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Female students glitter at Dowen College valedictory

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Babalola and Omo-Lamai

Babalola and Omo-Lamai

IT was a milestone they and their parents looked forward to. When it eventually came, they savoured the euphoria immensely. But before finally departing, members of the Class of 2015 of Dowen College, Lagos, were handed the task of being great ambassadors of their alma mater, as well as strive hard to manifest all the positive ideals they have been imbued with.

Interestingly, the valedictory ceremony was a watershed of sort for two female students, Serena Omo-Lamai and Faith Babalola. The duo carted home 15 academic awards between them. While Omo-Lamai ended up with eight of the awards, Babalola walked away with seven.

Omo-Lamai, apart from emerging the valedictorian, also bagged the Chairman’s award for the Most Outstanding Graduating Student, in addition to being joint winner of Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu’s Prize for Participation in External Competition. She also carted home the Chairman’s Award for the Most Admired Graduating Student (female).

Buoyed by the duos performance, chairman of the school’s Board of Governors, Dr. Olumide Phillips, charged parents to prepare their daughters and indeed their children for life’s journey by availing them quality education.

Phillips who informed that of the 30 students slated for scholarship award next year, 22 of them are female students, added, “The best way to empower your daughters is to give them the best education available.”

Speaking specifically about the valedictorian, Phillips said, “There is something special about the name Serena. I just came back from the French Open where Serena Williams won the lady’s single title. Here, another Serena has distinguished herself among her peers.”

The board of governors chair while praying God’s guidance and protection on the graduating students, charged them to be good ambassadors of the school, and strive to bring honour to their alma mater in the coming years, the way he (Phillips), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other old students of Igbobi College, Lagos have done.

Principal of the school, Mrs. Olawunmi Togonu-Biskersteth congratulated the departing students for persevering, while their academic sojourn at that level lasted.

She also showered encomiums on their parents “for the self-denial you have been through to lay a solid foundation for the future of your children. We thank you most sincerely for choosing us as partners and working and walking with us in nurturing those tine tots of a few years ago into beautiful, well articulated and confident young men and ladies.

She informed the graduands that though the graduation ceremony marks the end of a phase, “but the beginning of a long journey in life, which course and success will be charted entirely by you.”

The valedictorian, in her speech, thanked Dr. Phillips for his invaluable contribution to the education of the Nigerian child and “your keen interest in making sure that we perform at our full potential. My heartfelt appreciation goes to our principal Mrs. Togonu-Bickersteth and our vice principal Mr. Olusesi. You have been our mentors and our backbones constantly guiding us through our journey and setting our paths straight every time we derailed.

“And of course our teachers deserve our sincere gratitude for their dedication, patience and commitment to helping us grasp even the simplest concepts, even though sometimes we were difficult to work with and to put it plainly, almost impossible to teach. Mrs. Kumar for example was my driving force since the very first time I stepped into this school and has never let me rest until I achieved the best I could achieve. Because of her push I often surprised myself sometimes by my grades. Thank you Mrs. Kumar. Mr. Oshadare was another teacher I personally admired because he was nothing less than a hundred per cent dedicated to teaching, which is clearly his passion. He was never satisfied until every single person in the class understood what he taught. We truly appreciate you. Every teacher impacted us in different ways during our journey here and we would like to express our gratitude to all of you but time fails us…”

Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof Afolabi Lesi, who was distinguished guest of honour at the ceremony urged the graduands to, “Determine to be lifelong learners and develop the curiosity to question the status quo.”

He also charged them to dare to dream as “within each of us, lies the capacity to catch a vision of something greater than us that will motivate and drive us through our lives. Whatever that vision is, write it down and share it with someone you trust, who can help you actualize it.”

Insisting that achievements should not remain their main goals, he stressed that, “making a difference is. It is easy to think that our goal in life is to achieve great things and acquire knowledge, skills, possessions and property …The most important thing is to change and impact your environment and make a difference for the better and to do so with character and integrity.”

The university don also advised them to “value relationships” as spiritual connections, family ties, filial ties (with friends) are the relationships that run deep and go far through the good times and bad times, the up and downs and they will sustain us. These must all be maintained and nurtured.

Other students, who carted home academic and non-academic awards, were Adaeze Nwayo, Esther Areola, Aminat Kashamu, Hafsat Musa, Mohammed Akintola-Jimoh and Oritsebawo Ikpobe.


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