Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A privately-owned secondary school in Anambra State, British Spring College (BSC), has continued to promote interest in mathematics among schoolchildren by rewarding excellence with prizes and scholarships.
Now in its fourth edition, the annual BSC Mathematics Competition for Primary 5 and 6 and the Lady Uju Dike Scholarship Scheme held in Awka recently, bringing together various child prodigies in mathematics across several schools in Anambra State as well as the South-East and South-South regions.
The competition, sponsored by the director of British Spring College, Awka, Lady Uju Dike, rewards the pupils with N200,000 cash award and 100 per cent scholarship to study in the school, N100,000 cash award and 75 per cent scholarship and N50,000 cash award and 50 per cent scholarship for the top three winners, respectively.
Teachers of the top three winners also receive cash rewards of N150,000, N75,000 and N30,000 respectively.
Welcoming guests during the prize presentation, Lady Uju Dike appreciated the Anambra State Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, for her support and encouragement for the programme over the years.
She encouraged the parents and children who emerged finalists to see themselves as champions in their own right, having merited the position among more than 900 entries received for the completion.
“I say it every year and I will say it again. I want you to know that for you to be here today among the finalists shows that you are very bright and smart. No matter what happens here today, don’t lose that confidence. Today is not about knowing who the brightest is; it’s about how careful you can be. The person that comes first today, if you set the same test again tomorrow, the person might not be the first. You have done your best and should clap for yourself,” she said.
The principal, Joe Ozioko, said the scholarship scheme was borne out of the desire of the director of British Spring College to extend quality education to the less privileged, and gifted and talented children whose parents may not have the means to send them to British Spring College.
Describing the gesture as part of the school’s corporate social responsibility, he said one unique feature of the competition is that the organisers don’t attach sentiment or partiality in the process.
Validating his claims, he said it was for that reason that the director of the school introduced a separate scholarship scheme tagged Lady Uju Dike Scholarship Scheme for the children in her own school, Springfield Academy, which is distinct from the BSC Mathematics Competition thrown open for other schools.
The Commissioner for Basic Education in Anambra State, Prof. Omenugha, saluted Lady Dike and her team for the groundbreaking interventions in the education sector.
“The Igbo say that the eye is always attracted to beautiful things. That I come here every now and then is because you are doing very well. I see this as one of our pride schools in Anambra and I can say that the fees here are very cheap compared to the output of what you do.”
The commissioner relived the experience she had at Mgbakwu community, where the state government offers special skills in education to various physically challenged and mentally retarded people. She reminded the students of British Spring College that they should not take for granted the fact that they were privileged to attend an Ivy League school where there are various facilities at their beck and call.
In her words, the qualities that would stand one out in any examination include comportment, time management and an eye for details.
She told the students to remember other children created like them but who were blind, crippled and who relied on others for any assistance. She urged the students to always take that into consideration so that they could appreciate God’s goodness in their lives.
“When I see young people like you who are focused on the future, I want you to remember that you are privileged because there are other children like you who are not. Every day, spare a thought for them by your actions. Do not over-eat or waste food because there are some people who do not even have a plate to feed. Do not be rude or talk too much because there are people who can’t even talk but rely on sign language only,” she counselled.
Top 30 competitors received certificates for their participation and compensatory cash envelopes. The last 10 standing also generated serious tension and anxiety among the students and their parents. At the end of the day, 10-year-old Sonia Adanna Asogwa of God’s Wisdom International School, Nnewi, carried the day. The kid emerged the first prize winner in the BSC mathematics competition category while Chukwujimbe Gerald Kosi also triumphed over many others by clinching the top prize in the Lady Uju Dike Scholarship category.
Sonia’s dad, Hillary Asogwa, expressed gratitude to God for the winning streak. He said the award to the daughter is a stepping stone towards her divine destiny having been working so hard to achieve excellence in her academics even as a little girl.
For Sonia who aspires to be a medical laboratory scientist in future, it was a great moment. She was all smiles as photographers had a field day taking snapshots of her. She expressed appreciation to her parents, the teachers who groomed here and Lady Uju Dike for her foresight and contributions in moulding the future of young ones.