Nsukka, Enugu State, Chinecherem Cynthia Ali, whose story went viral
after she made A grade in all the subjects she took in the West African
Senior School Certificate Examination, shares her success story with TOLUWANI ENIOLA.
State. I am the third of eight children. I am 18 years old. I attended
Shalom Academy in Nsukka, Enugu State. My parents are not so rich but
they gave me adequate care. My dad is a teacher. He also has a poultry
farm. My mother works as a medical lab scientist in a district hospital.
in your school to earn A grade in all the subjects you sat for in
WASSCE. What motivated you to achieve the feat?
to make a wonderful result. I had clarity of purpose in what I wanted to
achieve. My elder brother was the chief motivator. He made six As in
his WASSCE last year. He told me I could do better than he did. He
planted that goal to surpass his feat in me. Whenever I had a problem
with my studies, he was always around to help me out. He practically
taught me the techniques to excel in the subjects. He prepared my mind
about the syllabus in SS3, who the teachers were and what would enable
me to get the best from each of them.
efforts in whatever I was doing. On my first day in school, when I got
to SS1, my chemistry teacher called me and told me certain things about
my goal. He told me no one had ever made nine As in the school. He said
he heard an inner voice that I could break the record. I was just
laughing when he told me. I had a note which I titled, “My future WASSCE
filling As across all the subjects I was to sit for. I prayed to God to
help me achieve the goal. My friends who saw the note said I was going
crazy. But I told God to help me. Another teacher that helped me a great
deal was my biology teacher. She prepared a study timetable for me to
follow. She told me to study at least two hours at a stretch. The two
teachers (chemistry and biology) told me my goal was achievable.
record-breaking result because no one had ever made that result in my
school. On that day, I was sleeping. My brother came to wake me up and
broke the news. When I saw it, I thought I was dreaming.
observe our preparatory classes for day students. From 2.30pm to 4pm, I
would go home to cook and do other things I needed to do till around
7pm. From 7pm till 10pm, I was always reading my books daily. Sometimes,
I could set aside five or six hours to read.
learnt along the line was that once one is serious with one’s studies,
it will be difficult for boys to approach one for a relationship. When I
was in SS1, one day I entered the class. There was this male classmate
of mine who was always disturbing me. I was reading my book. We had just
finished the computer practical. Others were discussing while I was
reading my book. Then the boy said, “What’s the problem with you? Is it
that you cannot rest, at least talk to people.”
every time. I was able to overcome the pressures of male pupils because I
didn’t entertain any unserious talks. They knew me for that so they
avoided me. Also, I was a day student, so I spent most of my time in
class. We had preparatory classes by 4pm so I was always at home when I
was not in school. This made it impossible for any boy to approach me.
Maybe if I was in the boarding school, it would have been a different
story. I am a quiet girl. Because I rarely had time to chat with others,
they said I was a proud girl. But I taught a few of my classmates in my
challenge. I always found it hard comprehending the subject. The
situation changed when I got to SS3. Our physics teacher always gave us
tests every week. If you failed the test, he would cane you. I was
afraid of his cane. I then made up my mind to study hard. Along the
line, I realised that physics was not even as difficult as I thought.
Mathematics was easy for me. God was just helping me at every stage. I
found out that I understood what I was taught quickly. We had five
mathematics teachers. While in school, mathematics was divided into five
areas. We had separate teachers for arithmetic, algebra, statistics,
geometry and vector. Each of these subjects was taught separately. The
way mathematics was split into five areas really helped me to have a
thorough understanding of the subject. I usually excelled in my
mathematics examinations even without studying. I love the subject so
the governor at my age. I am grateful to God for making it possible.
Thousands of pupils in our state would like to meet the governor. For
me, it is one of the most memorable moments of my life as I shook hands
with the governor. The governor congratulated me and said the
commissioner for education would reach out to me.
given me a scholarship to study in any university of my choice in
Nigeria and a prize of N1m. I felt overwhelmed. I never believed that I
would be a beneficiary of a scholarship. I appreciate the government for
this noble gesture.
encouraged us. He taught us English after school hours. He made sure I
didn’t use a mobile phone. Once I got to secondary school, I neither
used a phone nor had access to any gadget. It was a serious offence at
home. It really helped me because if I had a mobile, I would have been
distracted. I might have spent less time on my studies. My mum always
encouraged me too. She told me that when she was my age, she excelled in
her studies too. She emphasised that I could break the record. When I
was in primary school, my father supported me with extra lessons at
home. He also got part-time teachers for me.
scored 266. I was discouraged when I saw the result because I felt I
should have got above 300 marks. The good thing is that they also use
the WASSCE result to select candidates. They grade prospective
candidates, using 60 per cent for the UTME and 40 per cent for the
WASSCE result. When I saw my UTME results, I was just praying to God to
excel in WASSCE result a wonderful one. When our principal saw my UTME
result, he didn’t believe that it was my result because he expected more
from me. UTME was very easy for me and I was disappointed when I saw
Nsukka and Ebonyi State University. The universities have not started
issuing admission letters. They have started uploading the results. The
cut off mark for medicine is 290 or so in UNN last year. I checked my
result and it was 319.6, so I am hopeful I would be admitted.
guess I am too young to study outside the country all alone. But I would
like to do postgraduate studies abroad.
success story is to do one’s best and to trust in God. I always believe
that it’s only God that can enable me to fulfill my destiny.