Grooming Centre, H&M Reward Students’ Creativity

About 32 private and public schools participated in the fifth edition of the Hands and Minds Schools competition held recently at the Dome, David Christian Centre, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos.

The event, themed ‘Beauty in Diversity’ and sponsored by microfinance giant Grooming Centre, saw over 500 pupils in attendance, with representatives of 27 schools participating in the dance, music and creative art competitions. 

Three schools made it to the podium in each category, with the winners, first and second runners-up, taking home flat-screen televisions, printers and table fans, respectively, both in the senior and junior levels.

Co-founders of Hands and Minds educational consult, Mr. Laurence Ekpe and Iziegbe Ekpe, who have been the chief organizers of the annual competition, shared more light on the theme of this year’s competition, also commenting on the growth of the competition over time as public schools are now getting involved.

“At H&M Consult, we believe in holistic education. We are quite aware that there are a lot of platforms that reward children for academic excellence, but we know that there are children whose talents are not limited to the classrooms,” the founders explained. “They have the arts and creatives in them, yet there are not a lot of platforms for them to showcase or harness their talents.”

The Amuwo-Odofin local council Supervisor for Education, Hon. Bimpe Doherty, said the event was something every stakeholder should be involved in. 

“It’s helping our children to be able to express themselves in diverse ways because education is beyond the classroom. So we need more of this to happen in our society,” noted Doherty. “Amuwo-Odofin local government is already drawing up plans to create more of this kind of competition among schools, and it is going to come through my office. We are already doing some of it, only that we will now make it happen in a broader way to have more impact in society.”

The education supervisor also called for a more advanced partnership between the public and private sector in delivering quality education in Nigerian society, saying the government cannot do it all. She also lamented the dilapidated structures in public schools, the increase in the number of unqualified teachers, and the issue of drug abuse among students.

Meanwhile, character and values coach Uncle Sele also played a major role as one of the judges at the event. Music educator David Igbineweka and Little Miss Rainbow beauty pageant founder Preere Opuofoni joined him.

St. Jude’s private school emerged as the overall winner of the music competition in the senior category, followed by Cornerstone College in second place and the Brains Premier College as second runner-up. Cedars-world Montessori Primary School came first in the junior category.

Above All Schools clinched the top spot in the junior category in the dance and drama competition with a superb choreographic performance. In the creative arts competition, Peculiar Treasure Primary School bagged the top prize in the junior category, while St. Jude’s private school won the senior category.

Other schools that made a podium finish, as well as a few others at the event, include Clemmy High School, Caleb International School, Christ the King Primary School, Preserved Generation School, Pasture Gate Montessori School, Ostra Height School, Goodness Schools, among others.

The event was brought to a close with a special dance performance by the renowned dance group the Leap of Dance Academy. 

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