By Prisca Sam-Duru

Winners of the maiden edition of Bookathon Science Fair, emerged at a grand event held at Christ Embassy Auditorium, Ajah, Lagos.

The science fair held Wednesday, had five participating schools; Community Senior High School Orimedu, Badore Community Senior Secondary School, Ibeju Senior High School, Falomo Senior High School and Girls Senior  Secondary Grammar School, drawn out of the initial 20 schools participating in the 1st round from Eti-OSA and Ibeju Lekki LGA, competing against each other through their innovative inventions.

At the end of the annual competition, Community Senior High School Orimedu took the top position with their innovation involving the production of building material- tiles, using plastic bottles and sawdust.

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The students went home with 500,000 naira cash award and a plaque.

The winning team’s presentation if expanded, will help rid our environment of plastic bottles currently causing nuisance especially in drainages and oceans.

Their presentation was an outstanding addition to campaigns which have taken centre stage in recent times on the need to protect our eco-system.

Trailing behind Community Senior High School Orimedu, were Ibeju Senior High School which took the 2nd position and Badore Community Senior Secondary School which came 3rd.

They both received 300,000 and 200,000 naira cash respectively, from the organisers while all participating schools were given certificates and gift items.

One of the students from Community Senior High School Orimedu who was excited for his school coming tops, said they decided to manufacture tiles through recycling plastic bottles and sawdust, to protect the environment.

The process he said, not only ends in tiles making but can also result in the manufacture of loud speakers and many more.

On durability of the tiles, he insisted that they are strong enough to last for a long period of time.

The prize according to him will spur his team into further research on expansion and improvement on their project which will make them self reliant in the future, in addition to helping to create employment for jobless youths.

It’s worthy of note that apart from the first place winner, all other four participating schools’ presentations centred on improvisation on electricity supply; a reflection of the sad reality of Nigeria’s ailing power sector.

Speaking at the event which held in partnership with the Lagos State Education District III, Oluwanifemi Ibrahim, a year 12 student of Chrisland High School VGC, who is the visionaire for Bookathon described her project as an initiative aimed at promoting literacy amongst African youths.

The project which began with organising book drives; donating books to schools to end illiteracy- one book at a time, has also seen Miss Ibrahim and her brilliant team, donating both digital and physical libraries to public schools as well as holding mentorship and leadership programs to boost their performance.

The Bookathon Science Fair she disclosed, is one of the first events under the Bookathon project adding that “It’s aimed at encouraging Nigerian youths to learn not just what to think but how to think- applying theoretical knowledge to provide practical solutions to everyday problems”.

Nife as she is fondly called, disclosed that she originally started the project, recognising the fact that education is the best and probably the only way to advance the society.

Her bias for science as a student, informed her focus in the science fair.

Explaining also why focus is on public schools at the moment, she disclosed that her NGO is working towards helping to bridge the gap in terms of access to resources for quality education in most public schools, adding that “We want to focus on those who don’t have, before looking at expanding to private schools”. 

After reviewing the initial projects from 20 different schools, Oluwanifemi explained that “The 5 finalists performed excellently in their practicality and innovation and have proven with their presentations that they have the research and problem solving skills that brought them to this stage of the competition”.

She however, expressed gratitude to all present at the fair including; Messrs David Asumah, Olanrewaju Olasoji Kolade, the judges, her ever supportive parents and grandmother, for their support throughout the project and for believing in its success.

“This is just the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership as Bookathon plans to continue with mentorship programs, career talks and so many other initiatives to promote literacy and progress”, she stated.
Also at the show, Engr. Lekan Ibrahim, who was one of the judges as well as father of the visionaire, commended the students for exhibiting an encouraging level of creativity.

Urging them not to lose focus in life, he corroborated the stance of the Chairman of the fair that the only thing that can stop a person from succeeding is self.

“You do not have any limitation, your only limitation is yourself”, He said.

The science guru further stated that success stories usually begin with tales of periods of struggling adding that all participating schools were winners and that the future belongs to them.

Ibrahim hinted that the schools were judged based on criteria such as, originality, presentation, understanding of the concept and principles, presentation skills, practicality, command of English Language and how valuable the presentation is.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Olanrewaju Olasoji Kolade who encouraged the students by reliving the story of how he progressed in life, congratulated the visionaire of the Bookathon Science fair for the highly inspiring project.

While also commending the participating students for their inventions, Engr. Kolade stressed that “its important for all of you to understand that the only thing that limits you is yourself”, advising that whenever they are confronted with a challenge, the best thing to do is to ensure that they give it all that they have to overcome the challenge.

He maintained that working and trying hard pays adding that irrespective of where you come from, “you have one brain, you have the same intellect, the same talent to get to same position” where other great men and women are.

According to him, the students’ inventions are already a proof of the fact that they have the ability to think and innovate.

“Never be limited with your background or history”, he added.

Highlight of the well attended science fair was a demonstration on the process of printing, by Engr. David Asumah.

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