Nuggets of Excellence from teenage author
The size and quality of attendance gave out the occasion as a unique outing. In the house to honour the 15-year old final year student of Dowen College, Lagos, Maryam Popoola whose literary offering, Insight: Nuggets of Excellence was being celebrated were personalities such as her parents: Mr. and Mrs. Tunde Ahmed Popoola; special guest of honour, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti; chairman of the occasion and Director-General, Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo; guest speaker and chairman, Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Mosun Olusoga; book presenter and Executive Director, Eco Bank Plc, Mr. Oladele Alabi; chief host and Principal of Dowen College, Mrs. Olawunmi Togonu Bickersteth, book reviewer and Director, Sales and Marketing, Megalectric Ltd, Mrs. Amirah Obi-Okoye; and CEO of Arabel, Mrs. Shareefah Abiola Andu among others.
TOMEB Foundation, a non-governmental organization established by Maryam’s parents and Dowen College organised the unveiling ceremony and held at the school’s auditorium.
Although a motivational piece, what stands out the young author as a promising writer of a note is the use of analogues and personal experiences, as well as the elevated language to put the message across. Interestingly, the literary journey, she said began as a little write-ups. “It started in summer of last year. It actually revolves around what teenagers go through in their day-to-day lives and sometimes what life throws at you. It wouldn’t have been possible without my parents support in both finance and encouragement.”
In her welcome address by The Principal of Dowen College, Mrs. Olawunmi Togonu Bickersteth also acknowledged the support of Maryam’s parents in realizing the dream of being an author at such tender age.
“Maryam has proven to us today that she is an accomplished student. That is why I believe if you put your mind to something you can achieve it. You have to be disciplined by being consistent; by denying yourself of pleasure to achieve your target goal. There is nothing wrong in dreaming because it propels you to a greater height. Maryam is being celebrated today because she has been a teachers’ delight. Diligent, disciplined, consistent. Right now, she has gotten admission to one of the top colleges in United Kingdom for ‘A’ levels programme. To you students, what Maryam can do also you too can do because if you aim high sky is just the beginning,” the Principal said.
The literary feat coupled with her brilliancy also earned the young author the 2016 Valedictorian for Dowen College. Maryam therefore delivered her speech at the school’s graduation held recently.
The reviewer, Obi-Okoye highlighted some of the important points raised in the book including power of positive attitude, what it takes to succeed as teenagers, ingredients to succeed, goal and goal setting, cultivating important habits, life lessons from school, managing the bad side of social media, managing the good side of social media, towards academic excellence, importance of teachers and sources of inspiration.
In her estimation, the book portrays the author as “a conscientious and consistent model student,” corroborating the principal’s assessment of Maryam as an embodiment of “who a good student should be.”
Obi-Okoye noted further, “with this book, I will describe her as an embodiment of excellence. She is indeed a role model to her peers, her juniors and her seniors, myself inclusive.”
According to her, “in a society like ours where the practice of excellence is uncommon, it is a rarity to find a teenager who not only has identified this void but goes a step further to take the bull by the horns. She has embraced the challenge of sharing her personal experiences to underscore the importance for all, both young and old, to strive for excellence at all times. Maryam’s book dares it all. She looks at Excellence through a kaleidoscope of personal experiences as well as analogies to drive home her point.”
In his opening remarks, Alhaji Ebiti congratulated the Popoola’s for raising such an amiable daughter who is a reflection of the school’s motto “Be the best”. He also praised the school management for inculcating in their students virtues of self-reliance. Ebiti enjoined the parents to continue to encourage their children in educational excellence as money spent on children is not a waste.
Mrs. Soyombo extolled the virtues of Maryam who she described as one of the shinning lights of Lagos State. While the importance of education cannot be overemphasized, she urged students to always take their studies serious.
On her part, Mrs Olusoga recommended the book to everyone, stressing, it’s meant for someone with higher level of maturity and vouched that reader would gain one or two things from the book.
Corroborating Mrs. Olusoga, the chief presenter, Mr. Alabi identified three value propositions that set the book apart. According to him, the book has first class quality with international standards, which quality reflects from page 1 to the end. This also reflects Maryam’s branding. And most importantly, the book in terms of tremendous value that can be derived is not limited to teenagers alone as it is useful for many circles of life with words of wisdom.
The take away from the book launch according to the CEO of Arabel, Mrs. Abiola Andu is the power of prayer as she wouldn’t have achieved this without God Almighty. At the end of the three hours outing, invited guests supported her efforts with generous donations.