The Class of 2017 of Global International College, Lekki, Victoria Island, Lagos, was sent off with marching orders from the school’s chief executive officer, writes Peter Uzoho
Joyfully processed into the Hall of Pinefields’ School, Lekki, Victoria Island, Lagos, in a dull rainy morning, adorning billowing academic gowns, with caps to match, graduating students of Global International College, were served with full dose of food for thought, as they brought to a close, their period of academic sojourning in the school.
Parents and guardians, friends and relatives, junior students, school’s management, staff, as well as representatives of the school’s international partners, were all present to witness the landmark occasion. The loving visitors had come to join in celebrating their loved ones and to bless them as they were set to move on in pursuit of their educational advancement. The usual CEO’s marching orders was issued to them, to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Every year, at such occasion, Chairman, Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Global International College, Mrs. Abolaji Osime, takes it upon herself to prepare a well-researched and insightful valedictory message for graduating students. She realised that that is the most appropriate time to feed them with such words, to guide and propel them to achieve greatness, and become agents of positive change in their families, nation, and society at large.
The class of 2017, who took part in the IGCSE, A Levels, SAT, UK Foundation, Medical Foundation and Canadian Foundation programmes of the school, was not left out in this.
The message was very timely as a good number of the graduating students had already secured admission in different prestigious universities in the world, from England to Canada and back home in Nigeria, and would be exposed to new environment and cultures, capable of making or marring their future.
“Congratulations Class of 2017,” Osime would begin, as the graduates were orderly seated in the front rows, with faces and eyeballs fixed to the fountain of the message. “Nearly a year ago you joined us on a journey and today, we are gathering for your graduation ceremony which opens up another chapter in your academic journey. A few months from now, you all will become students of different prestigious universities all over the world,” she would tell them loud and clear.
“University education is quite different from the sixth form education you have just completed. Going to the university brings up new challenges, responsibility and maturity. You were once treated like children but now, you will be treated as adults. The university environment is quite different from what you have been used to,” she told them.
Sharing with them the power of thought, the CEO said, “My dear graduates, as you go on your merry way today, I want to share with you briefly about the power of thought. What you think and meditate on can either make or break you. A lot of teenagers are thinking wrong thoughts which they end up acting on and it is getting them into a lot of trouble. It is Mo Abudu, Founder of EBONY TV that says, ‘If you can think it you can do it’. Every word that comes out of your mouth comes from a thought. Our mind has incredible power, so be careful about what you are thinking. If we think good thoughts, our words and deeds will be good,” Osime said.
Going scriptural while drawing from the book of Proverbs 23 verse 7, she noted: ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Osime used the innovative spirits of renowned world inventors and self-made rich men like the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates; the late promoter of Apple computers, makers of Ipad and Iphone, Steve Jobs; owners of the popular UBERCAB.COM, Travis and Garet; Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, amongst others, to drive home the message to them.
“Bill Gates of Microsoft had a thought one day when in Harvard that he would put a computer on every one’s desk one day. He did not even wait to finish university before putting this thought into reality. Today, Microsoft is worth $407 billion dollars. One day another fine gentleman by the name of Steve Jobs had a thought that he would like to go further than Bill and put computers in people’s pockets and their hands and he came up with a product called the Iphone, Ipad. Today Apple is worth $750 billion dollars just from a thought.
“One day, two friends, Travis and Garet, attended a conference and, when they could not get a taxi to take them home, they became frustrated and came up with a thought that they should set up a timeshare limo service that could be ordered via an app. They bought the domain name UBERCAB.COM and started with three cars. With a tap on the app, a ride could be ordered. GPS identifies the location and the cost is automatically charged to the card on the user account. Today, Uber is worth $70 billion dollars.
“Mark Zuckerberg was studying Psychology at Harvard University and thought to himself that, it would be nice to have a social network site where students could interact with themselves. Facebook today is worth $435 billion dollars, all from a thought. Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky were struggling to pay their rent. They were going to attend a conference in San Francisco and the hotels were fully booked so they came up with the thought of renting out three airbeds in their living room and cooking their guests’ breakfast. The next day, they created a website called airbedandbreakfast.com. They have opened offices in Europe, Moscow, India and other countries. Despite the global expansion nothing much has changed for the owners, they still rent the same flat they started in; no extravagant purchases and, still, work 16 hours a day. The business is now worth $30 billion dollars,” she narrated.
