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Encounter with Plateau student who made 9 A1 in SSCE

At infancy, she was the slow type who takes time at getting things done. She was the typical late bloomer. However, her quiet and reserved…

At infancy, she was the slow type who takes time at getting things done. She was the typical late bloomer. However, her quiet and reserved nature made her stand out.

Sylvia Ulan Andrew, the overall best student at the just-released West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) 2020, in Plateau State, attributes her outstanding feat to continuous studying and reading a book (no matter the subject) every day.

“Ulan’s life, especially as a kid, is completely different from what we are seeing today,” Martha Emmanuel Manju, Ulan’s mother, recounts with nostalgia.

According to Martha, Ulan was not used to playing like other toddlers and was not the crying type. “It took her too long to crawl but she was a very strong and clever child. I later identified some special innate abilities as she started growing up.”

Her slow-paced development and introverted nature got her mother worried at some point. Being a single parent, it was natural to worry over the future of her only child.

When the news of Ulan’s outstanding WASSCE performance broke, she was celebrated everywhere, particularly in Plateau, her home state.

“I was elated over this noteworthy achievement. But the truth is that it didn’t come as a surprise because right from her nursery, primary and secondary school days, she has always been the best in her class. She would always take the first position in her class and that is why her result wasn’t a surprise to me.”

“After her final exams, I prayed that she would come out in flying colours but never knew she would emerge overall best student in the state. But God has willed it for her and it happened effortlessly.”

Ulan, who is from Bokkos LGA of the state, graduated from Premier Academy Lugbe, Abuja.

She was said to have emerged overall best student at the National Common Entrance Examinations which earned her a scholarship from Shell Petroleum Development Company.

According to her mother, she started noticing Ulan’s academic excellence when she began nursery school in her Anguldy community, in Jos South.

“A few years after, we enrolled her into Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School Jos, where she became the overall best in the National Common Entrance Exam and thereafter, selected among the ten best in Plateau for an aptitude test in Abuja. She came top in the test and earned a scholarship into Premier Academy Lugbe for her secondary school education.

The demise of her husband in 2003, when she was just three months pregnant with Ulan didn’t discourage her, but rather propelled her to rebuild the family he left behind by giving her best to raise their only kid.

Sylvia Ulan Andrew, the overall best student at the just-released West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) 2020

“My husband died when our marriage was just two months old, but I had confidence in God and believed that He would surely see me through in raising Ulan. I am happy that God has not disappointed me from the success Ulan has recorded so far.”

Martha recounted that before the death of her husband, she had already learned tailoring which helped her immeasurably in affording her daughter’s basic needs before she secured a job with the Plateau Rural Supply Agency.

She said it was not easy to face and confront the challenges of the past 17 years.

“Life is all about challenges and how you confront them. You cannot have a successful life without facing one challenge or the other. I am the kind of person who doesn’t force myself to acquire something that is beyond my power. I love living a simple life.”

Ulan, on her part, is happy with her performance even as she acknowledges that it wasn’t an easy journey. She said it requires great amount of hard work and commitment to attain such a feat.

“I am extremely happy to obtain A1 in all the nine subjects I registered for. Before the release of the results, as usual, I was excited as well as tensed, and prayed that nothing would go wrong with my result. I prayed that my hardworking would pay off and when I saw the results, I was happy that I’ve made my mother proud.”

According to Ulan, the secret behind her success is that she never allowed a day pass without reading books. “I studied whatever my teachers taught me in class. I often go to class to study and at certain points, ask myself to relax because I have been doing well. I would always be present and attentive during classes, and I also read whatever I can lay my hands on irrespective of the subject because I believe I can learn something from it.

“I had dreamed severally of studying Chemical Engineering and that was why I chose science class when I was enrolled in secondary school to actualize my dream. I have never thought of quitting science class no matter how hard things turn out because I believe that nothing is impossible once you are determined.

“My dream of studying Chemical Engineering would not be unconnected to the passion I have for Chemistry and Physics and I know that by the grace of God, I can do it. I don’t want to study a course I’m not interested in.”

While commenting on her mother, Ulan said “I will never forget what my mother did for me in life. She tries her best to make my life comfortable. She lives a difficult life just to see that I succeed. I admire her and she would forever remain my role model.”

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, last week pledged to give her a scholarship to any university of her choice around the world.

Governor Lalong, who congratulated her for the feat, said he was not surprised because of the abundant talents available in the state, praising her mother for raising her single-handedly since the death of her husband even before Ulan was born.

Ulan, who expressed joy over the pledge, thanked the governor and promised not to disappoint him and the people of Plateau State.

She said the promise if fulfilled, would encourage other students to perform better, saying the gesture was highly commendable.

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