Garlands for class of 2022
• As Corona Secondary School Rewards Academic Excellence
They were beautifully dressed. The 2022 granduads of Corona Secondary School, Agbara also smiled as their graduation ceremony got on, recalling the days they had spent in the schools including the time spent working to do the job of studying. They were likewise excited that they had conquered a stage in life, as they mounted the rostrum one after another to receive their well-deserving school-leaving testimonial, and individual awards of excellence.
Just as the theme of this year’s ceremony, Focus: An Attitude for Continuous Growth, they, no doubt, focused on the future with the show of friendship and social empathy they displayed.
Addressing the graduands, the Chairman on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor (VC), Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Ibiyemi Bello, ably represented by Distinguished Prof. Martins Anetekhai, admonished them to maintain the good characters they have built overtime at Corona and resist every temptation to be influenced wrongly by peers in higher institution.
He advised the students to remain focused as he underscored the need for a life strategic plan to be focused.
“Ask yourself, what is my goal? Do I want to be a musician or an actor? As you leave these walls, you will begin to enjoy academic freedom. It is at that point where you are enjoying academic freedom you equally get exposed to social vices, such as cultism, that could truncate your dreams.
“However, for a student that is focused, you will be able to resist the pressure, keep your head straight, and flee from those vices that could truncate your future. Here at Corona, you are leaving and have been educated and well taught.”
He said the secret of success in modern-day life was the ability to apply the knowledge they have acquired to every sphere of their lives.
“By the time you combine your knowledge with its application, I am sure you will be in the Dangote ranking. Nothing can stop you if you can apply your knowledge in every area of your life.”
He concluded that the Corona brand stands out because the management can apply their knowledge to the running of the school, as reflected in the brilliant performances of her students globally. He then tasked the graduates not to derail from the Corona standard as they grow in life.
The high point of the event was the presentation of awards to outstanding students, and the announcement of the top three best students of the set. Somtochukwu Ike, George Nnona and Toluwanimi Sonuga emerged as the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and the Third-best Overall students of the 2022 set respectively.
A further breakdown showed that Somtochukwu Ike finished top among his peers of the same set with a total of 90 per cent, topped the set with 6A-stars (scored above 90 marks) and 1A (scored above 80 marks) in the 2021 International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), scored 321 out of 400 marks in the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), and scored 1400 marks in the Standardized (Scholastic) Aptitude Test (SAT). These feats earned him several endowment awards from the school.
Nnona on the other hand finished as the first runner-up of his set with 86 per cent, had 6A stars in IGCSE, scored 307 in UTME, and 1460 in SAT, while Sonuga was second runner-up, scoring 315 marks in UTME, and 1330 in SAT respectively.
Ike attributed the feat to hard work and dedication. The valedictorian whose immediate plan is to further his studies at Arizona State University and hopefully become a Biomedical Engineer in future, said, “It’s nice to be the valedictorian because when you work so hard for something and you get it at the end, it feels so satisfying.
“It’s like all the work from the beginning, the extra reading, doing night preps, group reading etc. are all worth it in the end. I got all the awards and endowment and I’m really happy about that.”
On what stood him out, he noted that hard work, a great relationship with his parents and support from them placed him at an advantage over his peers.
“My parents were also very supportive. They encouraged me to continue to work hard. The encouragement was also in the form of a reward system which always encouraged me to do better.”
For Nnona whose immediate plan is to study Software Engineering at Staffordshire University, said emergence as second overall best seemed to him like a dream.
According to the Salutatorian who equally doubled as the Head-boy of the set, “It feels unreal to be the overall second best student of my set, and also being here today. I know I put in a lot of effort, stayed up countless nights, taught and also got knowledge from my peers and even my seniors that have left the school, but I’m only surprised that I managed to get this far and I’m really happy.”
He also praised his parents for being the backbone and best support system. “At times when I say to myself that I couldn’t do it, they reassure me that I could do it and thank God I made it this far.”
The headboy, in his speech, acknowledged the peculiarities of his mates, how they were able to turn out in flying colours against all odds.
With excitement, Sonuga appreciated the feat describing it as well deserved.
According to her, “This is my last moment in Corona, I feel happy, sad, nostalgic, but it’s all for the better. My parting word for Corona is to look out for us in future, and a big thank you to Corona for showing us the right path to follow.
“I feel very happy because I deserve it. I work hard for it. I’m glad that I’m getting rewarded for all my hard work. My parents ensured that I had the necessary time I required to read and understand even when it meant that I had no time for other things. My immediate plan is to study law at Afe-Babalola University,” she said.
The Principal, Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Mrs. Chinedum Oluwadamilola, noted that with focus, growth becomes continuous.
She added that with focus, the students would know how to deal with distractions and keep their eyes on the ball.
“I hope they continue to keep their eyes on the ball. And as I will always say, you are never able to score a goal until you take a shot.
“It’s always a delightful pleasure to graduate students. Six years of trying to mould children and you see them so accomplished. When they read their citations you wonder how they were able to accomplish all these in just six years. And these are brief citations because you can’t read everything that they have accomplished.”
She said it was very gratifying and a collective effort of several people who are helping the students to actualize their dreams.
“So I’m very happy. I’m happy for the support of the parents because if they don’t support us to bring up their children, they wouldn’t be so successful. And these are children that we are raising to excel in learning and character. Not just in learning but also character because that is very important to us. In a world where everything is in a fluid stage, there is nothing absolute anymore.”
And on the recent academic achievements of the school, Oluwadamilola said nine students of the school met the requirements of the ACCA Foundation Programme, making Corona Secondary School (CSS) the first and only secondary school in Nigeria whose students (now 27) have fully qualified for the ACCA Foundations.
She equally revealed that six students out of seven CSS students that took the IELTS examination scored between 6.5 and 8.0, a total of 13 students scored a perfect score of 6.0 in mathematics at the 2022 Cambridge Checkpoint examination, and six students scored a total score of 300 and above with the highest score at 321 at the 2022 UTME, while 28 students scored between 250 and 279 respectively in the same examination.
Among other numerous achievements of the school, Oluwadamilola said that CSS students got an average score of 1112 in SAT, with the highest score being 1460 out of a possible 1600, as against the benchmark of 1010.
She, therefore, admonished the fresh graduates to be steadfast in their studies and imbibe discipline as they begin another phase of their lives.
The event ended with a mix of pleasure, gratitude and emotions as the outgoing students bid farewell to other students and the management of the school whom they will be leaving behind, for the final time.