Challenging her audience further by using a Nigerian as a good example for being innovative, she said, “Damola Andu, thought one day when doing his Masters at Hertfordshire University that it would be nice for people to go on holidays and they would not come back home and find out that all their lovely plants had died so he invented Plant pal, a device that automatically feeds the plant once it needs water. Today, he is selling all over the world through Amazon and other outlets,” she told them.
She enjoined the outgoing students to remember that everything takes off from a thought, adding: “You are one thought away from creating that innovation, that invention, that idea, one thought from being a billionaire, one thought from finding a cure for Aids and cancer, one thought from starting a business, one thought away from the greatest experience you have ever had; but guess what? You can also be one thought away from serious trouble and even jail,” she said.
According to her, many Nigerian students are today languishing in many jails abroad because they listened to the devil more than they listened to God. She said the devil fed them with lies which became thoughts and strongholds they acted out on. “Many ended up doing drugs and got overdosed on it. Some got involved in sexual immorality and either got a disease or committed abortions. Some took alcohol and ended up drinking and driving, either killing someone or themselves.”
Provoking their sensibilities further, Osime told them about a movie known as ‘The Iron Lady’, which she said was an excellent biographical portrayal of Great Britain’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She said Thatcher’s determination, decisiveness, and discipline gave her the edge she needed to ultimately become the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Advising the students, she reeled out one of Thatcher’s favorite quotes, which obviously, was a resonating snippet for them. ‘Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.’ She stated that those words were profound, saying “they describe, in detail, our life journey and the significance our thought life has on our future.”
She also enjoined them not to be misled by the new cultures and friends they would be exposed to, while dissuading them from falling prey to bad elements in their new world. “No matter the temptation, please do not fall prey to young men who will tempt you with credit card fraud, it is now rampant because of the recession as a lot of students will prefer to do that than work on campus. No matter how demanding university life is, no matter how sometimes things look insurmountable, no matter how lonely you might get sometimes in a new country with people of different cultures, I will appeal to you to please remember the homes you have left, the wonderful parents that have sacrificed so much to give you this great opportunity,” she advised.
She equally urged them to remember the Godly foundation they were raised up with, while encouraging them to live Godly lives.
Earlier, Osime thanked the management and staff of the school for showing unconditional love and giving good tutelage to the student. She did not hesitate to thank profusely, parents and guardians of the graduands for their love and for providing sacrificially, the resources needed to bring their children and wards thus far. She also recognised the support and patronage of the school’s foreign partners, whose representatives were on ground to witness the occasion.
“I will not forget to thank our committed partners: Universities of Loughborough, Essex, Middlesex, Surrey, Swansea, West England, Northumbria, Kent, Reading, Southampton, Cardiff, Nottingham Trent Lancaster, Sussex, and Huddersfield. Universities in Canada: Carelton, Alberta, Waterloo, Manitoba, NUBI Education, who have all worked tirelessly to ensure our students secure admission into the best universities all over the world,” she enthused.
She also used the medium to announce that, the previous year, the school had, through one of its best graduating students, Mr. Chinedu Odibelu, received the British Council and Cambridge International Examinations award for best ‘A’ Level results in Biology. “Global has always prided itself on its ability to churn out excellent results in the past and we are very excited about this award which we have dedicated to our teachers and students,” she said.
The 2017 valedictorian, Miss Ezinneka Emeh, appreciated the school’s CEO, Osime, the Principal, Mrs. Adebisi Layiwola, and the entire teachers for their unrelenting efforts in putting them on the right track.
Emeh, who aspired to be an architect with a view to personally design and erect a structure that would become a tourist attraction in Dubai and Abuja, said: “We learnt quite a lot especially from our teachers. We learnt how to respect one another’s opinion and how much we needed one another. In equal measure, we have faced many challenges not too good to be experienced.” She advised her fellow graduating students to be focused on what they had set out to achieve.
However, in the middle of the occasion, art paintings done by two junior students of the school were auctioned and a total cash of N223, 000 was realised. The students resolved that the money be donated to charity as part of their service to humanity.