Clutching the trophy won by Loyola Jesuit in both hands, Okoye commended his pupils for regularly bringing the school honour in the annual West African Examinations Council Awards for outstanding performance.
The educationist and his team have reasons to be excited. The awards ceremony, organised by the WAEC, recognised three candidates with the best results. Also, the Omo N’Oba Erediauwa Coronation Trophies and the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Trophy decorated schools that produced the best male and female candidates and school with the best overall results respectively.
The WAEC awards have produced winners in different categories since 1985 except in 1988 when the council did not stage the ceremony.
But the 2016 edition, held at the council’s international office in Lagos on Thursday, celebrated three pupils and five schools, including the LJC.
Since 2002, when the school made its first showing as the school with the best overall West African Senior School Certificate Examinations results, it continued the streak till 2005, returning in 2008 to clinch the prize in that category. This year, Loyola Jesuit won big for producing the best female candidate and having the best overall results in the 2015 WASSCE.
Speaking at the occasion, Okoye commended his pupils for being what he called intentional learners.
“Our pupils plan to learn and also engage in constant review and reflection of what we have been doing and what we can do better. We call it the Magis, a Latin word for excellence. We are grateful to God for these awards. When God gives us something, He wants us do more. We want our pupils to be encouraged and inspired to do better,” he said.’
But the LJC was not alone in the moment of glory. The Oritamefa Baptist Model School, Ibadan, shone like a million stars when it was announced as the school which produced the best male candidate – Oluwasayo Babalola – who also happened to be the candidate with the best 2015 WASSCE results in the country. In 2010 and 2011, the school was decorated by WAEC for producing the best female candidates in the 2009 and 2010 WASSCE respectively.
Three schools in Lagos were also rewarded as those with the best aggregate results in the 2015 WASSCE. These are Lagoon School, Lekki, (first position); Sagab College, Ikorodu, (second position) and Wellspring College, Ikeja (third position).
In the distinction/merit category, 17-year-old Babalola emerged the best candidate in the year under review, with Grade 1 in nine subjects, narrowly edging out Toluwase Alabi, formerly of Our Lady and St. Francis Catholic College, Osogbo, Osun State, with Grade 1 in eight subjects, to the second position.
Both academic heavy weights, who were represented at the event by their parents, are studying Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ibadan.
Emerging as the candidate with the third best result in the 2015 WASSCE and the best female candidate with the best result is Ugonma Nkata. The 17-year-old, who graduated from the LJC, has distinctions in eight subjects.
However, in his address, the Head of National Office of the council, Mr. Olu Adenipekun, argued that academic excellence was not tied to the class of school a candidate attended. He added that deserving candidates must make outstanding results at the first attempt and at the same sitting.
He said, “No school or class of schools has the monopoly of producing brilliant candidates as village and community schools have, once in a while, produced award winners. Winners of the awards have always been high flyers whose academic excellence spanned their primary and secondary school careers and who have continued to blaze the trail in the best universities in Nigeria, Europe and America. The awards have thus confirmed the validity of WAEC assessment.’’