said.
Losing places stress on her and this year will be challenging as she looks to compete at the 2014 ‘Champs’.
“Every time whether it’s training or a development meet. I’m expected to blow them away and it’s a lot of pressure on me. When they (people) see me lose they only take it as ‘oh she is getting slower, she has given up… and it really hurts me’.”