Mr Vegas gets high-school diploma 30 years later

July 16, 2019
Mr Vegas
Mr Vegas

At age 44, reggae-dancehall entertainer Mr Vegas is only just graduating from high school.

The Heads High singer recently received a high-school diploma from the Department of Education in the state of Florida in the United States (US) after doing the necessary General Educational Development (GED) tests.

"This is not for the trolls; I have nothing to prove to anyone. This is for my children, me, and the people who want to be inspired. Additionally, I absorbed information some people take four to five years to do, all in three months," Mr Vegas told THE STAR.

The entertainer said that he did not complete secondary education in Jamaica.

At the start of third form, Clifford Smith, Mr Vegas' given name, dropped out of Oberlin High School in west rural St Andrew and never looked back.

"After dropping out of school, my mom sent me to live in Kingston with my granduncle, whose son had a sound system, and it was there that I started to develop my career in music," he said.

"It (being around the sound system) was one of my earlier influences in becoming a recording artiste as I had began writing my own songs and I got to touch the microphone whenever the sound system played in the community," he continued.

It was not that the I Am Blessed artiste didn't have an interest in going back to school, but he was sidetracked by all that was happening in his social circles.

He said, "It is something I wanted to do from a long time, and this year, I said I was going to do it. My circle became smaller, and I surrounded myself with more intellects, people that studied history and science, and I got intrigued by the brilliance."


He noted that there is no online option to take the GED or high-school diploma tests and that anyone interested must take the necessary steps to get into an institution based in the US to earn a state-recognised degree.

Mr Vegas prepared by reading; using flash cards; and enlisting his nephew Steve Smith Jr., former captain of the Wolmer's High School for Boys Schools' Challenge Quiz team for help.

"I completed the required courses, including mathematics, English, science and social studies (which was a combination of history and geography), and met the state graduation requirements. My nephew is very smart and was instrumental in my learning," Mr Vegas shared.

With the high-school diploma, he added, "The plan is to continue to further my education at the college/university level with my focus mainly on African history. I want to further my understanding of my history and be more cognisant of black people's history."

Getting to a higher level academically, Mr Vegas said, will also benefit his music career by boosting his writing skills.

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