Miss Tamia Knowles of Emma E. Cooper Primary School.
Miss Tamia Knowles of Emma E. Cooper Primary School.

Tamia Knowles of Palmetto Point, Eleuthera was selected as the nominee for the Emma Cooper Primary School in the 2021 Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program, and during the national awards program, held on Sunday, July 4th, she was awarded as the 8th Place Finalist, amongst 100 primary schools students from across the country representing their primary schools.

Tamia was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta also known as Brittle Bone, in November 2009. Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder of the type 1 collagen that affects the quality of bone made by the body. It causes bones to break very easily and can affect other areas of the body such as poor lung development, poor muscle development, dwarfism, bone deformity and scoliosis. Currently there is no cure for OI. She was born with two fractured tibia and a broken collar bone, all broken in the womb which was the indication of her diagnosis.

Tamia was given a prognosis of the possibility of not sitting up on her own, not walking, not being able to go to school, not developing fine motor skills and perhaps even death as many babies born with a severe type of OI don’t live past a few months. There are over 19 types of OI with varying levels of severity. After having a genetic test completed in January 2010 it was confirmed that Tamia had Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 3/4 which is on the moderate/severe side.

Tamia does experience mobility challenges due to severe deformity in her legs as a result of not only the disease which causes severe bone curvature but also having broken both tibia before birth and both femurs during her toddler years. She uses a wheelchair outside of the home to assist. In 2019 Tamia had rodding surgery to insert metal rods in her tibia and femurs so that the deformity in her legs could be improved. This has allowed her to improve her mobility, but the wheelchair is still the safer option at this time. She has however beaten many odds. Tamia was able to successfully attend and complete primary school at The Emma E. Cooper Primary School with the help of the Principal, teachers, support staff and students who all chipped in to ensure that she remained safe.

During her primary school years, she consistently excelled academically maintaining Principal’s List (Over 3.5 GPA) status straight through, participating in District Spelling Bees where she placed 3rd in grade 2 and won 4th and 5th grade spelling bees. She also fell in love with speech competitions, competing in the Religious Knowledge District Speech Competitions in grades 4 and 5, winning both and placing 2nd at The National Religious Knowledge Speech Competition while in 4th grade.

She also served as Treasurer for EarlyAct as well as member of the Writer’s Club, Dance Club, Girl’s Club and Science Club. Tamia always tries to inspire others by volunteering her time to Cancer Society and church events and helping her mom post inspirational content on Mia’s Miracle social media page. She was recently featured on The Morning Edition with LeDaunne Davis and Charles Fisher which has been the highlight of her summer this year. Tamia loved NFL Football and amazingly knows stats and things about the game that most 11-year-olds and even some adults would not understand. She loves art in many forms and aspires to be an actress one day.

Tamia’s brother, Torri Knowles was also a Finalist in the 2016 Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program.

Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation