Amid COVID-19, graduating students bag international scholarships. Principal, Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Mrs. Chinedum Oluwadamilola (left); paraents of the Valedictorian – Mr. & Mrs Napoleon Ijeoma Esemudje (representing the Valedictorian, Jay Esemudje); Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Noimot Salako-Oyedele; and Chief Executive Officer, Corona School Trust Council (CSTC), Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina at the Corona Secondary School Class of 2021 Graduation and Valedictory ceremony in Agbara, Ogun State… last Sunday
Due to COVID-19, many schools had to shift teaching and learning to virtual. And the students had to grapple with this new reality.
Nonetheless the shift and the shock it probably brought, students of Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Ogun State, still gave their best resulting in some of the 2021 graduating students winning over 22 international scholarships worth $2.5m.
In her welcome address during the school’s valedictory ceremony, the Principal CSS, Mrs. Chinedum Oluwadamilola, who spoke on ‘Discipline: the Path to Achievements’, commended the determination of the class to remain focused on their goals, despite the transition of classes to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the school thought the students would be depressed, but they always had happy faces. “Some schools couldn’t make this transition very easily, unlike what we were able to do in all Corona schools. We transitioned seamlessly to the online and hybrid mode of teaching, because as a school, we are tech-savvy, sufficiently equipped, and experienced to continue to provide world-class education.”
He claimed the school was the first e-learning school in Africa, as it has been providing e-learning since 2006, so it was sufficiently equipped to move into virtual learning. “So these children with enviable maturity took on the task of learning remotely, and today they have proved that they are certainly digital natives.
“They were committed to their studies, worked immensely hard and didn’t let the challenges be a reason to flop. So, I am extremely proud of you all. Your diligence paid off.”
The principal praised the graduating class for executing seven community service initiatives around Agbara and Takwa-Bay, raising funds to purchase and donate educational materials, upgrading the school library and its buildings.
She said this was in addition to donating printers to the school, distributing food to malnourished children, and erecting road signs in and around school.
In his remarks, CSS Board Chairman, Niyi Yusuf, also noted that the graduating class has been exceptional right from their first day in school. “They won a global mathematics championship just two years ago and have recorded many firsts, both in academic and sports. This speaks to an all-round development of students. They showed resilience because this is a set that survived COVID-19. And like we joke, instead of three terms in their final year, they’ve done four terms.
Delivering her goodwill message, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who wished the students the very best in their future endeavours, said: “These young boys and girls have been well equipped to face the future. They have been well brought up to be confident, of good character, and composure. There is a very good legacy of very successful alumni of this school and this has been achieved by the fantastic faculty here who have done good work and laid a good foundation to be able to face future challenges.
“So, I want to implore this brilliant set of 2021 who have been awarded numerous scholarships that they too must go out there and fly the flag of Corona, so that we can always hear very good reports and feedback from them.”
She charged the graduating students to continue being disciplined and always let the disciplines they have gotten from home and school be their guide through their future endeavours.
In his keynote address, Ogun State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, said discipline would take the students where their talents can’t.
“Success doesn’t come from good work or enormous talent, but through self-discipline. Self-discipline entails having a good plan and sticking to it irrespective of the distractions or obstacles that may come your way.
“When you don’t have a plan, other people would use you to achieve their own plans or goals. Always let your eyes be on the goal and work towards it vigorously. Search for knowledge in whatever field you choose and don’t be discouraged by failure, because failure is also part of life. When you fall, take the sand from the spot and see what you can build with it to go forward.
“Also fear God and don’t cut corners. Work and earn your good name. Be of good character. Avoid procrastination, distractions, laziness, and temptations.”
He, therefore, charged the students to learn to prioritise, organise their time, and ensure to gain absolute control of their minds and thoughts.
The high point of the event was the presentation of the valedictory awards to the top best graduating students. While the Head Boy, Jay Esemudje, was named the valedictorian, followed by Tamaramiebi Akika, who was named the salutatorian and then Zara Okoli, who was named the third best overall student.
Jay Esemudje’s father, Mr. Napoleon Esemudje, was on ground to represent his son and he revealed that Jay, his first son and only child, has always been a trailblazer.
“We are very proud of him, we have been proud of him for a very long time. He is a gifted child. He has been astonishing as a person and has always been a trailblazer.”
He got scholarships from six different universities in the United States of America (USA) and he has already resumed in Duke University.
“Aside being proud of Jay, we also want to thank the school management for grounding him and making him who he is today. At 17 years old, this has been an outstanding achievement for him and all thanks to the school. Aside from academics, he is a singer, he loves acting, reading, and a simple gentle guy.”
He further described Jay as exceptional in person and academics, even as he assured that there was more to come from Jay, studying to become a Bioengineer.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Deputy Head Boy, Adesiji Olumide thanked the teachers and staff of the school for their impact and immense support, promising that his class would keep to the values and discipline they had imbibed.