Last Monday was a day of glory for Miss Tolulope Falokun, an indigene of Ondo State, who emerged as the overall best candidate in the 2011 West African Senior School Certificate Examination as the state government organised a befitting reception for her, reports SUNDAY ABORISADE.
Seventeen year-old Tolulope Falokun, who had distinctions (A1) in all the nine subjects she attempted in the 2011 West African Senior School Certificate Examination was in high spirit as she alighted from the official car of the Ondo State Commissioner for Education,Mr. Remi Olatubora, on Monday.
Tolu rode in the same vehicle with the commissioner from Akure to Ondo town where a befitting reception was organised for her at her Alma Mata, the St. Louis Secondary school.
Her principal, teachers, non-academic staff and selected pupils of the school who were already seated before her arrival in company with officials of the state Ministry of Education, gave her a standing ovation as she stepped into the venue of the reception.
Everybody that spoke on the occasion paid glowing tributes to Falokun’s simple nature and her quest for excellence. She was described as intelligent, hardworking, serious-minded and above all, highly disciplined pupil.
Born into the Samuel Falokun family on February 20, 1995, Tolulope is a native of Akure, and the third of four female children of her parents.
She was among the best five students admitted into St. Louis Secondary School in 2005.
Tolu, who came first in the ANCOPSS National Quiz competition had distinctions in all the subjects she attempted in the Junior Secondary School State Exams in 2008.
Tolu came first in the Ekimogun Essay Competition of December, 2010, hence, she featured in the 2010 Ondo State calendar. She also came first in several inter school competitions.
She was made the senior prefect of her school, because of her exemplary brilliance. Her younger sister, Ibukun, now in SSII, is currently the senior prefect of the same all female school.
The principal of the school, Mrs. Evelyn Akindojutimi, while addressing the gathering, said the school, established in January1954, was initially owned by the Catholic before it was taken over by the government.
She said the school has been noted for its high standard of discipline and good results in examinations and academics.
She said, “Since there are only two terms for the final year pupils, our teachers work tirelessly everyday of the week to make sure that the West African Examination Council syllabus was completed before the end of February. Thereafter, they start revision from SS1 work.”
Analysis of the school’s 2011 result made available to our correspondent showed that none of the 146 pupils that sat for the exam failed English Language, physics, geography, chemistry, literature in english, Christian religious knowledge financial accounting, typing, further mathematics, visual art, food and nutrition, home management , agricultural science, technical drawing and commerce.
All the pupils recorded 100 per cent success in the above subjects while they recorded 97 per cent pass in mathematics, 90 per cent in Economics, 98 per cent in Yoruba language, and 92 per cent in Government.
Tolu’s father, who is a civil engineer, is a contractor while her mother, a nurse, is a civil servant in the state.
They told our correspondent that they enrolled Tolu in the school because it is a Catholic school with high standard and that the teachers are well dedicated and disciplined.
They explained that a private teacher was hired for her when she was in the primary school.
Tolu’s counsellor, Mrs. Cecilia Bello, described her as a brilliant pupil, who was always reading in the library. She also said she was a very active and responsible pupil.
“She (Tolu) is not afraid of challenges. She loves teaching her juniors and even her mates. She is good in all subjects. She is not proud. She is responsible and best in everything,” Bello added.
A Russian, married to a Nigerian, Mrs. Ludmila Adeyemi, who was Tolu’s principal in JSS 1, said, “When I saw the type of girl she is, I decided to give her the best I could.
“She got A1 in all her subjects in the JSS exams. We prayed so that her result would not be seized by WAEC because it was too good.”
In an interview with our correspondent, Tolu said, “Our teachers prepared us early for the exams. We had special lectures everyday more than four months into the exams because we had covered our syllabus since first term SSIII.
“My Government teacher designed a timetable for me which I followed religiously to make sure that I cover all my subjects. Our teachers also set up study groups for us and I did not miss any of these arrangements.
“I prayed hard and worked hard, using my timetable as a guide. I denied myself a lot of things especially social events. I made the sacrifice because I know there is ample time for all that after my education.
“I used to have a Ghanaian teacher who is very good in English language and Mathematics and he really thought me well when I was in the primary school.
“I go for lessons during holidays and I am always reading even during festivities like Christmas and Easter. I want to become a lawyer but in the academic. I really want to write a lot of law books because I love writing and reading.
“My greatest challenge was when everybody including my teachers, were expressing fears that my result could be seized by WAEC because of my performance in Mock exams.
“My parents and siblings joined me in prayers and fasting so that the result would not be seized by WAEC. Our fears were necessitated by similar experience that I had in the past.
“I had sat for the entrance examination of the Federal Government Girls College in Akure only for them to seize my results because they thought it was not possible for a primary school pupil to write what I wrote without any form of assistance. I Thank God my WASSCE was not seized,” she added.
Meanwhile, WAEC has commended the Ondo State Government on the emergence of Falokun as the overall best pupil in the 2011 WASSCE.
The examination body, through a letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and signed by Mr. Austin Aidokha on behalf of the Head of WAEC National office in Nigeria, described Falokun’s result as unique.
It explained that another candidate, Mr. Chuks Ugochukwu, also had distinctions (A1) in nine subjects with a T-score analysis of 712.0972 but that Falokun emerged the best with a T- score analysis of 742.6992.
The state commissioner said the achievement of Falokun had underscored the need for massive investment in the education sector which the present state government has exhibited with the construction of modern public primary schools.
He explained that Tolu, who had already been awarded scholarship to study law at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, would enjoy a special financial support from the state government for as long as she remains in the academic line.
He said, “Apart from the full scholarship, she will also benefit from the government’s annual bursaries and scholarships and other packages provided for Law students both at the university and the Law School by the state government.”
In addition, he said Tolu would be given N100,000 yearly throughout her university education and that the amount would be reviewed upward whenever she is ready for her post-graduate programme.
He added that Tolu scored 290 in the 2011 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and emerged the second overall best student in the Post-UTME conducted by the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile –Ife with 336 marks.