Gyang Bere, Jos
Celebration rent the air in Jos, Plateau State, when a 17-year-old orphan, Miss Sylvia Ulan Andrew, emerged one of the best students in the recently released results of the May/June 2020 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with 9A1s. Sylvia attended Premier Academy, Lugbe, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The whiz-kid who lost her father in 2003 to illness, hails from Kune, Bokkos Local Government. She had emerged the overall best in the National Common Entrance Examination, which earned her a scholarship from Shell Petroleum Company. She attended Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, Jos.
She attributed her success to hard work, diligence and proper guidance from her teachers including, Mr Obinna Okonkwo Chemistry), Mr Olalekan Ogunsanya (Mathemtics/Further Mathematics) and Mr Jerome Ifowodo (Geography). The success has earned her international scholarship to any university of her choice courtesy of the Plateau State Government. The Northern Governors Forum also gave her scholarship in any university in the world for making the nation proud.
Sylvia told Education Report: “I am the only child of my mother, I didn’t know my father. I was raised and brought up by my mother; she took in three months before my father died in 2003. I didn’t see myself getting 9As, I worked hard but I was not sure of myself. I will say that my teachers gave me the best and my mother who is always there, praying and encouraging me.”
She didn’t have enough time to study in school due to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the closure of schools: “I studied within a short time before WASSCE because we resumed barely two weeks before the exam started. It was like a crash programme and I read throughout the night, I thank God for helping me.
“I have not made up my mind on a particular university I want to go but I want to read Chemical Engineering. I had many teachers who helped and encouraged me but permit me to mention our Mathematics teacher who also taught me Further Mathematics, Chemistry teacher and Geography teachers.
“I did not attend any extra lesson anywhere but the teachers usually call to talk to me just like they do to other students. I want to appreciate all the teachers that assisted me and for their efforts that brought me this far.”
Olalekan spoke with The Education Report: “I was not surprised about the performance of Sylvia Ulan Andrew in the last WASSCE. She has always been the overall best student in her class since she joined the school in JSS1.”
Sylvia and her mother, who is a staff of Plateau Rural Water and Sanitation Agency, recently met with Governor Simon Lalong. The governor said: “I am a very proud governor because education is the first thing you can give your child. It is not wealth, when we give our children good education, we are building the nation. Her performance has put Plateau on the map of the world. I want to thank God for her mother because in the midst of impossibility, there is possibility.
“For the fact that she lost her husband at a very young age does not mean that all hope was lost for her. God has blessed you with everything, with the way your daughter is doing, one day your name will be heard all over the world. I want to say that when someone gets this kind of result, she is no longer your daughter, she is now government pikin. We will give her scholarship of Plateau State to go to any university.
“When I saw the result, I said it came at the time that I am the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum. I will tell all the governors that somebody has made the North proud and because of that, the North is adopting her with a scholarship.
«We will give her Northern Governors scholarship. I will take you to the National Assembly to inform them about your result so that they can see what they will also do, because you have done us proud and the nation. This is the time that we are worried about the conduct of some youths and you are giving us good name. You are an example of the youths that we will continue to celebrate.
“We have to thank your mother for keeping faith with God. Perhaps, if it was a man, it would have been difficult, but she is a single mother. You have our scholarship, go and select any university of your choice, we will sponsor and continue to watch over you and we wish you the best.”
Sylvia thanked Lalong and promised not to disappoint. State Coordinator of SDGs, Mr Sam Damla, who was present at the meeting, Little Rayfield, said the performance of the student again showed the potential of the people of Plateau State, which must be harnessed.