…Doles out N1million to winners of science quiz competition, others
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
About 380 schools owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, both primary and secondary, were recently hosted by the Archbishop, Rt. Rev. (Dr) Valerian Okeke to cultural fiesta, march-past, science competitions at the Basilican of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, Anambra State.
The event kick-started with a high mass celebration officiated by Archbishop Okeke and over 30 revered fathers, as well as other religious leaders, attracted pupils and students from all parts of the Archdiocese who graced the colourful event.
The event after the holy mass commenced with a march-past from all the schools, with Archbishop Okeke taking the salute after which cultural parades by the primary school pupils from the different ethnic groups in Nigeria: Igbo, Yourba, Hausa, Efik, Tiv, Idoma, Bini, Kanuri, Fulani, Ijaw, among others.
The organizers of the Archbishop Okeke Science Quiz Competition conducted earlier in the year announced the winners of the competition which included the junior and senior categories where about 100 schools participated.
In the junior category; Misheal Ezeani of Dominican Sister’s College, Abatete clinched the first position; Martin Adiegwu of Christ the King College, Onitsha came second while Chimdalu Ofoedu of St. Anthony of Padua Nkpor and Gregory Maduadieze of All Hallows’ Seminary school Onitsha jointly came third respectively.
In the senior category; Rejoice Obadike of Marian Foundation Secondary School Oraukwu came first, Chidebere Ume enwune of Christ the King College, Onitsha came second while Kingsley Ezeife of St. Anthony of Padua, Nkpor and Obeta Kingsley of Christ the King College Onitsha came third respectively.
The first position winners of the science competition were given a cheque of N50, 000 each and a laptop computer; second positions were given N30, 000 each while third positions were given N20, 000 each and laptop computers.
The teachers of the winners of the science competition were given a cheque of N40,000 each; the winning schools at the competition received white modern classroom marker board and printers while consolation prizes of N10, 000 each were given to the 4th to 10th positions.
In the march-past competition, Christ the King College Onitsha came first, St. Anthony of Padua Nkpor came second while Queen of Rosary College Onitsha came third and were given trophies.
Speaking at the event, Archbishop Okeke said that Catholic missionaries came to Onitsha in December 5, 1855 and established school in 1890 which was how the mission Catholic schools started and continued spreading till date.
He stated that the Catholic mission schools have contributed a lot in the educational development in the country, commending the state government for returning 11 mission schools formerly taken over by the government back to mission.
Archbishop Okeke noted that Catholic schools did not only shape the pupils and students in character and learning, but also in academics and moral upbringing, urging the school children to always make use of the opportunities to come out in flying colours in their studies.
He stated that students from other states of the federation would be coming to Anambra State, particularly the Onitsha Archdiocese to learn moral and academic excellence, stressing that the state came first to fourth position in the easy competition organized in Nigeria.
“I want to thank the teachers for building the school children because when you build a child, you build a nation. The contribution of Catholic Church in educational development is enormous in terms of academics and moral behaviour. I know that these students will be representing the state and Nigeria in oversea competitions, I want to assure you that this event will be a yearly event precisely in first Saturday of every December.
“The motivation for organizing this event is a way of preparing the children for healthy competition in life, a way of building them up to work hard and work harder, a way of rewarding excellence and promoting good values. Those who won are encouraged to work harder and those who didn’t win would be spurred on to struggle to win,” the archbishop said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Coordinator of Archbishop Valerian Okeke Science Quiz Competition and Education Secretary of the Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Paschal Onwugbenu said that about N6 million was spent in organizing the competition, saying that about 100 students participated and went home with one gift or the other.
He said that the competition was the third edition in the series and was aimed at the discovery of targeted scientists, as well as to dismiss the fear of science subjects in schools.
Fr. Onwugbenu stated that the archdiocese has about 380 schools with the secondary schools having 82 schools, pointing out that 11 schools were recently returned to the Catholic Church by the state government.
The Principal of Dominican Sister’s College Abatete, the winner of junior category of the science competition, Rev. Sister Elizabeth Mary Tadafe, thanked God for the victory, saying that it was based on hard work and discipline initiated in the school that made the students to excel.
She commended the archbishop for organizing such competition aimed at encouraging the students to study hard and come out in excellent results just as she urged the students to utilize the opportunity of being Catholics to excel and compete favourably with other students in the world.
The winner of the senior school category and student of Marian Foundation Secondary School Oraukwu, Rejoice Obadike, and the second runners-up, Ume Enwune Chidebere, of Christ the King College Onitsha, thanked the organizer of the programme for the prize bestowed on them as winners.
“I thank God for the victory, I thank Archbishop Okeke for the opportunity, I thank my teachers for their guardiance and teachings. I didn’t know that I will emerge as winner of the competition. The secret of winning is persistence in reading and working hard,” Rejoice said.